In a season that so far is lacking drama, MLB could use a home run duel for the ages to help market some of its young stars.
Can Christian Yelich and Cody Bellinger continue their amazing race and replicate the Mark McGwire-Sammy Sosa duel of 1998?
“I think that’d be pretty crazy,” Bellinger said.
Crazy? Yes, and improbable too.
But not impossible.
“We’ll see how that plays out,” Yelich said. “If it does, it will be awesome for the game, a lot of fun and something a lot of people would look forward to.”
We’re approaching August, where the air is thicker, the balls are flying even when they’re juice-free and pitchers’ arms are dragging. It’s prime time for sluggers, especially young ones with energy.
Yelich and Bellinger began Thursday atop the home run leaderboard with 35 and 34, respectively, while Mike Trout and Pete Alonso were lurking at 33 apiece.
Yelich and the Brewers face the Cubs’ Jose Quintana on Friday night at Miller Park, while Bellinger and the Dodgers go up against the Nationals’ Anibal Sanchez in Washington.
No one has a realistic shot at Barry Bonds’ chemically aided record of 73 home runs in 2001, much less McGwire’s steroids-enhanced 70 in 1998, when he outdueled Sosa, who never admitted to using PEDs but is widely suspected of having done so.