It’s hard to believe at one point this season we were writing about Giancarlo Stanton slumping. The Miami Marlins’ slugger has been on an absolute tear since the All-Star Break and recently homered in six straight games. He’s up to an MLB-leading 44 dingers, which means he has a legitimate chance to become the first player since Barry Bonds’ record-setting 2001 season to complete a 60-home-run season.

Without some divine intervention — and let’s face it, if God does exist, he doesn’t appear to care much for the Marlins — Stanton has no chance to catch Bonds’ record of 73. But that’s not his benchmark anyway.

Stanton views Roger Maris’ 61 home runs as the true record. While Bonds, Mark McGwire (70) and Sammy Sosa (66) all surpassed Maris’ mark from 1961, the assumption is that all three took performance-enhancing drugs. So their home run totals come with an asterisk in the eyes of many baseball fans, including Stanton.

From the Sun Sentinel:

“The record is the record. But, personally, I do [think 61 is the record].”

[…]

“You grow up watching [the movie’ ‘Sandlot,’ ’’ he said. “You grow up watching those films of Babe Ruth and [Mickey] Mantle and these guys and 61 always been that printed number as a kid. “

Stanton realizes his thoughts that change nothing. It’s why he repeated, again, “The record is the record.”

That’s one way to promote your home run chase. And it also comes across as a shot at Bonds, who was the Marlins’ hitting coach last season. But Stanton didn’t want to get too far ahead of himself:

“Come back when I get to 59,’’ he said. “I’m taking it one at a time.”

[Sun Sentinel]

About Jesse Kramer

Jesse is a writer and editor for The Comeback. He has also worked for SI.com and runs The Catch and Shoot, a college basketball website based in Chicago. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Follow Jesse on Twitter @Jesse_Kramer.