Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

What Is The True Home Run Record?

Illustration by Sam Woolley/GMG
Illustration by Sam Woolley/GMG
FunbagTime for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag.

Your letters:


Is there a worse take than Maris being the true home run champ? I hate that people act like it wasn’t fucking awesome to watch Barry Bonds crush the ball.


I’m gonna confess that when all of that unfolded, I was the worst. I was really happy when McGwire hit 70, and then I was dismayed when Bonds came around just three years later and smashed it. I was annoyed because A) I hated Bonds, B) I had waited my whole life for someone to break that stupid record, and then it got overtaken in a virtual instant, which kinda cheapened it for me, and C) 70 is a nice round number and 73 is clumsy and boring. I wanted 70 to stick around for a while, and I don’t think I was alone. At the time, McGwire had a sterling reputation and Bonds was an infamous surly prick, so people wanted The Good Guy to have the record, even though time has proven how stupid it is to moralize that sort of thing.

As a result, we are now left with four different home run milestones that are each tainted in some way. Babe Ruth hit 60 before integration. Maris 61 with an extended regular season schedule. And both McGwire and Bonds were roid freaks. I had a big hard-on for 70 but it turns out that is probably the least credible of the four. As far as I’m concerned, that record is in the eye of the beholder now. You’re free to have a favorite among the four and think of THAT number as the true record, and then build your bar argument around it.


Personally, I have given in and accepted 73 as my new lord and savior, roids or not. It now feels as unbreakable as 61 did back when I was a kid, and time has been kind to both Bonds’s hat size and his reputation. He’s a worthy holder of that record, much more so that some random asshat like Maris. Besides, any enemy of Mike Lupica is now my friend. But I’m more than willing to hear your arguments against this down in the guts of Kinja.


What’s the best way to lay the icing on a toaster strudel? My roommate says it’s to pour it out slowly through a thin hole. I insist that it’s best to cut a big hole, pour it all into the middle and use a knife to spread it evenly, like peanut butter.


I’m Team Thin Hole (yes yes, laugh it up) and that is because I don’t want ANY icing wasted. If you use a knife, what happens? The icing sticks to the knife, and then you either gotta get another knife to get the icing off that knife, in which case there’s icing on the new knife too, and then you gotta lick two knives clean and none of that residual icing ends up on its intended target. I want maximum icing on the strudel. Every molecule. Never mind that I could buy a tub of frosting and never have to worry about rationing. I never have that kind of foresight. I will squeeze the tiny frosting packet with 50,000 psi of hand pressure to extract what I need extracted. I then suck on the packet to finish the job.

Besides, with a thin hole, you can make all kind of crazy designs and write fun things like BUTT ASS on your toaster strudel. Tell me that doesn’t intrigue you. I like a big thick stripe of icing as much as anyone, but I also crave even icing distribution and the ability to deface any object with profane calligraphy.


BTW, I took a quick survey of the staff and they were nearly unanimous in saying they preferred Pop Tarts to Toaster Strudel. This makes me realize that I could make a billion dollars by selling Pop Tarts that come WITH an icing packet. So you get both the hard, industrial, chipped paint frosting, and the fresh stuff. WHO SAYS NO? I will sell my aggro Pop Tart empire to the highest bidder and then retire to Napa.


I feel like the Boy Scouts lied to me. Anytime I’m in the woods or in nature I’m on the lookout for poison ivy. The Boy Scouts had 9-year-old me thinking every third step I’d be on a collision course with these bad boys. I’ve never seen it. How common is poison ivy? Is this a scam big BIG RASH CREAM to get me to buy their products?


I know poison ivy is real because I know people who have gotten it, including one friend who got it on his hand and then got it on his dick because he scratched his dick with his infected hand. GAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

However, I have never gotten poison ivy, either due to sheer luck or because I am one of the roughly 15 percent of people who are immune to it. I may be an X-Man, basically. That has not stopped my wife from living in sheer terror of poison ivy, and admonishing the kids any time they set foot into an inch of wild underbrush. You can identify poison ivy by the standard rule of “leaves of three,” sometimes with a reddish hue. But my wife believes those cursed leaves are hiding behind and under other vegetation. I keep arguing that the kids must roam freely, and explore the wild woods like Davy Crockett, just as I did back in my day. I want them to explore. I want them to go into the woods and come back with the keys to Narnia. POISON IVY WILL TOUGHEN THEM UP BY GOD. Then she just ignores me and yanks the kids back onto the bike path. Poison ivy is real, but I say you cannot let it win.



Better way to fill up on delicious restaurant bread, with butter or that fancy oil?


