Today’s Epic Hero
OK, five teams across baseball won more than 90 games this year. Four of them are now out of the playoffs, and the fifth is on the brink. What makes this even odder is that the four that are out never stood a chance (and didn’t win a game) and the fifth needed a semi-miracle just to avoid being swept. Weird.
Philadelphia 10, Atlanta 2 (Phillies lead series 2-1)
A few days ago, I sat down with MLB Network for a documentary they’re doing on George Brett … and what struck me most was how many things there are to talk about with George. I mean, there was the three-homer game off Catfish Hunter, and the fight with Graig Nettles, and his run at .400, and the blast off Goose Gossage that finally sent the Royals to the World Series, and the hemorrhoids in that 1980 World Series, and the pine tar homer, and the epic playoff game he had against the Blue Jays, and the way he carried the 1985 Royals to the title, and the unexpected third batting title (in three decades!) and the wild day in Anaheim when he got to 3,000 hits, and the war he waged with his father, and probably two dozen other things that don’t come to mind (or are too vulgar to bring up this early in the morning).
It struck me that while George was not necessarily the greatest player of his day — probably not even the greatest third baseman of his day, as most will lean toward Mike Schmidt — he was the most epic player of his day, the player the game seemed to revolve around, the player who always seemed to be at the very crux of the story. You can follow that line of epic heroes, from Mickey Mantle to Roberto Clemente to Pete Rose to Reggie Jackson to George Brett to …
Bryce Harper is today’s epic hero. A decade ago, the question was often asked:
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