756…

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I wish there was a way to wipe the slate clean. Maybe a way to know. Really know. How good would Barry Bonds have been if he had not done what we all know he did – even if he didn’t knowingly do so. (wink) What if he’d not been so surly, such a curmudgeon, so uncooperative with the media. I wish there was a way to know.

But there isn’t. All I know is that he’s now hit more home runs than any player in baseball history. I know he’s a marvel, maybe the best player ever. I know he once won four consecutive MVPs, and has a garage full of Gold Glove, Silver Spikes and plated bats. He’s stat-for-stat as good as any player, ever, including Ruth, Aaron and Godfather Mays.

How good would Bonds have been had he knowingly not done what we all know he did? Just as great, probably, however you want to define it. But 766 HRs? Probably not. But how many? 663? 628? 712? I wish there was a way to know.

This record is perhaps the worst thing to happen to Barry Bonds. It clouds not only what he was, but also what he might have been. It detracted from his obvious greatness and became a magnet for all the vitriol sports fans should be directing at everyone, anyone who had anything to do with with sport during the do-anything-era, including themselves. Sosa-McGwire? Please? We are all guilty.

So here we are on an historic night. Bonds is the most prolific home run-hitter of all time. No asterisk. No argument. No doubt. He has never failed a test and was eligible to play. As long as that was the case, each home run counted. Period.

Can we now just move on?

PS: Kudos to Mike Bacsik. The Washington National left-hander became the 446th pitcher to give up a HR to Bonds. And unlike some of the wormy pitchers who claimed they’d pitch around Bonds because they “didn’t want to be remembered in a negative light,” he, in his own words, “went after Bonds.” He got behind him 2-0. Threw a pretty good pitch that Bonds pulled foul. Then he threw a curve that didn’t – it hung over the plate and came to rest in the right field stands. Bacsik’s father, a former major-league pitcher who once faced Aaron, told his son to go after Bonds and he did. Kudos to them both. “I’m a part of history and I’m okay with he,” the younger Bacsik said. Now that’s a player.

And this is class: Hank Aaron offered a video tribute that was played as a surprise as Bonds was bathed in adulation by the home fans. Aaron was home asleep, but his message spoke volumes: “My hope today, as it was on that April evening in 1974, is that the achievement of this record will inspire others to chase their own dreams,” he said.

Amen. As I said, let’s move on.

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21 thoughts on “756…

  1. […] I wish there was a way to wipe the slate clean. Maybe a way to know. Really know. How good would Barry Bonds have been if he had not done what we all know he did – even if he didn’t knowingly do so. (wink) What if he’d not been so surly, such a curmudgeon, so uncooperative with the media. I wish there was a way to know. – Ballers, Gamers and Scoundrels […]

  2. wkb206 says:

    Glad that’s over – as you said, let’s move on … to A-Rod! Griffey Jr. can’t do it (too bad he’s been hurt so much in his illustrious career), but A-Rod can (and I hope, will) take out Barry’s mark, wherever he leaves it. Then you’ll have the kind of home run champ that you’ve asked for – one for whom you can root whole-heartedly (despite that obscene and well-deserved contract…).

  3. Rafael Martinez The Green says:

    Great story. I would love to know why no body has mentioned anything about what seems to be a much larger suspission. That of Why Babe Ruth had almost 500 more home runs than the next guy when he established the record. If that happend today would he still be the great Babe?

  4. edubs says:

    I applaud Barry whole-heatedly. Arguably one of the best players ever. Period!! The league and the country turned a blind eye to the proliferation of performance enhancing drugs in baseball for years, so this new found “holier-than-thou” attitide is extremely disingenuous. Besides, 2 clear facts remain: 1) steroids don’t help hand-eye coordination & 2) many of the pitchers Barry’s faced over the last decade were taking performance enhancing drugs. Congrats Barry!!!

