Sunday, April 08, 2007


Guess we aren't going to escape him.

Yesterday, in the middle of the FOX Saturday Game of the Week, announcer Joe Buck pointed to a graphic showing the top 5 home run leaders of all time. You know the names.

Hovering just short of Hank Aaron's record is San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds.

Aaron hit his 715th home run on this date, April 8, in 1974. He topped out at 755 homers before retiring following the 1975 season.

Hank's homer was a thing of beauty then; it is a reminder of something pure now.

Barring injury or divine intervention, Bonds will pass Aaron sometime later this year. He may be the new home run king, but he'll receive no cheers from this corner.

Say he hasn't been charged with anything. Say steroids weren't illegal during the period Bonds hit most of his homers. (Which isn't exactly true, by the way.)

Say what you will, but Barry Bonds cheated. Period. Dot. Paragraph.

One wonders why. He was once a great player, a pure hitter who could smack the ball into the gap, hustle out of the box and earn a double standing up.

Bonds was good. He didn't need the juice.

Aaron did it the old fashioned way. He stayed consistent through the years, passed Ruth with as much grace as he could muster, given all the terrible things that were done to him. He went on to become one of the game's greatest ambassadors.

Of those on the list, though, Ruth's 714 homers remain the most impressive. Look only to the era in which he hit, and his number of career at-bats, to see what I mean.

Michigander Tom Stanton wrote a fantastic little tome on Aaron's home run chase a few years ago called "Hank Aaron and the Home Run that Changed America." Hyperbole aside, it's a great read.

The book helps put into focus, not that we need it, exactly what will fall when Bonds hits home run No. 756. He'll get the record. He may even get some cheers from a few misguided souls, mostly Giants fans.

But he'll never, ever have my respect. That, for what little it may be worth, is reserved for those who deserve it.


Anonymous Tom said...

The Asterisk Party

We make no attempt to single out Barry Bonds. Barry just happens to be carrying the steroid banner presently. McGwire, Sosa, Bud Selig etc... all of them are guilty of drinking from the steroid trough. We do indeed protest the steroid era... and the efforts of Bud Selig. Like a good parent... we do not accept the “everybody does it” excuse... the integrity of the game is at stake. We know the asterisk will never be applied but at least we fans will have said to the future fans ... we knew what was going on and we did not stand by and ignore it.

Our asterisk is simply an acknowledgment that we the fans were not ignorant to the truth. Future baseball fans will certainly look back on this time... the steroid era... and they will wonder why no one took a stand and called foul. So this year, we stand up for the past, to show the future, that the now matters. And we will make our stand... in the stands... at the ballpark... for all to see. Our little piece of foam does not attempt to change the record book or right a wrong. That would certainly be beyond our ability and would only add to an already convoluted tangle of words and facts. This little foam asterisk simply allows the fans to demonstrate, in a peaceful simple way, that we were not blind. We were not fooled. And we did not stand by and look the other way while the integrity of the game was ground into the dirt.

The Fans

8:30 PM  

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