Barry, Hank and the Babe
Well it looks like Barry Bonds, sitting comfortably at 708 homeruns, (after that many shots in his rear-end, how is sitting possible at all?) will easily pass Babe Ruth’s 714 early this baseball season. Here’s my take on the whole Bonds thing: Having only played 14 games last season, he’s had plenty of time to contemplate his post-baseball life and realize that A) nobody likes him, B) his commercial prospects are bleaker than Brokeback Mountain’s ticket sales, and C) because of his steroid use, nobody (baseball fans) really cares if he gets another homerun record? Clearly Barry Bonds is a great hitter, maybe the greatest ever- steroids or not - but, cheating to get sports records ruins the fun of watching them be set in the first place. I think his spring training antics and reality show are part of an effort to endear himself to baseball fans prior to his last season and to possibly salvage what might have been his, as the greatest homerun hitter of all time. Bonds has already hedged on the strength of his knee lasting through this season. Bearing that in mind, I’ll offer a prediction: Bonds has never been equivocal about his desire to make people forget the Bambino and he will eagerly break the Babe’s record for dingers and hit many more, but he will intentionally stop short of Hank Aaron’s 755, feigning injury to his bum knee. He doesn’t appear to revere much, including the integrity of the game of baseball, his body, or the law, but I believe Bonds has respect for Hank Aaron’s 755 clean home runs.
I was a twelve-year-old kid sitting with my family in the second to the top row of Fulton County Stadium when Aaron hit #715. I’ll never forget the older black gentleman a few seats down from me crying during the celebration after Hank trotted the bases. Somehow, I doubt there will be any tears of pride or joy when or if Bonds hits #756.