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Saturday Sports: Cleveland's Winning Streak Ends

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And time now for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: The Cleveland Indians lost last night, 4-3, to the Kansas City Royals to end their win streak at 22 games, the longest in 101 years. Cleveland came out to the field, and they gave their fans a standing ovation. We're joined now by Howard Bryant of ESPN and ESPN the Magazine. Howard, thanks so much for being with us.

HOWARD BRYANT: Good morning, Scott.

SIMON: That standing O for the fans is one of the classiest things I've ever seen on a baseball field. In a way, are the Indians relieved not to have the streak on their shoulders as they go into the playoffs?

BRYANT: No, I just think all of this is great. I don't think there's anything bad about losing this game. I don't think there's anything bad about them continuing to win. I think that - the thing that I like most about what Cleveland's been doing is that they've just proven that last year was no fluke. They had - played a great World Series against the Cubs. They came very, very close to winning. And it looks like they are on their way to taking another shot at that championship. If you're in Cleveland, you're extremely excited about what this team can do.

SIMON: Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins has 54 home runs this season. Barry Bonds ostensibly holds the title of 73 - you know, but that's a steroid record. So Giancarlo Stanton is drawing close to the - Roger Maris' 61 home runs from 1961.

BRYANT: And with absolutely no fanfare on this, Scott. I think it's fascinating. One of the things that we've talked about is the price for the steroid era. We talked about what was going to happen in terms of how we viewed sports after this or how he viewed baseball specifically after all of the drugs and the suspensions and everything. And I think what you're finding is, as much as we talk about the Hall of Fame paying a price, you're also paying a price now because when somebody was going after that record, people cared. And right now, I don't feel any of the buzz that you felt, whether it was 1961 or whether it was - or 1998. It just isn't there. It's nowhere near what it was. And that's the price. When you mess with the record books in that sport, that's what matters the most to people.

SIMON: Yeah. I have to ask - your colleague Jemele Hill of "SportsCenter" called President Trump a white supremacist in a series of tweets, so ESPN has been dragged into the news. The White House press secretary called that a fireable offense. President Trump went out after it. And last night, ESPN's public editor called Jemele Hill's tweets an error in judgment.

Do you have anything to say you can share with us?

BRYANT: Well, we are not really talking very much about this. But I feel - to me, the - this is the most divided time I've ever been in in terms of the country. This is a divided country. And I think that we're - as sports people, we're all finding out - for all the terms about the flag and protests and the president and Kaepernick and Jemele and everything else, we're going to find out right now if these institutions about the flag and the Constitution, whether they mean something or whether it's just all talk until it's challenged.

SIMON: Howard Bryant of ESPN, thanks very much for being with us, my friend.

BRYANT: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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