Barry Bonds will soon shatter Major League Baseball’s most immortal and magical record, 755 career home runs. When this day arrives two of the games greatest records will be owned by players tarnished by their unscrupulous choices. Pete Rose (All Time Hits Leader) was banned by baseball for gambling while managing the Cincinnati Reds. Barry Bonds (All Time Home Run Leader) will always be remembered by his involvement in the BALCO steroid scandal.
For many years America heard Pete Rose plead his innocence until he decided to promote his tell all book when he finally broke down and admitted betting on his teams. How long will the public wait for Mr. Bonds to acknowledge what most of us already suspect? He is currently under investigation for perjury by a Federal grand jury for his 2003 testimony in which he denied using performance enhancing drugs. Regardless of jury verdicts, we man never hear the truth and this record will forever be tainted by turmoil and inquiring minds.
In what should have been a moment filled with glory, international fame and an elite star studded celebration to be remembered for years to come…. will now be reflected upon with intense scrutiny by players and fans, past and present, for many years to come.
Will the baseball world grind to a halt when Bonds steps up to home plate looking for round trippers 755 & 756? Will the record books see a return of the * (asterisk)? Who from MLB will be on hand to crown the new King? Bud Selig has been all so quiet and careful to sidestep these questions. This raises another question: Should Bonds be found guilty of perjury or one day admit to using performance enhancing drugs… will MLB strip him of his crown? Current Home Run King and Baseball Legend Henry Aaron has already made his decision known he will not be in attendance.
Who will crown the King?
Certainly, the media will not. Bonds off field relationship with the media soured many years ago. In our current age of media scrutiny and lack of accountability Barry Bonds is an easy target. His remains will be sacrificed on news channels around the globe taking away from what should have been any players shining and defining moment.. Fans looking to take cheap pre-steroid day shots at one of the games greatest talents still point to his playoff failings. Now it’s all about calling him a cheater and second guessing his character.
Babe Ruth was bigger than life. He was a trend setter and public hero. Henry Aaron was the victim of relentless racism as he marched towards the record and it deservedly earned him respect and admiration as a fellow human being. Both are still heroes today and true legends of the game who gave their hearts and souls to baseball on and off the field. Bonds is no hero.
Make no mistake, love him or hate him, Barry Bonds has been one of the greatest players ever to step onto a Major League diamond. His 22 year career statistics are legendary. A seven time MVP five tool player who excelled as a Gold Glove (8) fielder, base stealing demon, prolific power hitter and one of the greatest batting eyes ever. Unfortunately, all of his accomplishments could easily be over looked in public opinion.
MLB’s Commissioners Office and current ownership clan deserve all of the blame for failing to address a well publicized issue a long time ago. Rumors of performing enhancing drugs swirled around the baseball world for years. Baseball looked the other way instead of correcting a growing problem. MLBPA will always argue, incorrectly, steroids and performance drugs were not written into a collective bargaining agreement until recently. Funny thing… since when do illegal substances require special wording? Illegal is illegal. In the coming years there should be no surprise when we learn of tragic health issues surrounding those players suffering the long term side effects or broken down bodies.
As the record setting day approaches it is this writers opinion baseball cannot overlook recognition of f a lifetime achievement no matter what controversies remain. Baseball did not act, did not suspend, fine or conduct precise investigations into suspected users. Commissioner Selig must be present to recognize the games new home run champion.