Wednesday, August 08, 2007

No, I Did Not See It

No, I did not see it--Live.

No, Fate would not allow it.

No, I did not witness Barry Bonds Hit Home Run Number 756.

No, I did not see Number 25 Exult in Glory.

And No, I did not witness him PRANCE AROUND THE BASES and Point his Fists and Index Fingers Up In Joy.

Nor, did I watch Fans at AT&T Park enjoy the spectacle.

Yet, I don't feel cheated, lost or disappointed.

You see--Barry Bonds represents all that's bad in Sport Today for me.

Selfishness, Greed & Self Promotion. All for One--as long as Barry Bonds is The Only One.

The New Home Run King only cares about himself. Never has he worried about anyone else.

And NO, I don't feel bad about writing these beliefs. Truly, I feel Barry Bonds has been bad for My Favorite Game.

Something ESPN Chastised Bonds for during every day of his pursuit of the Home Run Record. Yet, Relished In Bond's Moment this evening. What a Flip-Flop, by the So Called World Leader in Sport.

Bonds' Giants have never won The World Series in My LIFETIME. And, San Francisco will never rejoice in such glory over a Championship with Barry Bonds at The Helm. Justice has already been served. Deep Down, Even Bonds Knows That Fact.

No, I don't feel sorry for Our Washington Nationals for being a part of his history. No, I don't feel sorry for Mike Bacsik, either. Why would you? A Journeyman Pitcher is going to be remembered FOREVER. Its safe to say that less than 1% of baseball fans had ever even heard of Our Number 37 before the 2007 Season. Now, Mike Bacsik will be linked to The Record In American Sport.

But, I do feel sorry for This Great Game. Because, Major League Baseball let their house get out of order.

In the effort to gain back lost market share and fans in the Mid-1990's--after a KILLING Lock Out of its players during a contract dispute--baseball decided to turn its back on The Truth.

A Truth that Many Players were Cheating--FOR YEARS--Physically Enhancing themselves at the expense of honest competition.

Now, this is the result. Baseball is left in limbo. The Great Game never to be The Same. How fitting that The Record Home Run came moments before "The Bewitching Hour"--a few moments before Midnight--Eastern Time. Major League Baseball will be haunted by this moment for years to come. And, I will always look upon Bonds with shame.

Thankfully, this day, I am assigned to cover A TEAM EFFORT. The Launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour. The Selfless People of NASA making an effort to improve life for EVERYONE--Not just looking for the Glory of The Individual.

The Contrast could not be Greater. Never is The Need Of The One--More Important--Than The Needs Of The Many.

No, I did not see Barry Bonds Hit Number 756. I am not ashamed of that fact. Crew Call at Cape Canaveral for me this morning--3AM.

How fitting that while Barry Bonds left tonight's ballgame to celebrate his Individual Triumph--His very own San Francisco Giants fell apart. On the night their Number 25 made History--he didn't care whether his team won or not.

How Sweet--that Our Washington Nationals actually came from behind to victory, 8-6.

The Most Hallowed Record In American Sport Will Forever Be Designated With An Asterisk--whether that mark becomes official or not. The Public Knows The Truth.

Yes, Barry Bonds became "The New Home Run King" last night. And No, I did not see it. I did not rejoice.

Outside of San Francisco--I would bet a far greater majority of baseball fans did not wish to see this moment, either.

For This Morning--Baseball is a Lesser Game. And So Are We, As People.

Tonight's InGame Photos--(Associated Press)


paul said...

I only have time for a quick comment (hold your applause), but everyone was singing John Lannan's praises today on the sports radio station. Perched way up in left field as I was, I couldn't really appreciate his pitching. So I owe SBF a nod for his salute to Lannan last night.

Tonight was a weird night. I was surrounded by all these ecstatic people, yet I could not have cared less. I felt happy to say I was there, but the moment meant nothing. I really enjoyed the Nats' win, though. So I guess it was a "perfect" night in that I was able to witness history, as ignominious as it might be, as well as see the Nats resume their march up the standings.

Anonymous said...

Tonight was a night to be a proud Nats fan, we came together as a team and won together as a team and didn't let our guard down for any historic homer. This night could have easily rattled any bunch, but not our guys.

If you want to read my take on why Brian Schneider was a true hero today , check it out

Anonymous said...

It had to happen sometime. I was listening to the radio, and have not watched the clips. But I'm pleased that we won the game, and now have the same record as the Florida Marlins, and I'm proud that 1) we had a pitcher on the mound who is able to handle the event with dignity and class, and 3) we have a team which was able to wait for the hoopla to pass last night, and move on.

Anonymous said...

SBF, You are surprised at ESPN's flip-flop? No bandwagon moves too fast for them to miss climbing aboard, regardless of the circumstances.

Anonymous said...