Butter is king, even if I enjoy mixing things up by making a little pool of olive oil on the bread plate, sprinkling some salt on it, and then drenching my bread in the mix. But if I can only have one for the rest of my life, with bread or cooking in general, it’s butter. Ever get the fancy Irish butter, all salty and deep yellow in color? That is my lifeblood. I could eat it by the brick. I want to die in a vat of room temperature Kerrygold, and I will. I will plan out my death meticulously, and hire the workers necessary to hoist my body up and lower it, naked, into the precious golden fats below.

When I open my proposed bread & butter café—which, as I remind you, will only serve bread and butter with cocktails—I will use only the finest butters and oils. I will source my butter directly from Irish cows that moo in that silly accent. I will fly to the Piedmont region of Italy and procure fragrant olive oils made by a man named Pepe who sells his wares to me and ONLY me, for I am the only restaurateur who appreciates his craft fully. Then, I will offer these accompaniments on a special FAT CART that servers wheel around from table to table. I may also include fine cheeses but that’s TBD.



What’s your favorite Mike + Mechanics song?

“All I Need Is A Miracle.” I remember REALLY liking that song as an eight-year-old. Like the video came on and I was like, “Whoa, what is this! THIS RAWKS.” The chorus really sends it into overdrive, amigos. And don’t sleep on the hair. That video features some serious fancy poodle haircuts.


By the way, fuck “The Living Years.” I remain firmly against any rock song that uses a child’s chorus.


Am I a dick for not being real geeked when after I’ve already established a solo beachhead at the bar and some other patron(s) comes in and starts moving shit and asking me to move four chairs over and sit next to the dipshit I didn’t want to be close to in the first place, thus choosing to sit where I sat. I fucking hate that shit and don’t really take these requests gracefully, the bar is for the lone wolf. At least offer to buy me a beer.


I think demanding a beer is too much but yes, it’s VERY annoying when you’ve got a nice cozy spot at the bar and then suddenly you’re under siege from a group of drunken bankers screaming about tits and waiting for a 12-top to open up. It can get packed like a subway car in a matter of seconds, with bodies pressing against you and dudes reaching over your nachos to open a tab. Very disrupting. I wish every barstool had a partition on either side, like a study carrel or a toilet. I see no flaw in this design. If people wanna hang out as a group by the bar, they can fuck off to Buffalo Wild Wings. I want solitude. I want a bar pod.

By the way, I know eating at the bar is a nice idea, in theory, if you’re alone. You don’t have to wait for a table, and you don’t have to sit alone at that table looking like your wife left you. HOWEVER, eating at the bar is also a pain in the ass because the bartender is always put upon, and because the bar itself usually has a big ol’ lip that you gotta lean over to get anywhere near your plate. Toss in the potential for a group of Shriners to suddenly materialize all around you and it’s probably worth grabbing a table if you can. Or grab a bar table and have the best of all worlds. Bar tables rule. I love to sit on a 12-foot high barstool at a bar table. It makes me feel like a big boy.



During your own wedding, it does not matter how much you drink. You could drink Blake Bortles under the table and have enough constitution left to take on a group of rowdy Bills fans. You may get a little schwilly, but you remain cognizant the entire night and are in complete control of your faculties. I verified this with a new member to my family who just got married. Is this a phenomena exclusive to my family, or is this a thing?


No it’s a real thing. The adrenaline in your system is enough to help you power through a dozen cocktails and still leave you standing and able to commandeer the DJ table and tell everyone you’re gonna play “Free Bird.” In fact, I’ve found that your tolerance skyrockets at virtually any wedding you attend. I’ll suck down one vodka/grapefruit after another and the energy in the room carries me all the way through the reception, right until the moment where I take a break outside or decide to have a rest at one of the banquet hall tables. THAT is when full inebriation sits in and I go down like a dog. If you have time to realize how drunk you are, it’s all over. It’s like when Wile E. Coyote runs off a cliff and doesn’t start falling until he looks down.


You know those Stubhub (or whatever) commercials where they have former greats hand deliver tickets to unsuspecting fans, who would be the worst Vikings (or other team) star to deliver those tickets to you? Just imagining Dusty Baker handing me Cubs tickets and me screaming “YOU DESTROYED MARK PRIOR’S CAREER YOU JACKASS” as the cameras quickly cut away.


I actually think Mike Shanahan is already the worst person to surprise you with tickets. Who’s ever excited to see Mike Shanahan? Mike Shanahan blows. He’s a humorless dickhead made out of stitched-up baseball gloves. I’d be more excited for Phil Spector to knock on my door.



