Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Barry Bonds and 756

My roommate got his Sports Illustrated tonight. Of course, and what has been a popular topic this baseball season, someone had to rip on Barry Bonds.

Even the most casual fan has to know that San Franciscan Giant Barry Bonds is four home runs away from tying the greatest record of all of professional sports: the American baseball home run record. The Great Hank Aaron (and former Indianapolis Clown) still holds the record at 755.

Allegations have been lodged against Barry Bonds that he has cheated his way towards immortality. No one has ever questioned the legitimacy of Aaron's numbers. In addition the personality of the two could not be more different. Aaron is thought of as a total gentleman. Bonds the opposite.

This situation has gotten most baseball fans hot. Some have suggested that where ever Bonds' numbers end up an asterisk needs to follow. For some there is still only one true home run king: Hank Aaron himself (at least until A-Rod takes it for himself).

I have to admit I am not a huge Barry Bonds fan. But in a lot of ways he is getting a raw deal. The culture of cheating has always been in baseball. Whether it was the Black Sox in 1919, a corked bat here and there, the spitball, or the rampant drug use by ball players in the 70's baseball players have always done whatever it took to get the edge on the competition. Plus it is hypocritical for baseball to turn the blind eye now. You might recall that after 1994 (the cancellation of the World Series) baseball had quite a black eye. What brought people back? The long ball. The home run race between McGwire and Sosa the summer of 1999 captivated the US. Those Homeric numbers coming out of the players during the era was for one reason and one reason only: the players were putting out more juice than a Tropicana factory. And baseball knew it. And they didn't give a damn. There were buns in the seats and people cared about baseball again.

So if baseball knew and turned the blind eye--how can they now act as purists?

I am not defending Barry Bonds but honestly does the juice really increase bat speed? Does it increase coordination. And especially in light of baseball looking the other way, can you really blame him if he did juice?

For me there will be no asterisk by the home run record when Bonds passes it. I only wish that the Kid himself--Ken Griffey Jr.--had enough steam to over take the record.

3 Comments:

Blogger Shaun Carey said...

I do wish Jr. would have enough left in him to win the ultimate home run race. Barry's attitude and steroid allegations have tarnished not only the home run chase but also baseball itself (again!). Please check out my post on Barry and see what you think. http://mrcsblog111.blogspot.com/

July 19, 2007  
Blogger torporindy said...

There is no doubt in my mind that Bonds used steroids. Noone's foot increases by two sizes in their late 30s. I am not as bothered by it though. Even before he took steroids, he was the greatest player since Willie Mays. He had 400 home runs/ 400 stolen bases before he was on the juice. Sources who are close to him say that it was the McGuire/Sosa (both juicers) home run chase that inspired him to use enhancements. I still think he is one of the greatest players of all time, but I am disappointed that his legacy will always be tarnished.

July 19, 2007  
Blogger Jim said...

"And especially in light of baseball looking the other way, can you really blame him if he did juice?"

I keep hearing this argument from folks who say that people should lay off Bonds, but I still fail to see how it's a valid argument.

For me and for many others who loved baseball as kids, the sport died in 1994. And the Mac/Sosa episode was just the exhumation of a zombie corpse from Night of the Living Dead. Sorry if I sound bitter, but it makes me sad and angry that the beloved sport of my youth is so f'ed up. I'm happy to stick with the NFL and soccer now.

July 20, 2007  

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