ESPN analysts Stephen A. Smith and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo got into a heated yelling match Wednesday over Aaron Judge and Barry Bonds.
Smith went on an almost 90 second rant about how major news networks and Major League Baseball reaped profits from Bonds, who scored 73 home runs in a single season, and is “the home run king” despite some claiming otherwise. One of those others is clearly Russo, who waited until Smith was done speaking before screaming, “he cheated, oh come on! He took the steroids forever! His head expanded!”
While Smith appeared to agreed with Russo, shrugging as he continued, that only seemed to inspire more rage in the debate. “He has 24 home runs more than he ever hit in that one year!” Russo screamed, before speaking so quickly and loudly that it’s hard to make out exactly what he said, but it’s easy to tell he seriously disagreed with Smith.
When the ball returned to Smith’s court, he made the argument that it’s fair if you want to put an asterisk next to Bonds’ professional record, but there are many who are trying to eradicate him from the history of baseball. (RELATED: Jason Whitlock Blasts Disney, ESPN, Calls Them ‘Worldwide Leader In Grooming’)
A similar view was shared in an op-ed by Kevin Blackistone in the Washington Post. Blackistone argued that “historical denialism” is behind the misleading headline that New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge broke the home run record for a single-season with his 62nd.
“Much of the sports journalism profession should regret the error,” Blackistone wrote, arguing that “should-be Hall of Fame outfielder” Bonds set the record of 73 on October 7, 2001. The official MLB website argued that Roger Maris hit 61 homers, beating Babe Ruth’s 1927 record of 60, and was the record holder until Judge’s Tuesday night play.
Clearly the debate is one close to both Smith and Russo, as they screamed at each other for almost seven minutes.