MIAMI Yes, Giancarlo Stanton wants to one day win a home-run title.
You play this game to win championships and be the best we can. So thats part of it, yep, Stanton said.
But if you believe the Marlins outfielder is thinking of winning his first home-run crown this season, youd be wrong.
With 34, Stanton entered Saturday four home runs behind Milwaukee outfielder Ryan Braun for the National League lead. But Stanton insists its not in his mind to overtake Braun, a former University of Miami star and the reigning NL MVP.
Nope, Stanton said. If I go every at-bat thinking of how many I have to get to get to Braun and how many I got to do now, then I wont have good at-bats.
Stanton, who has hit 21 of his blasts on the road, is close to Braun despite playing his home games at Marlins Park, the 26th-toughest stadium in Major League Baseball for long balls. Meanwhile, Brauns Miller Park is the easiest one.
Stanton also missed a month earlier this season due to a knee injury. Hes played in 115 games, while Braun has appeared in 136.
You can say a lot of things, what I could have done or I could have done this, said Stanton, 22, who has plenty of years left to win a home-run crown.
If one wants to continue along those lines, Braun was to have been suspended for the first 50 games by Major League Baseball this season for testing positive for a banned substance. However, Braun won an appeal due to what baseball believed was a technicality.
Obviously, if Braun hadnt played the first 50 games, he wouldnt be ahead of Stanton in home runs.
In his attempt to become first Miami player ever to win a home-run crown, Stantons Marlins have 17 games left, 11 at home and six on the road. Brauns Brewers have 18 games remaining, eight at home and 10 on the road.
Theres still a lot games left, actually, said Stanton, hitting .281 with 79 RBI.
So does that mean Stanton is at least thinking a little bit now about winning the home-run title this season? Apparently not.
If your birthday is a month away and youre excited for it, youre not going to think about it every single day, Stanton said.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @christomasson