I was watching Scooby Doo the other day with my four-year-old daughter, and a deluge of memories overcame me. Specifically, remembering how effing bad I wanted Scooby Snacks, how my mouth would literally water whenever they were used to coerce Shag & Scoob into the most dangerous tasks on the show, and how disappointed I was that we could not get them. Has there ever been a fictional food more appealing than Scooby Snacks?


They make REAL Scooby Snacks now! This is true. They’re little bone-shaped graham cracker treats and they are delicious. When I pour my kids a bowl of them, I steal a handful for myself and then stand next to the kids, waiting for them to abandon the bowl so that I can hog the rest. They’re more like cookies, really. There must be a quart of shortening in each one. The best graham crackers are the ones that aren’t really graham crackers at all. I suggest you buy a box and keep it tucked under your mattress so no one knows your hidden shame.

As for fictional food, I assume we’re talking about made-up food, and not just regular foods on display in a movie, like Big Kahuna Burgers or the Ghost of Christmas Present’s holiday buffet (mmmmmm... whole turkey). I’ve already publicly yearned for a taste of Luke’s stew in Empire (made with real bantha fodder!). I also want to take my kids to the Harry Potter theme park SPECIFICALLY so that I can try the butterbeer they serve. According to one site, it’s made with butterscotch, condensed milk, cream soda, and whipped cream. Sounds fucking terrible. I MUST HAVE IT.


Oh, and I want the fizzy lifting drink from Willy Wonka, just so I can fly. I’m not gonna drink it while standing under a wind turbine though. I’m not a moron.


My brother texted me the other night asking me if I thought LeBron could run a 4:30 mile. Apparently a friend of his argued that LeBron is a superior athlete, and thus could do it easily. My response (with which my brother agreed) was that there’s no way LeBron can do that. Having run X-C and track, I know that speed/athleticism from other sports doesn’t always translate to running. Basketball is like soccer - constant movement punctuated with bursts of speed and explosiveness. LeBron is a massive human being, and I just don’t see him having the kind of endurance to run four 68-second quarters.


No. That takes a lot of specific training, and the fact that LeBron weighs 250 lbs. doesn’t help his cause. He’d have to drop 50 pounds and go Al Roker skinny to pull it off. I don’t wanna see LeBron be Al Roker skinny. I want him to be a beast.

I say all this even though I feel stupid putting any athletic feat past LeBron. For all I know, he could bang out a sub-4:30 mile, throw six TD passes, and shoot a 70 at Augusta all on the same day if he felt like it. This man is in magnificent physical condition. Playing a full 82-game slate (plus an extra two dozen playoff games on top of that) requires superior cardiovascular strength. One of LeBron’s freakish qualities is that he has insane stamina (like a distance runner) combined with otherworldly explosiveness (like a sprinter). That is why he is the go-to athlete for any “Could X athlete become an All-Pro at Y sport?” hypothetical. But it’s a 4:30 mile. You gotta be a skeleton for that.



We had a conversation the other night, I posed that the WNBA should allow one man per team. Kind of like the Japanese baseball teams who allow MLB players. So what would you rather be, the 12th man on an NBA team, with zero playing time and little to no job security or take a WNBA contract and potentially be a stud. I argue that the endorsement opportunities are incredible and you would be a household name, if you were one of the first men. I appear to be the only guy who thinks this in my group. Prove me right.


I can’t go with you on it. Because you know what happens if you put one guy on every WNBA team? The guy becomes the star, and then he becomes the highest paid player on every team, and then the whole league is degraded in the process. Playing in the WNBA means dealing, on a daily basis, with random dudes openly demanding that the league justify its mere existence. Adding male players into the equation would only make it worse. Also, the NBA once did that mixed All-Star competition where men and women shot three-pointers together, and no one cared. The novelty wears thin instantly.

However, I still wanna see Geno Auriemma coach an NBA team. He already has a bazillion titles and fabulous hair. Come on, fella. Let another school win some shit and go see if you can un-fuck the Knicks. You know it’s the right thing to do. I would pay at least two dollars to see Geno take that job.



What is the optimal length for a book? For novels, I’m willing to read up to 350 pages, but 200-250 is my sweet spot. For nonfiction, I’ll walk it up to ~600, but you better believe I’ll be skipping a few chunks along the way. What’s the perfect page count in your opinion?


Aw man, don’t skip whole parts of the book. I’m getting OCD flashes just from picturing you doing that. You have to read the 80 pages of background exposition on that ex-president’s time in kindergarten or else you will be LOST.

As for novels, length is really immaterial compared to the pace of the writing, right? No one bitched about the Harry Potter books being too long (except for the fifth one, which is definitely too long), because those books whizz by. There are 500-page novels that read fast, and 200-page novels that are wet cement. If I’m browsing around, I’m usually looking for a novel that tops out at no more than 400 pages. Any more than that and you better be Stephen King or some other master who can make page numbers dissolve. I don’t want my reading to be WORK.


