"Five hundred is 500," Baker said. "I don't like the fact that people are talking about so many people having a shot at it, like that takes something away. They say a lot of guys are going to do it. Hey, a lot of guys have done it before in bunches -- [Hank] Aaron, [Willie] Mays, [Frank] Robinson, [Mickey] Mantle, [Harmon] Killebrew. They all probably did it within four or five years of each other."
Baker knows his history.
That quintet all hit No. 500 between 1965 and 1971, a span in which Ernie Banks and Eddie Mathews also joined that club.
Should the new facility in Cincinnati be called the Great American Ballpark or the Great American Launching Pad?
Twelve homers were hit in the opening series, eight by the Pittsburgh Pirates in a three-game sweep. Jimmy Haynes, the Reds' opening-day starter, gave up three in one inning.
Of course, when a team is reduced to starting a pitcher with a 61-74 career record in the season opener, it's an indication of a long year and the amount of fuel it will be delivering to the Launching Pad.
A decision by new Milwaukee Manager Ned Yost to move his coaches from a private locker room into the main clubhouse drew the approval of the players. Said relief pitcher Curtis Leskanic: "I kind of like having them in here. It makes me feel a lot better about my body."