This has been the Giancarlo Stanton baseball has been waiting for, a guy who threatens the single-season record books.
On Sunday night Stanton hit his 50th home run of the season and has already set the Marlin’s single-season home run record when he hit No.42 to pass Gary Sheffield.The 6-foot-6 slugger has been en Fuego the last two months as he has crushed 29 home runs between the months of July and August, and has hit five homers in his last seven games.
— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) August 28, 2017
On an unrelated note: if you ever want to hear entertaining announcers during a baseball game then turn on the Marlins’ broadcaster Rich Waltz, who embodies the kid in all of us when he sees Stanton drive a pitch on to the next continent.
His 29 home runs in a two-month span puts him with Sammy Sosa for second all-time in that category. Albert Belle holds the record at 31, and with a few days left in August Stanton could end up first on that list.
Pitch to @Giancarlo818 at your own risk.
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) August 28, 2017
With Stanton reaching the 50-home run milestone, one has to wonder if the Miami slugger can reach the single-season record of 73 home runs held by Barry Bonds. Previously the record was set by Mark McGwire in 1998 (70 homers) when he shattered Roger Maris’ record of 61 – a record that stood for 37 years.
The former record-holder, McGwire, was asked about Stanton’s incredible run over the past two months and how it compares to what he went through.
“He’s it in, man. He’s in the zone. There’s only a few guys that have played this game that know what that feeling is, and I can attest to it,” McGwire said. “It’s a great feeling, really a great feeling. He’s a very intimidating figure at the plate right now, especially for the guy on the mound.”
At this point, Stanton is on pace to end the season with at least 60 home runs which would be the first time a player has done that in 16 years. It is truly remarkable to see his swing transform after only collecting 21 homers in the first three months this season.
Stanton closed off his swing and found himself in that zone McGwire talked about. For those of you who don’t fully understand what the zone entails: it’s a period of time for a baseball player where every pitch he sees comes in almost in slow-motion. All of those pitches are perfectly timed and they look as if they are sitting on a tee waiting to be clobbered.
Major League Baseball wants Stanton to pass the 61 homer mark more than he thinks. Over the last 10 years, baseball has had to deal with their high-profile home run hitters being investigated and caught using performance enhancing drugs. Players like Alex Rodriguez, McGwire, and Manny Rameriz have admitted to using these drugs, while others like Bonds and Sosa have been strongly linked to sources saying they were dealt steroids.
If Stanton can pass 61, people may start to recognize him as baseball’s true single-season home run record. And would consider Bonds’ record fraudulent since it seems to be pretty obvious the man took some form of steroids during his playing career.
Stanton could reach 69 home runs if he were to keep up his current pace during the second-half. So Bonds’ record 73 homers is not entirely out of the question.
Bonds’ muscles blew up like a balloon filled with too much air along with the fact that Bonds never rarely visited the disabled list during his 22-year career. At age 42, in 2007, Bonds set the all-time home run record (756 homers) and hit 28 home runs in what would become his final season.
After 2007 Bonds’ contract with the Giants expired and no MLB teams came knocking on Bonds’ door looking to sign him, even though it was obvious that he still had plenty of gas left in the tank. His 28 homers and 1.045 OPS in 2007 is just the type of numbers an American League team looks for when finding a DH. Unfortunately, Bonds brought a circus every where he went because of the steroid allegations.
For all the hype surrounding this historic run, Stanton stays very focused on the real task which is keeping the Marlins in the playoff hunt. Currently, the team sits 4.5 games out of the NL Wild Card.
“Thinking about all that, the numbers and catching up with this guy and that guy, it’s a distraction,” Stanton said on Sunday. “You can’t be reading all this. I’ve got to stay focused and be prepared every at-bat. If I’m thinking about my pace and `I didn’t hit one yesterday,’ it ain’t going to work.”
One can only pray that Stanton does not fall under the same shadow that PEDs cast upon players like Bonds and McGwire. As of this point in time, Stanton is clean and the single-season record could very well be within reach.