The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

July 15, 2013

Schremmer: Chris Davis chases 'true' HR record

By Mark Schremmer

JOPLIN, Mo. — A quick rant through the week in sports:

• We may very well see a home run record chase this season. Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis hit his 37th home run of the season on Sunday afternoon.

• If you’re like me and consider Roger Maris’ mark of 61 homers to be the true single-season MLB record, then Davis is on pace as we enter the All-Star break.

• Technically, Maris’ 61 home runs in 1961 is the seventh most hit in a season. However, a dark cloud of suspected steroid use hangs over the totals of Barry Bonds (73), Mark McGwire (70 and 65) and Sammy Sosa (66, 64 and 63).

• Davis said he considers Maris to own the real record. Of course, it is in Davis’ best interest to say that since no one is hitting more than 73 homers any time soon.

• Will fans rally around Davis as he closes in on 61 the way they did for McGwire and Sosa in 1998? Probably not.

• Davis’ story is a good one, however. A top prospect entering the 2008 season, he hit .285 with 17 homers in 80 games as a rookie for the Texas Rangers. By 2011, the Rangers had given up on the slugger after consecutive dismal seasons.

• I recall seeing him in Triple-A Oklahoma City during those down years and wondering what went wrong for a player who once displayed so much promise.

• It’s one of baseball’s great comeback stories.

• For the sake of the fans and Davis, let’s hope there’s no reason to be suspicious of his spectacular numbers.

• Davis is one of the many great storylines of the baseball season. It should be fun to watch a competitive race in the NL Central between the St. Louis Cardinals, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cincinnati Reds. And even though they seem to be slipping away, it’s nice to see the Kansas City Royals relatively close in the hunt at the All-Star break.

• Still yet, I have to admit that I’m itching for football season to begin.

• It should be another exciting year in the MIAA with the Missouri Southern Lions looking to take another step forward, and the Pittsburg State Gorillas aiming to get back to the playoffs. Area high school teams offer plenty of reasons for hope as well.

• The beginning of the season carry with it some sadness for the Columbus Titans, however. The high school’s super fan Ivan Collins, who had attended games since the 1970s, died this past week. Columbus assistant football coach Heath Perry said it will be difficult not seeing Collins, who was known for wearing a red and gold stocking cap, at practices and games this year.

• Current and former Columbus students took to social media to tell how much Collins’ presence meant to them.

• An inspiring story to say the least.