So why pretend every stat from baseball these days is on the level? Elias needs to create a formula that waters down every power number from 1993 to 2004. There has to be a way to determine the performance fluctuation of someone's power numbers compared with the average power hitter of that season. For instance, The Babe hit 59 homers in 1921 and the next guy had 24. Bonds hit 73 homers in 2001 and seven other guys that season hit 47 or more. Which record is more impressive? Let's make it simple: reduce every HR/RBI number by one-third. Who would be against this?
Until that happens, I don't want to hear about 500 homers or 3,000 hits or any other tainted achievement, just like I don't want to hear that Revenge of the Sith will be more successful than the original Star Wars (imagine how much money A New Hope would have made at $10 a ticket?), or that Coldplay is the new U2 (when they're really a high-tech version of Bread). Sometimes, you can't compare eras. You just can't. And if we must include Palmeiro's name in the 3,000/500 club, at least let's stick an asterisk by it that reads, "Achieved in an era that has rendered every career statistic moot."
Bill Simmons is a columnist for Page 2 and ESPN The Magazine. His Sports Guy's World site is updated every day Monday through Friday.