  5. Henry Chapman says:

    This was a terrific story. You’ve summed up this saga as, I believe, many current and ex-major leaguers have been attempting to since the whole steroids thing began. But as you are encouraging us to ‘move on,’ we should listen. As surly a personality Barry Bonds may be, he passed every test given and has been officially cleared to play ball.

    In my eyes he is the Home Run King! That being said, I wonder, as you do, what his career would have amounted to absent this cloud of doubt.

    Thanks for the article. This was one of your best!

  6. Neil Menzies says:

    I watched the game on TV. Although I was excited to watch history unfold, I did not feel the slightest sense of happiness or satisfaction for Bonds personally or for baseball as an institution. Forget the steroids talk (although the alleged steroid-use and his horrible personality may be linked); having lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for the better part of 15 years, I have never met a single person who has met Barry Bonds and come away with the impression that he is a decent human being, let alone a nice guy. To hear him refer to his San Francisco fans as “family” was downright disingenuous and turned my stomach a little.

    Frankly, Aaron’s gracious message “saved” the moment from being almost painful.

    We won’t ever know what could/should have been, Roy, but one day we will probably know what was, and we will have our opportunity to judge then. Guilty or innocent, Bonds will forever be known as a product of the “steroid” generation of ballplayers, and I think the baseball community will be relieved when his record finally falls. Sadly, I think his true greatness will be overshadowed by other things, and that will be his legacy. As you say, it’s really too bad.

  7. Joeffrey says:

    Good morning all!!!! Hail to the KING !!!!! Congrats to the man!! What can you say?? Yes you could dig up a lot of controversy, but why?? Let the future “Hall-of-Famer” be; let Tiger chase Jack, debate which Williams sister is better, console Kobe in LA, question Pacman on the wrestling circuit, total fine money while you wait for Strahan to decide, then remember the body count across seas (not just the war). Have you hailed to true KING – Jesus the Christ?!!!

    Peace & Love.

  8. Irv B. says:

    Okay. I’ve moved on. But hey, I hope we’re around when the big kid in Phillie does it. There can be little question if he stays healthy, he can do it. Yound Mr. Howard can be our next hero. A-Rod will get to 700& change (no question); but Ryan Howard….well let’s wait and see.

  9. in2thefray says:

    It’s a game * It’s history*It was an interesting read and a healthy departure from my usual blogging circle *

  10. […] Does Barry Bonds really deserve this honor? After the steroid scandals? I found this WordPress blog post about the topic. Read it and […]

  11. Josh (josh60502) says:

    That little link thing above is mine. I put it here because I thought this was a very good article.

    Anyway, I think that even if some of those home runs were from steroids, it still takes a great player to do THAT well. You’re right. There’s nothing to worry about, so let’s move on.

  12. withmalice says:

    Good stuff. Yup, Barry’s just ‘leasing’ the MLB record, as hopefully A-Rod will one day take it.
    And ‘pro-baseball HR King’? Sorry, Bonds is a long way behind Sadaharu Oh’s 868.

  13. R. Pick says:

    Everyone in the stadium knew it was coming. Sooner or later, that which was once thought unbreakable was going to be broken. Everyone had known it for some time, because the polarizing figure, who hit bomb after bomb, had recently tied the former home-run king.

    For some this historic seemed to come too soon, while for others it seemed to be a long time coming. Regardless of how they viewed it, they all witnessed history. They all saw the ball soar over the fence, and just like that, the most hallowed record in all of sports, fell.

    The image is now etched in our minds, the new home-run king rounding the bases finally touching home plate, making the record official.

    The stadium was filled with a sea of mixed emotions; cheering, booing, and confusion all filled the air. Most had made up their minds about the new king, but some weren’t so sure. These fans, who were undecided, wondered, do we cheer this man? Is this man worthy of the mantle he now carries?

    And what about the man himself? What does the new home-run king think of his accomplishment? He’s been raked over the coals by the press, he’s received hate mail, and of course, he’s been asked numerous questions about whether or not the commissioner of baseball would show up and what baseball’s responsibility is in this situation.

