The League

Dave Sheinin
Baseball Beat Reporter

Dave Sheinin

Washington Post Baseball Beat Reporter

NFL or WWF?

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First, the NFL long ago passed the threshold of plausibility, to where it now requires a healthy suspension of belief to enjoy it, much like a blockbuster Hollywood movie or a WWF event. Everyone knows it's not real, but nobody minds. Fans are willing to give in to the fantasy of 260-pound linebackers who run 4.6 40-yard dashes, and in fact they relish it -- because they make for bigger, more violent collisions. In baseball, on the other hand, there is no willing suspension of belief. Baseball fans want to think a player with John Kruk's or David Eckstein's body has just as big a chance to succeed at any given moment as someone with Alex Rodriguez's body.

Second, in baseball the numbers matter. The numbers ARE the game. Nobody cared all that much about steroids until the sluggers started breaking the hallowed records. In football, the numbers and records don't matter as much.

By Dave Sheinin  |  February 9, 2009; 12:54 PM ET  | Category:  Steroids Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Exactly. Who off the top of his head can tell me the single season record for touchdowns? Now who can tell me the single season record (non-steroid use edition) for home runs? Maybe it's because I'm more of a baseball fan, but those numbers tend to have a mystique around them that football numbers don't.

Posted by: Gutavo | February 9, 2009 2:03 PM

in response to gustavo:
49 (tom brady set that last year)
755 (hank aaron)

i'm not a hardcore sports fanatic, so i may be wrong.

just saying.

Posted by: j762 | February 9, 2009 5:07 PM

the author has obviously have not played division I college football or trained year round for a division I program because he would then understand that every year athletes in these program get bigger, faster and stronger from smarter training and hard work not drugs.

Posted by: skinsfan10 | February 9, 2009 6:51 PM

I gotta agree with the author. The NFL champions grit and determination but it's the rampant use of painkillers that gets many of those athletes on the field each week. Coritsone is already a performance enhancing drug because you SHOULDN'T BE PERFORMING IN PAIN!

To think that many players aren't taking HGH (which can't be detected) to help them recover quicker is just foolish.

And I think the lack of reverence for football records is mostly because football writers aren't nearly as pretentious about their game as baseball writers.... nobody tried to find a greater meaning in Dan Marino's passing record or Jerry Rice's TD record.

Posted by: AJohn1 | February 9, 2009 9:10 PM

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