Tuesday, August 07, 2007

756, meh

It shouldn't be like this, not for the most important record in all of sports. I shouldn't be watching Bonds hit his 756th career homerun with my eyes half-rolled. The record is too important to be shadowed by suspicion. I remember watching Cal Ripken Jr. play his 2,131st game with my father. My dad is a huge Lou Gehrig fan but he was happy to see someone break a record that seemed unbreakable. I remember getting goosebumps when they changed the giant sign they had mounted on the brick wall from 2,130 to 2,131. It was a record that every baseball fan could celebrate.

The same thing happened when McGwire broke Roger Maris's record of 61 HR in a season. Yes, it turned out we were all naive about the whole steroid thing, but it was a great moment at the time. Supposedly, it was this homerun chase which pushed Bonds into steroids. You can argue the chemistry, philosophy, whatever, but he basically changed his body type chemically. Scroll down to the picture at the bottom of this article, it's such an unnatural change that it's grotesque.

I really don't see what he gained and I don't think he's fully grasped, or cared about what he lost. Nobody would argue that Bonds isn't a great hitter, regardless of chemicals. It's possible he would've hit in the mid to late 600's through natural ability. Even if he only hit in the mid-500's he'd still be considered one of the greatest hitters ever. He was never a particularly loved athlete, but he could've been like Rogers Hornsby or Ty Cobb. A complete asshole, but respected as a baseball player.

I wouldn't wish harm on anyone, but it would've been interesting if the luck of Ken Griffey Jr. and Barry Bonds were swapped, and that in a couple years all of baseball would stand up and cheer as Griffey hit 756. I hope Bonds decides to quit while he's ahead after this season, and that in 7 or 8 years from now we can watch A-Rod seize the career homerun record from controversy and return it to its proper place in baseball lore.

1 comment:

Matt said...

Regardless of my feelings about steroids, I agree that it sucks as a baseball fan that any fanfare surrounding 756 has to be so forced, that anyone outside of San Fransisco has a feeling of "meh" at best.

In the long history of baseball, seven years is a pretty short period. I just hope that when A-Rod finally does smash the record, he does it in a Yankees uniform.