    Some fans could have cared less about such questions, only one thing reigned in their minds, please let someone else pass this man. The begged for someone more traditional, someone with a baseball background, someone not named Aaron.

    Their prayers have been answered—33 years after Henry Louis Aaron broke the record seemingly set in stone by George Herman Ruth Jr., someone has taken the home-run record away from Aaron.

    Today, Barry Lamar Bonds is the new home-run king.

    Bonds’ road to the record has been eerily similar to that of Aaron, but while Aaron was castigated because he’s black, Bonds has been censured because he’s bulked, and most believe that bulking was achieved unnaturally. Now, Bonds will go forward with a lot less fanfare and continue to add to his home-run total, while Aaron will sit quietly at home with all the answers to the questions that should have been asked years ago.

    In 1974, America wondered if Hank Aaron, a black man, was worthy enough to be home-run king. It’s too bad it took 33 years and a pariah for us to decide that yes, Aaron is worthy, and he is, the true home-run king.

  14. daryl says:

    Congrats Barry Lamar Bonds! Henry Aaron dotted every eye, and crossed every T. And Major league Baseball and it’s loving adoring public “dissed” him. The Commissioner was absent 33 years ago for Mr. Aaron, as well as for Mr. Bonds today. America was not happy for Henry Aaron then, and America is not happy for Barry Bonds now . Even if Barry Bonds is guilty of his alledged transgressions, he is not alone. However, he had the talent and skill to accomplish this incredible feat. America who are you trying to fool? Just look at the complexion of Major League Baseball today.

  15. SteveMB says:

    Are you kidding me? Who wrote this article? Please do some RESEARCH before writing it. Bonds DID test positive for a banned substance last year. Get your facts straight.

  16. Roy S. says:

    Uh, SteveMB, lok at the top of the blog. I wrote the article. I love your condescending tone. Look, you’re talking about an amphetamine test Bonds failed last year – for which he was punished accordingly under MLB’s rules. Should he fail a second test he would have gotten a 25-game suspension. Since he’s still playing it is fair to say he has not done so – and you know baseball is testing him. Now, none of this hysteria and hateration is over a damn amphetamine test, and you know that. So get your drama straight, man. ROY S. (Just in case you have a hard time figuring who wrote this comment)

  17. SteveMB says:

    “He has never failed a test”

    That is not true, he failed an amphetemines test last year. So yes, there is an asterisk.

  18. Roy S. says:

    Okay, oh wise one. This piece was about steroids – not greenies. He may have failed a math test somewhere along the line but I may have missed that one, too.

  19. SteveMB says:

    Well if my eyes do not deceive me, I believe it says “He has never failed a test”, which is not true. Shouldn’t there be an asterisk if he tested positive for performance enhancing drugs?

  20. WB says:

    I don’t get this obsession with asterisks. I’ve respected Barry Bonds for his skills over the past 20 years and respected him as the best ball player I’ve ever seen. In the eyes of opposing pitchers, managers, and baseball peers, he’s most definitely the most respected / feared hitter, as referenced by his season and career walks records (ie remember Showalter walking him with the freakin bases loaded!). 756 is one thing; but the frustration in attaining this mark has to have been very difficult for him. The man has not seen pitches since Y2K. A-Rod has a great chance of beating his record; but if he Barry saw A-Rod pitches we would have experienced this 2-3 years ago.
    As much as I respect Barry’s game, I can’t say I respect his character. As a major fan for many years, it’s hard to support his act. I’ve tried but it’s kind of tough. I’m glad this is over and it’s the last I’ll talk about it. I hope he goes AL and hits another 66 home runs. I think 825 would be a nice round target for A-Rod to shoot for. Final point, A-Rod’s quite a bit bigger than he was 11 years ago too…..

  21. Frankie says:

    They all dope.

    Some more than others.

    Corked bats help too.

    ESPN & George Mitchell decide who is a star.

    MLB = WWE Baroid = The Hulk Hogan

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