The chase to break Roger Maris’ 1961 Major League Baseball record of 61 home runs in a single season has drawn people together regardless of their personal interest in the game. It seems each time Mark McGwire or Sammy Sosa is up at bat, everything comes to a stop and people gather around the television or radio, waiting expectantly for the next home run.
America’s favorite pastime has returned.
For the past several months, newspapers across the country prominently featured the latest home run standings and projections on when the record would be broken.
Sunday, McGwire tied Maris’ record with 20 games left this season. Chances are extremely good he will set the new home run record. Sosa also is well on his way to surpassing Maris’ record.
This season’s race has erased the hard feelings of baseball fans who were angered by the baseball players’ strike that robbed them of a World Series in 1994.
Even Americans who don’t know the difference between a curve ball and a slider have gathered to watch McGwire bat in the last several games. Sports often can have a unifying effect on people. In a summer of presidential scandal, terrorist attacks and economic crises abroad, the chase of Maris’ record has provided Americans with something positive to rally around.