Sunday, August 05, 2007
Weird. That's the only way I can sum up my feelings about Barry Bonds tying (soon to be breaking) Hank Aaron's record.
Everyone in the universe has already chimed in on this. I've tried to maintain some semblance of media blackout, because I know I'll get very very sick of it very very quickly, but I did listen to Bonds' postgame press conference last night. As is usual when I hear Barry Bonds speak (as opposed to reading his words in a digital or print format), I found myself thinking that it was all good. Has anyone else noticed this? The guy's got a voice that soothes, that lends humanity to his words. I've read his words (properly quoted, in context) and come away thinking he's a douchenozzle and he's making a mockery of baseball, but I don't think I've ever come away with that impression when I hear him. Weird, eh?
So, there's this weird disconnect. Do I believe that Barry Bonds used liberal dosings of steroids? Yes. Do I believe that this is "bad", even though it wasn't expressly prohibited by MLB at the time? Yes-- at the very least, since 1990 the use of unregulated anabolic steroids was illegal so far as the federal government was concerned, and I rather think that trumps baseball rules.
Some people were grumbling about Bonds taking the day off after tying the record. Surely, they said, this is a sign of selfishness, of putting himself before the team-- Bonds himself said he wanted to spend the day with his family, savoring the moment. Selfish? Maybe so, but Hank Aaron had the day off after he tied Babe Ruth's homerun record, and he had the day off again right after he had broken it. (Thank you, Retrosheet!) If Hank Aaron could do it, I reckon it's more than fine for Bonds.
In a way, I wish we could just vault over Barry Bonds and wait for ARod to break the homerun record. Trust me, it is sickening to say that, but for all his failings, ARod has at least not been tied to steroid use. I wouldn't be happy that it was ARod breaking the record, just because he's ARod, and we could groan about whether or not he "deserved" to break it, but at least there wouldn't be much doubt about whether or not he honestly was breaking it.
Alas, if wishes were fishes we'd all be drowning in cod. There's no getting around the fact that Barry Bonds is going to break this record, either tomorrow or soon thereafter. And I hope he does break it pretty soon, because starting tomorrow the Giants play a 7-game homestand, and cats knows those poor Giants fans deserve to see that record broken in their own ballpark.
So, with all that, and believing that Bonds' steroid use was "bad", I shouldn't be happy about him breaking the record, right? Right... but it's not that simple, because I'm not UNhappy that he's breaking the record. I have reservations about Barry Bonds, for sure, but mixed in with those reservations is a sense of awe at what he's doing, something that I feel like most baseball fans, at some level, are aware of. This is a HUGE record, and no matter HOW he hit those homeruns, he DID hit them-- lots of them hugely, immensely-- and that's something at which we can't help but marvel.
This is history. We're living to see it. But you might call it tainted history.
I guess I still don't know how I feel about all this. Other than weird.
Labels: Barry Bonds, baseball, Hank Aaron, MLB, record