Monday, May 15, 2006

Bonds and the Babe

Barry Bonds will move past Babe Ruth on the all-time home run list, barring a miracle, er--I mean, disaster. Some have expressed surprise that Major League Baseball is not planning any special ceremony for the event. I'm not sure why anyone's surprised, as I don't believe there's a long history of celebrating 2nd place. Not to mention, I'm fairly certain Bud Selig and company don't want to deal with the steroids/potential asterisk issue any sooner than necessary. Hell, if I were Selig, I'd probably be praying for a high ankle sprain for Barry (oops, I'm hoping for that anyway). Maybe people are confused with 1998, when MLB officially recognized the passing of Babe's single-season mark of 60 home runs...oh, wait. That's right, they waited until McGwire passed Maris for the actual record. As an added precedent, when Sammy Sosa hit his 62nd a few days later, there was no ceremony (now, had Sosa passed McGwire in the same season, things might've become awkward, especially given Selig's propensity for fucking things up).

Have I mentioned how disgusted I am with the whole steroids in baseball issue? I'll admit that I was caught up in the home run fever of 1998. I was a die hard Cub fan transferred to St. Louis. McGwire and Sosa were locked in a home run race. The Cubs were on their way to the playoffs, and the Cardinals were losing in spite of 'Big Mac' hitting home runs like he was playing wiffle ball. It was an amazing summer.

Certainly, I noticed the difference between McGwire and Sosa as rookies (both incredibly thin) and as veterans (hugely muscular). Perhaps I was naive. Clearly I was guilty of the sin of ignorance...I assumed that baseball was testing for steroids. Obviously, the joke was on me. Which brings me to Bonds.

Now, I'll freely admit that I've never been a big fan of Barry Bonds. From all I can read, see, or hear, he's a petulant and spoiled crybaby of a superstar athlete, born to a major league star father, and raised with every advantage and opportunity to be the best. The crazy thing is, he probably WAS the best player in baseball (Top 5 at the very least) BEFORE he bulked up. In 1996 Barry Bonds hit 42 home runs and stole 40 bases...awesome. But, it appears Bonds was jealous of all the attention on Mac and Sammy in '98 (a year in which Bonds batted .303 with 37 homers and 122 RBI, 120 runs scored, drew 130 walks, and slugged .609). So, Barry decided being an all-around ballplayer wasn't getting him the attention he craved, not in competition with other players using performance-enhancing drugs. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, I suppose.

I can't say I don't understand his motives. I can't say what I would've done in the same situation (WAY too far from my reality--haven't played organized baseball since I was 13). But, I can say it sucks. The guy was a first-ballot hall-of-famer ALREADY. He was an asshole, but that's not unique. Now, he's going to be at least the #2 all-time home run hitter, and I can't bring myself to cheer for him. Worse yet, he's given me a legitimate reason not to even acknowledge this accomplishment.


Blogger JM said...

First off, I cannot stand Bonds but I will admit that he probably was a HOF player prior to his introduction to the needle. It is a shame that he will pass Ruth but I think comparing passing up Ruth's number is alot different than Maris's previous record.

If it was Ken Jr. passing Ruth it would not be the same fanfare as passing Aaron but the commisioner would be there for sure and some celebration would occur. Ruth is the be-all end-all in baseball and breaking his numbers are still a mega-marketing opportunity that the league would never pass up...unless Bonds is passing it.

The big thing that you leave out here is shame on Selig as he has turned steroids and Bonds into a huge joke at the expense of the rest of MLB. This hypocrite skipping Bond's breaking of the Babe's record is almost as bad as the event itself.

3:52 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger haahnster said...

You're probably right about the fanfare/marketing opportunity for MLB. The key difference from the single-season record is probably that there wasn't enough space between 60 and 61 to have multiple celebrations. So, they just waited until he hit 62. Bonds will pass Ruth, and then there will be a substantial time period before he passes Aaron (if he passes Aaron).

It's not just Bonds, though. If either McGwire or Sosa had stayed healthy long enough to be the one, it would be the same thing. Griffey Jr., as far as I know, doesn't have the steroid taint hanging over him. That damned Pujols will probably pass 'em all anyway!

Selig has definitely put himself in a no-win situation (of his own making through willful ignorance).

4:11 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger AC said...

Whatever Babe Ruth was a drunk, woman beating asshole. He is as they call legend. And what comes from legends is only greatness, not that complete shit fucker that they really were. I think it's too bad for Bonds that he is going to have to deal with this and not have the chance to become a legend, but the Babe is a hero. Innocent until proven guilty.

1:10 PM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger Rob said...

Bonds has thoroughly earned his crybaby reputation and he deserves his asterisk for taking steroids. But his will hardly be the first asterisk in the record books! So, good on Bonds for being one of the best players in the history of the game. (There is no other way to put it.) AND a big middle finger to him for being a dick and a cheater.

1:44 PM, May 16, 2006  

Post a Comment

<< Home