Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Where were you when?

As Seaward mentioned in today's TMA, Barry Bonds became the Home Run King of Major League Baseball last night/early this morning. I made it a point to watch the game two nights ago and was disappointed not to see the record set. I don't know what was going through my head last night when I decided to go up to my room and try to finish "The Bronx is Burning" (the book, not the miniseries, both of which I enjoy). Then, just after midnight, my brother Jonathan ran upstairs yelling at me.

"Chris! Chris!! Get down here! Barry did it!"

I felt like a kid on Christmas Day I ran out of my bed so quickly. I almost tripped down the flight of stairs I was moving so fast. When I got downstairs I saw a throng of Giants hugging Barry. I saw fireworks going off at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Later, I saw Hank Aaron on the Jumbotron reading a very prepared statement congratulating Barry on his achievement. I saw Willie Mays trying his damndest to help keep Barry's emotions in check on the field.

And then I saw something that made me totally forget about the shadows surrounding this record and the allegations surrounding this athlete. I have never been a Giants fan in any regard but I have had a soft spot for Bonds since his drive for the record began in earnest a few years ago. I thought about how Hank Aaron had faced racism and death threats while he tried to break the Babe's record in 1974. Bonds had steroid allegations, constant ESPN coverage and Pedro Gomez (oh my!) to worry about during his chase. Yet standing on the third base line at AT&T Park, Barry Bonds reached for the heavens and thanked his late father, Bobby, and broke down.

Just like that, Barry Bonds was human, as human as you or me. In the midst of this chase and these allegations, Barry Bonds was nothing more than his father's son, trying to celebrate this home run with the man who taught him how to do it. When he pointed skyward, Barry reminded all of us that baseball is just a game and that it is a game that we share with friends and, more importantly, family. We can discuss steroids tomorrow, but for today, Barry Bonds is the unquestioned Home Run King of Major League Baseball.

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