Here’s what’s next for Shohei Ohtani after he went out in the first round of the Home Run Derby and went 0-for-2 in the MLB All-Star Game:
Ohtani has 33 home runs in 84 games. (His Los Angeles Angels have played 89.) Ohtani is on pace for 60 home runs.
So, the baseball media will designate Roger Maris’ 61 home runs in 1961 as the “real” single-season home-run record, because higher numbers posted since were done with the aid of PEDs. (Even though Barry Bonds never tested positive.)
Ohtani will be chasing the home-run record, even though he won’t be.
Does that make sense? Of course not. Bonds’ 73 home runs in 2001 is the record. What happened, happened.
But Ohtani is the face of baseball. That has to be cemented. That can’t be stopped. Not by Stephen A. Smith, and not by math or logic.
The irony: When Maris hit 61, his record wasn’t fully recognized ‘til 1991. Until then, it was 61* because Maris set his record in a 162-game season while Babe Ruth hit 60 over a 154-game season in 1927. Baseball's steroid scandal helped Maris go from pariah to noble.
More irony: Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were so obviously using PEDs in 1998 when they staged their memorable assault on Maris’ record. But the baseball media ignored that. But the baseball media has since “protected” the game by not voting PED users into the Hall of Fame. That’s after sweeping PEDs under the rug in ’98.