Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Ongoing Trials of Barry Bonds: an enigma, wrapped inside a riddle, covered in blissful irony, entwined in the tangled webs we weave.

With all the to do about Barry Bonds breaking an immortal record (and I'm okay with that, for some reason), I think the bigger story is how Hank Aaron and Bud Selig are handling everything. Aaron has stated publicly (and to anyone other than Bonds himself) that he doesn't care about the record being broken and could care even less about who is doing it. Says the current (but for how long??) home run king, via a blog quoted on (and, yes, Jed, I'm okay with bringing in other media sources):

"I have no intention of trying to get in contact with him or doing anything with
him in regard to his [chasing the record]. Nothing. Why should I?"
Meanwhile, the baseball commissioner hasn't gone so far as to say if he'll be there or not. From USA Today:

Selig has refused to say what he'll do when that dreaded moment [when Bonds
breaks the record] arrives, and he reiterated his stance Thursday during a
news conference after owners finished their two-day meetings.

This, to me, is curious. I remember when Big Mac and Slammin' Sammy were going toe-to-toe to break the then-record of 61 dingers and the nation was watching every pitch (this was front page news across the country, as you'll recall. I remember reading about it in the local paper when I was vacationing that summer in Martha's Vineyard, between sitting on the beach and running my car off bridges, thus killing hookers). Now a different home run chase is getting national coverage, too, but for all the wrong reasons. And, surprisingly, it's not Barry's fault.

Bud Selig needs to be there, not out of appreciation but because he's commissioner, the unfortunate, overly-joweled face of Major League Baseball. And whether Barry did steroids (he did, we're all pretty sure) or not is a non-issue. How the hell are any of us to know that Ruth, Aaron or Marris weren't? Or that the pitchers they faced weren't? Get used to it, folks: everyone cheats, even if it is just a little bit for just a little bit of time.

As for Aaron, I think he's just being petty. If he doesn't want to watch it, that's fine. Shut up and stop making us read pull quotes in USA Today. I'm surprised Barry doesn't hold a presser and say something like this:

"I'm sure that Mr. Aaron is upset that someone may break his immortal record; I
would be, too. If and when someone ever hits as many as I do then I'm sure
I'd bitch to every writer who will listen about how he must be cheating
and how I choose not to acknowledge it. Or...I can sit in the front row of
a baseball stadium for free and watch the game I love being played better by
someone else. But that's just me."
Barry Bonds will never utter a word that at all resembles that, but wouldn't it be nice to see a quote like that one morning on Sportscenter?

Anyway, Barry Bonds will break the record, likely before the All-Star break and probably at home where he will be cheered like a Roman Emperor coming down the Forum (I watched "Gladiator" last night) and I for one think it is a good thing. Hopefully Bud Selig and Hank Aaron can find a way to agree.

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