If Hank Aaron can give Bonds his props, then why can't casual baseball fans. He just broke a record that we may not see fall for a long time. I don't care what he did because all the players did. I'm sure there was even players on the Nationals that did. Now, your not going to stop supporting them if that's true. What Barry did was great, and Mike Basick had a very classy moved for Bonds. It's a great day for baseball.
BTW- The man who man end up breaking Bonds record one day(hopefully), Justin Upton, hit his first MLB home run at the age of 19. Hopefully many more will come

Anonymous said...

Hey SBF-

Great post as always; truly a pleasure to turn to Nats320 every day. See you soon at RFK!

Anonymous said...

I agree: I am sick and tired of the Bonds trashing. The guy is an incredible ballplayer. Perhaps he did some steroids much like every powerhitter. People always compare the before and after but the guy did lift weights and he hit plenty of home runs while he was a pretty scrawny (relatively) ballplayer so I don't see why its so hard to fathom that after going to great lengths to bulk up he'd be stronger and his home run pace would accelerate irrespective of roids. ANd are people saying he is still on roid? He's hit 21 this year and he's 43! He is being tested much like everyone else and he is still hitting home runs at 43 so is it that hard to imagine that at 37 or 38 and pre-injuries he would have been hitting many more home runs?

We will never know the extent to which roids helped Bonds but the idea that he hit 756 home runs because of roids is ludicrious. He hit many many while surely clearn (all those home runs with the Pirates and many with the Giants). At his worse point Bonds trailed Aaron by only 50 home runs! He was always on the chase and was never out of it. People make it sound like he was 200 home runs off the pace but this is baloney. He was actually doing exactly what Aaron did which was hitting between 30 and 40 home runs year in year out. Would he have gotten to 756 without steroids (we don't know for sure if he took them but lets assume he did ..much like many hitters and PITCHERS probably too)? we can't say for sure but he probably would have gotten close. He still has at least 40 home runs in him I think. Not to mention the incredible pressure he has had to fend with which he would not have had if people were cheering him on instead of permanently trying to target him and take him down (grand juries, the journalists who make a living trashing him and making him the unique enblem of the roids age, the fans who boo him without really thinking about it too much, etc.)..

What Bonds has achieved is remarkable and its far too easy to simply write he is "bad" or "evil." People need to grow up a bit.

paul said...

I think the "Bonds haters", like myself, are merely asserting that he never would have surpassed Hank Aaron without cheating. That assertion is fairly indisputable, unless you are wearing the blinders like the ones I just took off on my flight back East.

Unknown said...

I'm probably one of the younger readers out there, but I am seeing the Barry Bonds issue perhaps from a different angle.

Bonds is no doubt one of the best players of this generation; however, baseball has a lot of culpability in this whole episode.

The sport let Bonds and countless others partake in drug use, and it is suffering for it now.

The quest for 756 is symptomatic of modern life as people will cheat to get ahead for prestige, fame and glory.

The court of public opinion has already decided on Bonds for the most part, as the vast majority see him to be dirty and a cheater.

As sad as it seems, he's just an entertainer to me, someone who I see no moral value in & just a man who plays a kids' game for a lot of money.

The Washington Nationals have been amazing, and the handled the whole circus last night with dignity and grace.

Anonymous said...

Well he did not cheat as a matter of fact because it was not against baseball rules to use steroids so as far as baseball goes he did not cheat! Can we agree on that? Or do you know something I don't? He has been tested and he has not been found to have violated MLB rules since testing went into effect. I can name many other cases of players I deeply suspect have been on steroids or some funny business (Nomar, Rolen, Clemens, Julio Franco) in addition to those we know (Sheffield, Palmeiro, Mcguire, etc.).

Now you can tell me that he violated US law by using steroids but thats about it. As far as baseball rules are concerned he did not cheat. You can tell me its "cheating" regardless and "what will the kids think" but the truth is that a few years ago steroids were all the rage (pun intended) and people in all walks of life were doing it.

I am not sure why people get so bent out of shape about this without even looking at the numbers. As I said in my original post look at the numbers: he was only 50 homers behind Aaron at the worse point pre-acceleration of home run pace. At that time immediately preceding his metamorphosis into a different player he did not just take steroids. Presumably he went to the gym and bulked up. He lifted weights and became stronger. Had he not taken steroids he would still presumably have been stronger and the ball would have travelled farther. Why not? Taking steroids in it of itself I don't think would do anything. Moreover hitting a home run is not merely about "power" but also about having good eyes and making contact in the right part of the bat, concentrating, etc. And why would he not have gotten better at hitting home runs from 1993 on? I think at that point he would have been how old? 29??? It seems like a good age to begin to improve..

It is just too simplistic to state "He took steroids and thats why he hit a lot of home runs."

I don't that holds up under analyis.

The guy made an effort to change the type of player he was from a wiry speedster with power to a bigger and stronger player. Even in 1993 his first year in SF he hit 46 home runs and I would guess he was not on steroids at the time. Steroids, presumably because there is no proof save some illegally released stuff from the grand jury that he stated he rubbed this stuff on himself without knowing (not entirely implausible but certainly somewhat..), may have played a part in tandem with many other factors but as I said look at the numbers. Are we saying that he hit 26 home runs last year in spite of older age and problems getting back from an injury and 21 this year but he is no longer on steroids? If thats so wouldn't it make some sort of sense that the year before the year before last year (2004) he would have hit more home runs and same for 2003 ? Well, that is what happened.

