Celebrating 756

You can read my thoughts on Barry Bonds’s pursuit of the record for all-time home runs in today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

In years to come, we may learn that Bonds broke the rules. At that time, it will be proper to view Bonds with contempt. But what if that day never comes? Baseball fans will have missed the opportunity to celebrate a truly great achievement and give credit to a man who deserves it. As a baseball fan, I am going to enjoy watching Bonds breaking the record, and I hope other baseball fans choose to do so, too.

6 Responses “Celebrating 756”

  1. Jason says:

    Barry Bonds is a grade A jerk. I’m not as upset as a lot of people about the “performance enhancement” he may or may not have done. Do I think he used drugs? I sure do. It is totally unprecedented in MLB for a guy to get better to the extent Bonds did as he aged. Now at 43 he’s starting to finally show his age, probably because only for the past few years has he been playing clean. However, MLB chose to turn a blind eye to everything that happened in the “steroids era” and that’s just how it is. I think Bonds will totally get away with it and he’ll never, not even in the future, be conclusively proven to have used performance enhancing drugs. MLB could not have a worse all time HR king. Bonds sour personality has cost him multi-millions in potential endorsement deals. What I look forward to is the day when A Rod becomes the all time HR king. Now that’s something I can enjoy.

    Bonds has spent his whole career thriving on hate and sticking it to MLB fans everywhere. No, he’s not worthy of my interest and support even if he played totally honest the entire time.

  2. Marc Schneider says:

    I totally agree with Jason. I don’t care about the steroids. He was doing what others did and he was a truly great player whether or not he took them. But Bonds takes the joy out of being a fan. I don’t expect players to be role models, but a Bonds or an Albert Belle make me feel like a schmuck for being a fan. I feel embarrassed for the Giant fans that embrace this guy–you know Bonds has nothing but contempt for them. Bonds is, indeed, a great, great player whether or not he used steroids. But, you know, there will be other great players too. To the extent that I embrace players, it’s someone like Tom Glavine, who seems like a decent guy that you would want to sit down and have a drink with. To hell with Bonds–let him break the record and disappear. I will recognize him as the record holder and hope that A-Rod breaks it soon.

  3. Andy says:

    I don’t care what Bonds’s personality is like. There have been plenty of creeps in baseball history and he’s just one in a long list. And there’s no question that even before the juicing began, Bonds was fast approaching the pantheon of the all-time greats, if he hadn’t gotten there already. It would be dishonest not to acknowledge that.

    But anyone can see why Greg Anderson’s kept quiet for over a year. We don’t need a formal finding to know that Bonds juiced. Let Bonds tell Anderson to testify under oath and see how innocent you think he is after that’s all over with.

    And for a sabermatrician, you certainly have an interesting take on Aaron’s late career vs Bonds’s.

    First, Aaron’s rate increased late in his career in great part because he went from a strong pitcher’s park in a low-hitting era to the launching pad just three years before the strike zone was reduced and hitting began to catch up with the pitching.

    Second, without getting into the details, which anyone can confirm on Baseball-Reference.com, the intensity of those power spikes at the end of Bonds’s career—even ignoring the Aaron park factors—dwarfs those relatively modest increases of Hank’s.

    And with all that expansion, which historically has resulted in big batting jumps IN THE FIRST YEAR, Bonds hit all of 37 home runs in the expansion year of 1998, his LOWEST home run rate (and lowest total) in three years. Expansion doesn’t explain Barry Bonds. It might, however, explain Roger Maris.

    You can enjoy this phony record all you want, but most people with any common sense know that to celebrate it would be like celebrating the tallying of the loot from the world’s biggest bank robbery, and they’re not going to be there cheering with you.

  4. Ron says:

    “In years to come, we may learn that Bonds broke the rules. ”

    Um, we already know he broke the rules. He’s admitted it no less. He just has totally unbelievably claimed he thought he was using flaxseed oil and arthritis cream.

  5. richard says:

    Why didn’t you mention ‘armor’ as another factor that distinguishes Bonds’s era from Aaron’s? Just imagine Gibson or Drysdale pitching today …
    Also, you should have mentioned the great increase in HBP coinciding with expansion, to reinforce your point about how the game has changed.

  6. Brent says:

    Jason said: “It is totally unprecedented in MLB for a guy to get better to the extent Bonds did as he aged.”

    How about Tommy John? He did it medically as well, and having your bad elbow replaced certainly seems to be performance-enhancing to me.