Thursday, August 9, 2007

I Read the News Today Oh Boy . , .

Fort Worth Star Telegram. August 8, 2007,
Front Page:
Barry Bonds, on the evening of August 7th, surpassed Henry (Hank) Aaron's home run record set in 1974, which was the record of Babe Ruth set in 1935. The baseball viewing public, for the most part, sighed.
I have no animosity towards Mr. Bonds and the other doped up players who have changed what baseball statistics mean, it's just that when one man passes another man in accomplishment you want the "passer" to be doing it the way same way the "passee" had to. That's the American way. Hank Aaron couldn't have weighed 175. Bond's artificially weighs in at 225. And it's muscle, the kind that gets so big the bones can't handle it and break under the load. Read the Star Telegram Sports section for 8/08/07. Look at the statistics. The home run stats skyrocket when Bonds ballooned up on steroids. Is that fair to Aaron, Ruth and Mays? I think not.
Who is to blame? Bonds? Baseball's Bud (get a spine) Selig? TV money? You and "win at any cost" me? I don't know, but deconstructed baseball statistics tarnish the history, record-keeping, and charm of the game, and something ought to be done to correct it.
My childhood hero was Willie Mays. The best all around baseball player -- ever. If you were starting a team and told you could have any center fielder in history, you would pick Mays. Willie got to 660, all time. The steroided, muscle- bound players diminish what Willie did, and Hank, and Babe. Baseball fans love the numbers that are a part of the mysterious attraction of this game, 60. . . 61. . . 714. . . Aaron passed it fairly to 755, Bonds didn't at 756. Football's different. Basketball's different. There is nothing akin to the numbers and statistics in those games. What's their equivalent to our beloved ERA, Won/loss, batting average and home runs? Tony Romo's quarterback rating? It's just not the same. Now the numbers that we love, in the game we love have less permanent meaning.
The picture above is of my three boys who were with me when Sosa hit 600 at the Ballpark in Arlington, just last month. I hypocritically cheered for him, he was a Ranger rookie and loved by the fans, but all four of us said the same thing. It was a great moment in sports but it wasn't without a sense of "it shouldn't be this way". Sosa is as jacked up as Bonds. Maybe it's just the imperfection of the world within the game I love that is hard to accept. But for me, the Great Game has had a bad day.
For the record:
Here's how the record now stands:
Bonds - 756
Aaron - 755
Ruth - 714
Mays - 660
Sosa - 604


Anonymous said...

Decent article...needs more spice...scandal would be nice.

Francis said...

Thanks, I think. B Bonds and scandal are synonymous. It gives me tired head real fast though.