Thursday, April 5, 2007

Barry Marches On...

So after yesterday's slow day in sports, (even though thanks to the good guys at With Leather, we had our highest rated day in the brief history of AO) last night Barry Bonds provided the sports world with the start of what is sure to be a season long discussion:

How will you (and the MLB officials for that matter) react when he hits 755 and 756?

Let's face it, Barry is a household name and between him and A-Rod, they are by far the face of baseball today. Nobody cares about anyone else right now unless you are a fan of that team. But on opening day - Sportscenter spent the first 5 minutes analyzing A-Rod's every at bat, and as soon as Karl Ravech and Buster Olney busted in with the highlights of Barry's 1st home run last night during the Mets/Cards game, it sent the 3 guys in the booth immediately into this discussion. (Granted... it was 10-0 Mets at the time)

Oral Hershiser immediately piped up and said the commissioner should be buying his plane tickets now. One of them also said MLB officials should try and arrange it so he breaks the record at home and not on the road. (not sure which one said this... but what????) After the game, Sportscenter led off with this story - it was the topic of conversation this morning on Mike and TIMMY! (Tim Kurctian - how the heck do you spell his last name!) Heck, they even mentioned the fact that Barry Bonds hit his first homerun of the season during the news update on a local non-sports radio station! Folks - get ready, he's got 20 more to go, we're gonna be spending lots of time discussing this topic this year... but why wait. Let's start now.

My opinion is this. Barry Bonds is the greatest baseball player I have ever seen play. I am 27 years old, so I am biased to my generation of course. Were there better guys? Possibly - but to have the opportunity to witness someone getting ready to surpass perhaps the greatest record in all of sports is something special to consider. I know the whole steroid situation has a whole lot of poeple up in arms and many people want his name etched out of the record books, or an asterisks beside his name. Listen - Barry may have been the one calling the shots, and ordering whatever it was that he was taking, but this is not Barry's problem, this is MLB's problem for not having a better testing system in place. This might not make any sense, but considering Bud Selig is in charge and is responsible for all that is good and bad with the sport... what if instead of the asterisk saying "steroid era", it said "Bud Selig era"?

Bottom line - people cheat. Always have, always will. You yourself have probably done things from time to time to gain an edge in the field of work you are working in. As a matter of fact, if you were running a little late for work this morning - you may have even exceeded the speed limit - I know that usually happens to me pretty much everyday. Does that make me a bad person? No. Does that make me a law breaking citizen. Yes, and if enforced properly I can and will have to pay the consequences. Are the consequences for Barry being kept out of the record books? Perhaps being left out the Hall of Fame? Getting boo'd as he rounds the bases for the 756th time? Simply being known for being a cheater? Where do we draw the line?

As a baseball fan, I think Barry reaching, tying, and eventually breaking the record is good for baseball and deserving of praise. I think the commissioner and his staff need to embrace the record - treat it as it is - absolutely amazing! Push the whole steriod, balco scandel behind them, and move on. I personally am not saying Barry Bonds is a good guy, but lets give the guy the credit he deserves.

So again... I ask the question, How will you react when Barry reaches 756?