Summary of “Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa’s home run race is being misremembered”

Baseball will never experience anything like the Great Home Run Chase of 1998 again, and in order to get context for the relatively banal decision to use performance-enhancing drugs, you have to remember just how bananas it all was.
On Sept. 21, 1998, there were three different stories about Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire at the top of the Jackson Clarion-Ledger’s sports page.
The paper is published in Mississippi’s capital, about 400 miles away from the closest Major League Baseball team, but there was still room for a syndicated column about Sosa and McGwire, an Associated Press recap of Sammy Sosa’s night, and an Associated Press recap of Mark McGwire’s night at the top of the page.
People born after McGwire and Sosa might think they’ve experienced an entire nation in the grips of baseball mania, whether it was with the Cubs or Red Sox winning the World Series, or the two separate Barry Bonds record chases, but they’ve never lived through an editor at the Jackson Clarion-Ledger deciding that a huge update on Ole Miss football was roughly the fourth- or fifth-most important story of the day.
Mark McGwire is stalking one of baseball’s most cherished records – until now the feel-good story of the baseball summer – and suddenly he’s engaged in a tabloid-driven controversy that’s painting him as a cheater and a bad role model.
Baseball might not have died after the strike, but without the home run chase, it wouldn’t have become the media monolith that it currently is.
Just don’t consider Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa to be villains.
McGwire and Sosa saved baseball, and if you argued 20 years ago that they were trying to ruin it, you would have been mocked ruthlessly.

The orginal article.