You don't think the homers have come easier to Sosa? Please. He has had one fifth the attention, a better hitter batting behind him, a better team around him and all the daily clubhouse juice that comes with being in the wild-card race, and he has taken about 260 more cuts than McGwire. Remember, when the spotlight was the brightest on Sosa, during the two monster games at St. Louis on Sept. 7 and 8, he hardly got the ball airborne. McGwire hit 61 and 62 in what may have been the best hitting performance under pressure ever.
All this doesn't make Sosa less of a hitter than McGwire, it just gives you some idea of what an edge it has been for him to be playing the Catskills all the time McGwire was under the klieg lights of Broadway. Sosa's plan was brilliant, and he just might pass McGwire at the end thanks to it.
True, you could've fit all the media who came to watch Sosa's 62nd into a VW Bug, as opposed to the 600 who made the pilgrimage to see McGwire's. No national network showed it live, nobody gave him a blue Corvette, and no baseballs pitched to him were dipped in decoder ink. The Maris family wasn't there, and neither was commissioner Bud Selig.
That was because his home run did nor set a record. Why should the Maris family have been there? Their father's mark was toast. Sosa has been Sammy Sequel all the way. Ever heard of John Landy? He was the guy who ran a sub-four-minute mile after Roger Bannister. Were we supposed to throw him a parade, too?
I don't care who wins this. Sosa has been wonderful. McGwire has been wonderful. Throughout this whole Goosebump Festival, both have shown enough class, humor and sportsmanship to get us through the next dozen NBA seasons. But only one of them has had to slash his way through the attention and the pressure and the bunting the whole way, and it has been McGwire. What are you going to do? Some people feel a little patriotism in that.