*Barry Bonds* hit home run number *756* last night. What a shame. What a shame to the many fans of this, the greatest game of all. What a shame to the many fans of the home run ball. What a shame to all those great athletes who work hard for the love of the game.
Some thoughts on this *event*:
1) I wholeheartedly approve of the comments Commissioner of Baseball Bud Selig made upon the event of #*755*: "Congratulations to Barry Bonds as he ties major league baseball's home run record," it said. "No matter what anybody thinks of the controversy surrounding this event, Mr. Bonds' achievement is noteworthy and remarkable.
"As I said previously, out of respect for the tradition of the game, the magnitude of the record and the fact that all citizens in this country are innocent until proven guilty, either I or a representative of my office will attend the next few games and make every attempt to observe the breaking of the all-time home run record."
So much was not said here! No handshake. No applause. No conversation. No nothing. And do you know where the Commissioner was yesterday? (Hint: NOT at the game in DC!) He was being deposed by former Senator Mitchell, who is heading up baseball's investigation on steroid abuse. Don't you just love it?
2) In my view, the Commissioner could have gone further. In his role, he has the right (some might say, even the responsibility) to act IN THE BEST INTEREST OF BASEBALL!!! This means he has an enormous level of discretion -- and that his decisions are most difficult to appeal or overturn. Look at the example of the "Black Sox" scandal, where 8 members of the Chicago White Sox were permanently banned from baseball due to their associations with gamblers -- associations which led to the "throwing" of the 1919 World Series. There are a couple of interesting things to note here: 1) The players were found NOT GUILTY in a court of law. 2) Of the 8 players allegedly involved, solid cases for illegal play can only be made for 4 of the 8. Nevertheless, the Commissioner at the time, banned them ALL for life acting IN THE BEST INTEREST OF BASEBALL!!! None of the 8 were ever reinstated, although 2 (Joe Jackson and Buck Weaver) continued to defend their innocence and tried to clear their names for the rest of their lives. Later suspensions (which were lifted) were levied by Commissioners against Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle for their legal (but controversial) affiliation with casino gambling. And then we have the Pete Rose fiasco -- which I will not dignify further in this post. My point? Commissioner Selig, although I appreciated his remarks at #*755*, could have prevented this debacle from ever reaching this point.
3) Hank Aaron is a class act. His video tribute to *Bonds* was the epitome of gentlemanly behavior -- behavior that *Bonds* does not now -- and never has exhibited.
4) Willie Mays -- one of the greatest of all times -- has lowered himself dramatically in my view. Yes, I know that *Bonds* is his godson -- but a proper godfather would have taken *Bonds* to task long ago.
5) If someone suggests that there is a racial component to the hostility toward *Bonds* one more time, I'm liable to become physically ill. People don't oppose *Bonds* because he's black. Amongst the top 10 home run hitters of all time, 5 are black, and 2 are Hispanic. Baseball may not be free of racial tension -- but this is not the game it was 30, 40, 50, or 60 years ago. People show hostility toward *Bonds* strictly because of his behavior. No other reason.
At the end of the day, *Bonds* is not, and never will, be Babe Ruth or Hank Aaron. Not as a ballplayer, and not as a person.
Labels: Ethics, Personal, Sports