In Our Opinion: McGwire/Sosa in 2000

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    As the Starr report was made public two weeks ago and President Clinton’s grand jury testimony was broadcast Monday, the office of the Presidency took some more mammoth hits, and we are not talking about Babe Ruth.

    George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers surely turned over in their graves with the talk of sex — phone, oral and otherwise — another American immortal must have been shaken in his earthly slumber as well.

    This week was one of sports lore. As the nation tuned in Sept. 8 to watch the St. Louis Cardinals’ Mark McGwire launch his 62nd home run of the season and break the late Roger Maris’ 1961 record of 61, President Clinton was neck-deep in sex scandal that no other U.S. president has endured.

    Then on Sept. 13, the Chicago Cubs’ Sammy Sosa hit number 61 and 62 to tie McGwire for the Major League and all-time lead two days after Kenneth Starr’s report on President Clinton was made public for all the world to see.

    Wasn’t it just three years ago that baseball was on the verge of being replaced as our national pastime amidst a labor dispute and strike?

    Weren’t the fans going to stay away forever and find something better to do with their summer nights?

    Now, not only have those worries been quashed, but baseball has taken an even larger role than anyone could have expected. It seems only a McGwire 500-foot blast or a multi-home run game by Sosa can knock Wild Bill off the front page.

    Not only is it an embarrassment what Clinton has done to the image of a U.S. president with his sexcapades, but now with release of Starr’s report and Monday’s testimonial on video, Clinton has brought hush words into our everyday vocabulary.

    Adults, parents particularly, are being forced to deal with issues and subjects they may have wanted to postpone for a couple of years. At least they wanted to avoid them in dinner conversations.

    Judy Chauncey, mother of three, said she has been forced to talk with her 8-year-old daughter about Clinton’s affair. She said with Clinton’s story all over the news, she had to react.

    “She knew he had done something wrong,” Chauncey said. “So I had to tell her that he is married to someone but kissed another girl.”

    Wayne Arballo, father of four ages 9 to 14, said he is sure his kids hear talk about sex at school, but when the news broke about Clinton, he and his wife knew they needed to talk to their kids.

    “We were all watching the news when a report came on about it,” Arballo said. “My wife and I looked at each other and raised our eyebrows. We knew we had to explain something to them.”

    There goes the old folk tale about Washington chopping down the cherry tree to teach the nation’s children about honesty. Tomorrow it will be how Clinton confessed to his wife and daughter his infidelity.

    If not for McGwire and Sosa’s race for baseball immortality could you imagine how much more sex would be on the front page? We can only image what a newspaper’s graphics department could create after glancing at the outline of the 455-page report.

    How about a McGwire-Sosa ticket in 2000?

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