I think that an honest appraisal of Bonds would say that he would not have hit 73 without steroids. I would take out 25 home runs from that year and 10 for the two following years. I believe it is realistic to say that he hit 50 home runs that he would not have hit. Therefore, he would currently be at 706 which is an incredible number! Given he intends to continue playing I think he will get very close to Aarons' record anyhow. And why is it impossible to believe Bonds could have tied Aaron? He is after all decended from baseball royalty. We know about his father and I just read his cousin is Reggie Jackson. His godfather is Willie Mays. If anyone was born to beat this record it was him.

Furthermore, lets also consider that the caliber of pitching has gotten worse as the pitching pool has thinned out due to the expanded number of teams. This is a fact. I also dont know what role changing ball parks may have played. Did they get smaller? What about increasing night games perhaps making it easier to see the ball??? How about the new San Francisco ball park? Wasn't it built to help his chase? All this should be looked at before saying the "He did roids and is an evil cheater" conventional wisdom/ good american party line.

WHat am I saying? That Bonds -steroids or not- is one of the more remarkable baseball players in the history of the game. When we look at his numbers we see that the guy has 500 steals (presumably steroids did not have anything to do with this), a year that he hit 370 for average, he is very very close to 3000 hits and it just goes on and on. The guy has seven MVP awards including I believe at least 3 from his Pittsburgh days!

I am not happy about the way things turned out. Rather than having to debate his worth as a ballplayer and human being I would have preferred that I could get together with my friends who love baseball and jointly marvel at what Bonds has done instead of getting into these arguments but whats done is done.

Edward J. Cunningham said...

Anomynous, go back and read Thom Loverro's column from a couple of days ago. MLB may not have been testing for steroids since 2002, but baseball did in fact outlaw them in 1991. So Barry Bonds did cheat.

What Bonds has done with his bat the past decade is incredible. But anybody--including you---who thinks it is "ludicrous" to believe that the only reason Bonds hit 756 home runs has blinders on. Steroids not only help turn warning track fly outs into upper deck home runs, they also help improve hand-eye co-ordination, and help the body recover quicker from injuries. Do you honestly believe that a couple of extra hours in the gym each week is the reason why Bonds has hit more home runs after the age of 35?

The pre-steroids Barry Bonds was headed to the Hall of Fame, but that Bonds probably would have hit only 500 homers before age caught up with him. Bonds cheated to achieve the record he set last night, so I consider the accomplishment hollow. If MLB had any balls, they would have already kicked him out of the game and his career records would be purged.

At least there is one thing that Barry Bonds and Bud Selig have in common---neither guy will ever be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous--Bonds admitted in Grand Jury Testimony that he not only used the clear and the cream, but injected himself in the butt. Yes, that testimony was leaked. But, it does not hide the fact that he was wrong in his actions. He used steriods, that is not in doubt. The Original Post blames Major League Baseball for allowing shame to happen. I agree with that. The problem with Bonds is that he not only cheated, but is a jerk. That makes his case so much worse. No One is the history of the game has done what Barry Bonds did after 35. No Doubt he has cheated. As most likely many others did over a period of time. The Entire Decade surrounding this controversy is a blight on Baseball. MLB was blind to the problem and due to that unwillingness to deal with a situation, we are left with a player that many do not like as The Home Run King.

He is a poor role model, poor human being and a definite cheat. That is not in doubt. Really its sad that he is the record holder/

Edward J. Cunningham said...

What is even sadder is that the one man who LEGITIMATELY passed Hank Aaron in home runs has been ignored as if he didn't exist. Jon Miller in his call of the home run said that Bonds has done what "no one" else in baseball has ever done. Not true. Sadaharu Oh of the Yomuiri Giants hit over 800 home runs in his career in Japan. Was he as good as Ruth or Aaron? Probably not, but since Ichiru Suzuki is starting to put up Hall of Fame numbers of his own, I don't think we should dismiss Oh as somebody who could never make it in the bigs. I firmly believe Cooperstown needs to induct him and other great Japanese players who spent their entire careers in the Japanese Leagues.

Anonymous said...

Japanese ballparks are far smaller and I don't think we can compare the level. Having said that Oh's achievement is a great one. I believe Oh called to congratulate Bonds by the way.

I remember in the early 80s a a guy who couldn't hack it in the majors went to Japan and hit like 50 home runs one year. Randy Bass.

Anonymous said...

If steriods help hit homeruns, then how come no one else has done what barry has done. I'm tired of hearing it. No one else has come close and many have been suspected of using steriods. Barry is a great player and should be remembered as one

Jarrett said...

A dubious accomplishment for a dubious era in sports. Barry Bonds is just the most talented cheater in a sport full of them.

Imagine what it will be like when the NFL has the doors blown off about steroids.