It’s a summer of baseball milestones. Let us rejoice and hoist flat, $7 ballpark beers.

Barry belts 756. Sammy swats 600. Big Hurt hammers 500. Curt Schilling hits 300 pounds and/or 500,000 words on his blog.

Craig Biggio joins the 3,000-hit club and Tom Glavine spins his 300th win. Living proof that hallowed numbers aren’t necessarily a sign of greatness, just an indicator that you were very good for a long time.

Hurts to say it, but none of those numbers – whether weaved by Hall of Fame locks or guys who will squeeze through Cooperstown’s steely gates by the width of a Metamucil label – are worth the bubble gum card stock they’re printed upon.

Baseball history was forever defined by digits we all could recite with more certainty than the date of our anniversary or our kids’ birthdays: 61. 511. 714. 4,191. Alas, the game has been hijacked by a generation that thrived in the area sad-sack commissioner Bud Selig knowingly left gray for too long.

It’s sort of like the 1919 Chicago White Sox. We can’t separate the scumbags who cheated from the scofflaws who merely accepted the blood money. So everyone goes down. An asterisk upon all your houses.

Listening to the duplicity from excessively forgiving revisionists who paint Sammy Sosa as a dead-lock, first-ballot Hall of Famer and Mark McGwire as a future Veterans’ Committee project has been maddening enough. Now we add Frank Thomas to the discussion.

Thomas joined the 500-homer fraternity Thursday afternoon. So what should we make of his career? In his defense, Thomas has been huge his entire life. The guy was a college football tight end in the SEC, after all.

On the other hand, he crafted his handiwork in an epoch when syringes were more germane to baseball clubhouses than cigarettes. Does he get a free pass because he’s a fan favorite and we all think he’s not guilty? I guess that works if you’re applying O.J. logic.

And let’s not leave the pitchers off the hook. Hopefully I’m not the only one unsettled by the fact that Glavine, Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Jamie Moyer, David Wells and Randy Johnson all will pitch past the age when Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig were pushing up daisies. Ascribe that coincidence to human evolution, Dr. Frank Jobe’s genius or Tony LaRussa putting the world on a pitch count, if you’d like. Let’s just say I’m skeptical.

Sometime in July, I will celebrate my own round number: 1,000 consecutive days without watching a Major League game in its entirety. If it weren’t for the damn Red Sox forcing me to compromise my principles in October 2004, that streak would be in Cal Ripken territory.

No chemicals necessary.


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