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Giancarlo Stanton a better attraction than August NFL games

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As football begins to take center stage over regular season baseball, many are missing an amazing accomplishment occurring in Miami. Unfortunately, most of Miami is missing it as well.

Marlins’ right fielder Giancarlo Stanton is hitting home runs in bunches; 49 through games of August 26. Though Major League Baseball games take too long to play, Stanton is providing far more excitement than any pre-season football game could muster.

He has a shot at reaching 60 homers, perhaps 62, which would put him past Roger Maris, who many believe should still be the official holder of the record. Stanton’s chances of breaking the official home run record are almost nil.

Barry Bonds holds the record of 73 set in 2001, but his alleged dalliance with performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) has tainted that figure. Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa have the next five best seasons, but they too are linked to PEDs.

To many, including Stanton, the untainted record is the 61 set by Maris in 1961. He would consider himself the record holder if he could somehow stroke another 13 over the next month to reach 62.

“The record is the record,” he said to ESPN, referring to Bonds’ mark of 73. “But personally, I do (think 61 is the record).”

Can he reach 62? It would be great for baseball, a sport that needs some excitement to compensate for declining interest. No one is questioning whether Stanton is “juicing up” to launch the moon shots in National League ballparks.

His 49 home runs are 12 better than his nearest competitor, Yankees’ super rookie Aaron Judge with 37. In addition to quantity, Stanton is providing yards of quality.

A right handed batter does well to hit one into the Clevelander section of Marlins Park. Stanton sometimes hits them to Cleveland.

There was the 479 foot bomb in Atlanta on August 4. On July 19, he crushed a 470-foot satellite in Miami against the Phillies. Of his 49 long balls, 8 have gone at least 450 feet.

Since the All-Star break, Stanton has hit 23 homers. He has played a large part in helping the Marlins rise from several games below .500 to second place in the East Division.

Whether or not they can make the post season, Stanton is giving people a reason to watch any game in which he plays.

It sure beats third-stringers toiling in meaningless football games. This goes especially for those living in South Florida.

Bob Sparks is President of Ramos and Sparks Group, a Tallahassee-based business and political consulting firm. During his career, he has directed media relations and managed events for professional baseball, served as chief spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General of Florida. After serving as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Crist, he returned to the private sector working with clients including the Republican National Committee and political candidates in Japan. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Sue and can be reached at Bob@ramos-sparks.com.

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