Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Bonds is no hero

So Barry Bonds has tied Babe Ruth's 714 home runs, huh?

Yawn. Since when did we care so much about second place? Particularly when it's Bonds moving into the slot.

Anybody with a pair of eyes knows how Bonds achieved this mark. Yes, he still had to hit home runs. But, yes, he had an unfair advantage.

What saddens me about all this is you grow up learning that winners never cheat and cheaters never win. I'm not naive enough to know that the real world doesn't work out that way. But it should. Especially in our national game.

Records are the foundation of baseball. We argue about DiMaggio and Williams' numbers. We debate endlessly on whether Maris should be in the Hall of Fame. (The answer is "No," by the way.) It gives you something to do between innings and during that long six month winter stretch.

But if those records are tainted, my goodness gracious. What's left?

Baseball will be stronger without Barry Bonds. One day, and it's coming fairly soon unless I miss my guess, those knees are finally going to give out. He'll be relegated to the bench and to the history books. The game will get back to its roots without all the juice.

But I hope with all my being that Bonds is out before he passes Hank Aaron's 755.

Aaron was a decent human being. He was a solid hitter with quick wrists who hit 35, 40 home runs a year for 20 years. He endured a lot of crap. But he handled it all with class. He is that rare human being --- a true American hero.

So Bonds can take his second place. He'll pass Ruth any day now, and heaven forbid, may pass Aaron. He could have been the greatest power hitter of all time.

But he'll never be a hero.


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