I know, I know. Only a nutty baseball fan would spend a few moments standing on a slab of cement where hallowed sports history took place a generation ago.
Ironically, though, I admit to not being enamored with Aarons feat at the time it was taking place, over 30 years ago. You see - Babe Ruth was an icon. He dominated the game with his exploits (on and off the field) like nobody had done before. Many of us thought, How dare Hank Aaron think he is in the same class with Babe Ruth.
Well time has proven that Aaron is on Ruths level, and then some. Aaron was always a gentleman, never bringing any undue attention to himself. He certainly didnt deserve the death threats and racial abuse he received as he approached Ruths record. Most importantly, as of today (8/2/07), no one has hit more homers in a career than Henry Aaron. Not Babe Ruth, not Lou Gehrig, not Willie Mays, and certainly not Barry Bonds.
How dare Barry Bonds think of breaking Hank Aarons record of 755 home runs. Hank Aaron is an icon, Barry Bonds is not in his class. Oops, where have I heard
Almost no one, outside of San Francisco-based fans, is rooting for Barry Bonds to break Aarons record. In fact, his quest for 756 homers is greeted by intense hostility in many ballparks. In Dodger Stadium, where security has been tight, derisive chants of Bonds sucks seem more enthusiastic than cheers for the home town Los Angeles team. His every move has been booed, from kneeling in the on-deck circle to warming up in the outfield. Everyone seems to be piling on.
Barry Bonds has as much chance of being embraced by fans while passing Aarons record as Hillary Clinton has of winning over Republicans - zero. Of course, it doesnt help that Bonds is not a congenial guy in public and has been accused of using steroids to achieve his lofty hitting statistics.
Here are some reasons why Barry Bonds should be given some credit for breaking Aarons record:
Barry Bonds is a phenomenally talented athlete. He has been an All-Star caliber player in the Major Leagues for over 20 years with seven Most Valuable Player awards to show for it. Hitting a baseball is one of the most difficult skills to master in sports. If you are not good at it, no amount of drugs will help. Barry Bonds has been good at hitting a baseball longer than almost anyone.
If Bonds used steroids, he certainly wasnt the only one. Some reports show more than 50% of Major League players used performance enhancing drugs before drug testing began in 2005. That is right, using steroids
was not officially
against the rules in professional baseball until 2005 and Bonds has never tested positive.
Barry Bonds says he hasnt ever used steroids, others say he has. As Americans, we are all innocent until proven guilty. Sorry, thats the way it is.
Come on, if Barry Bonds has broken laws or baseball rules, he should and will be punished accordingly. Also, I guarantee you that in 30 years the world will look at this moment in baseball history much differently than we do today.
In the meantime, lets enjoy the drama of a great baseball player accomplishing something that will never be equaled at least until Alex Rodriquez breaks the record for homers again in 2012.