Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Well, I suppose I should mention something about Barry Bonds breaking one of the most hallowed records in baseball, Hank Aaron’s career-homerun record. Bonds hit career homerun 756 off of Washington Nationals pitcher Mike Bacsik Tuseday night on a one-out, fifth-inning, full-count fastball.

I’ll say this: I don’t like Barry Bonds the person. I think he’s an ass, even if only ten percent of the crazy stories about him are true. Now, I think everybody’s an ass sometimes, but he doesn’t seem to respect anybody but himself. I know he’s changed his tune recently and has been more congenial, but he still seems like an ass. For that, I am disappointed that Bonds the person broke one of the greatest sports records of all-time.

As for Barry Bonds, baseball player, I think he’s a tremendous athlete whose career longevity is questioned by unconfirmed steroid use. Let’s face it: steroids do not help you hit the ball, and Bonds can hit. He’s got a good eye, an incredible swing, and phenomenal bat speed. Steroids may have helped him hit the ball harder, but their main effect would be to allow Bonds to hit with slightly more power more consistently over a season and to allow him to recover from the wear-and-tear of playing and travel.

Consistency is the mark of a great athlete – the ability to perform great feats over and over and over again. After all, anybody can do something great once. It’s how many times an athlete can do something that puts them on another level. As for recovery, look at Bonds over the past two years. I know he’s getting older, but after the Balco case broke a couple years ago, he spent all of 2006 out with a knee injury and has been rested more times this year than I can remember. I believe that medical science is improving and that athletes take better care of their bodies now than they did when Hank Aaron was playing. But for Bonds career to hit an upswing after age thirty-five is insane. Stay consistent? Yes, that’s possible. But to be so much better now? Questionable.

I also have to say that MLB Commissioner Bud Selig is an idiot for how he’s handled the Bonds situation this year. He was present when Bonds hit number 755 last Saturday night, but was not present at Tuesday night’s game. Selig said earlier this season that he didn’t know if he would celebrate 756, and stood stoically with his hands in his pockets when Bonds tied Aaron’s mark. Bud Selig is a fool. If you believe so strongly that Bonds has cheated, do something about it. But because Bonds has neither been proven guilty or indicted by Major League Baseball or any other legal entity, he still innocent. An ass, but innocent. If you are the commissioner of the sport, do not act like a spoiled child who is not getting his way. Be a man and a leader and either find a way to prove Bonds guilty of substance abuse, or applaud one of the greatest feats of the last twenty years.

Do I think Bonds took steroids? Yup. Do I think they helped him hit? Nope. Do I think they helped him extend his career to hit 756 and counting homeruns? You betcha. Should he be celebrated? Yes – unless he’s proven guilty of steroid use. This is the U.S.A., after all. We’re about being innocent until proven guilty. We’re also about mom, apple pie, and baseball.

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Bonds 756 memorabilia is headlined by the ball, caught by 22-year-old Matt Murphy, of Queens, NY. He and his friend were on their way to Australia and had a one-day layover in San Francisco. They bought tickets right before the game, and now he owns a piece of baseball history worth an estimated $400,000 to $500,000. Just so you know, Mark McGwire’s 70th HR ball from 1998 went for $3.3 million; Barry’s 73rd HR ball from 2001 went for $450,000; the Bonds’ 715th HR ball went for $220,000 last August; and just recently, his 70th HR ball from 2001 went for only $14,000 (after being initially bought for $60,000). Bonds’ batting helmet, the strike-ball counter from the game, as well as a ball signed by the umpires of the game (?) were sent to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
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Oh, FYI, the Giants lost Tuesday night’s game 8-6, to the Nationals. They also lost when Bonds hit number 755 off of San Diego Padres pitcher Clay Hensley last Saturday.

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