Baseball is a game of statistics. But among the statistics, there are numbers that have greater meaning among both players and fans alike.
One of those is the record for home runs in a single season. In Japan, that record was set by Sadaharu Oh, who hit 55 homers in 1964. In the years since, two other foreign players had equalled Oh’s mark.
But recently, former U.S. major league player Wladimir Balentien finally broke through, hitting home runs number 56 and 57 in just his 113th game of the season. I’m not great at math, but one homer every two games is a fantastic accomplishment.
Oh, but I have forgotten to mention the other issue that always seems to accompany home run records in baseball. Controversy. FULL POST
It’s a difficult task, to pin down the criteria that need to combine for a sporting figure to be deemed a "character," a figure whose personality helps to popularise their field of competition in a transformative way.
Ingredients such as daring in the face of danger and desire to rise to the challenge are prerequisites. A romantic backstory of overcoming the odds makes compelling viewing to all dreamers out there, while the facing down of a nemesis provides drama and justice to devotees.
But it’s not just the conquering of the seemingly impossible that makes a sporting "character," maybe most important of all is the ability to connect with an audience on an emotional level. To force the viewer to empathise with your test and triumph as if they were personally involved in the victory. So they win with you.
Is there a driver on today’s grid who matches up? FULL POST