In fact, I will tell you that my biggest complaint about writers in general is that very, very few of them give a shit about making reading fun. Too many writers are caught up on writing big important shit and lecturing you and winning Pulitzers and all of that nonsense. Meanwhile, people gotta read this shit, you know. Make it fun, man. Why doesn’t the Bible have any poop stories, huh? Someone really failed to address the reader’s needs there.


I find pregnant women and lactating human breasts very erotic. Am I a monster?

No, that’s fine. Just don’t have that be your opening line at the Gymboree.


In the layer based, cheese & meat explosion thunderdome: enchiladas or lasagna - who ya got?


Enchiladas. I know that a well-made lasagna can be extraordinary (look at this 100-layer behemoth and tell me you don’t want to leave your family for it), but I almost never order that shit at a restaurant. But if I see enchiladas mole on a menu, I get so, so excited. I am positively bouncing in my seat. If you get between me and my enchiladas, I will cut you with a hacksaw. I like to order mine extra wet. Give me all the wet food.

At home, both of those dishes suffer from Third Night Fatigue. They’re one-pan meals that are great the first night, and then even better reheated the next night. But by the third night, you’re like, “I never wanna see this fucking thing again in my life.” That Third Night Fatigue is the reason I have a hard time ordering lasagna out, because I’m laboring under the faulty assumption that it’ll be too much like what I can eat at home on a Tuesday. Meanwhile, I’ll freak out over enchiladas on a menu because they offer verde sauce. That’s a whole new point of entry into fatness for me.



How much more fun would pregame be if the NFL did paper/rock/scissors instead of a coin flip? It’s still random and it would be ridiculously fun to analyze.


It’s not random! They have competitions for that. Winning a rock/paper/scissors tourney takes discipline and anticipation and drinking a MINIMUM of six beers prior to start time. If you made that the coin flip, coaches would drill captains on tells and fake-outs and study tape of every pregame match and the Pats would win literally EVERY time. No thank you. I prefer to keep it random. In fact, I say the ref spins a wheel that has each team’s name on alternating panels. Who doesn’t love a good wheel spin, I ask you? If you spin a wheel in front of me, I will NEVER look away until the wheel stops. I need to know what happens.

Email of the week!


As a doctor, one of the benefits is having whatever pharmaceutical rep who wants to sell their product, bring lunch to the office on a regular basis. After plowing through more Portuguese ribs and garlic shrimp than one man should handle and promising to write whatever drug was talked about, I left the office to start my 20 minute drive to my other office.

Three minutes into my ride, I started feeling my stomach rumbling and the sweat started to form on my forehead. The only toilet that I trusted was located in a doctor’s lounge bathroom in a hospital half way into my drive.

By the time I pulled my car into the parking lot, I was full into bowel spasms and full on sweating but I maintained to keep everything inside. I ran into the hospital and into the doctor’s lounge. Walked briskly past all of my colleagues so as not to be drawn into small talk, and got into the bathroom safely.

I dropped my pants and before my ass even hit the seat, liquid fury poured out of me. But I felt such relief and sat there, probably reading other great moments in poop history, until all the pain had gone away. I texted my office to let them know I would be late because I was taking care of an emergency in the hospital (Not a total lie. And most of the time when your doctor is late and tells you there was an emergency, this is the type they are talking about)

Anyways, all was good, I thought. But, as I got up, I realized I had shit all over the back of my pants, like a total brown streak down the right leg. Panic set in, but fortunately, I was wearing scrubs and if I could just get to the operating room, I could find a whole new clean pair. The problem was that I had to make it 100 yards, through a patient floor, not see another doctor, resident, or student who wanted to ask me a question or talk, get to the scrubs, change in the locker room without seeing anybody, and dispose of the soiled scrubs I had on me.

It was the longest 100 yards of my life. The shame of being a highly educated professional and trying to sneak through a hospital because I shit all over myself. My head was down the whole time not looking at a single person I passed. Shirt untucked to try to hide the disaster all over the back of my pants, and it didn’t even hide half of it. But, miraculously, I made it without anybody seeing. I grabbed a new pair of scrubs, changed, threw away the ones I had destroyed, and strolled out of the hospital as if nothing had happened. I made it to my office and explained to patients how I was late dealing with an emergency in the hospital. Thankfully, they thought I was saving lives, not shitting all over myself.


I’m never going to the doctor again. 

Drew Magary is a Deadspin columnist and columnist for GEN magazine. You can buy Drew's second novel, The Hike, through here.

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