Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Break a leg, Barry!

No. Really. In three places.

As Barry Bonds closes in on the great Hank Aaron’s all-time homer milestone I think I speak for all baseball fans (outside of the 415 area code) when I say, I hope he trips on a curb and falls into an open manhole.

I will grant you he’s a superb hitter and deserving of the Hall of Fame but so what? Auric Goldfinger was an excellent businessman. Lorena Bobbitt could qualify as a terrific mohel. And Benito Mussolini got the trains to run on time. Barry Bonds is a bad guy. He probably took steroids (or swallowed a Macy’s Parade balloon), will beat the rap, and will stand by guilt-free as others take the fall for him.

He knows we all hate him and he’s laughing. (He’s like the George Bush of baseball.)

I remember back in the 1962 when the Dodgers were in a tough pennant race with the Giants and Maury Wills was breaking Ty Cobb’s long standing stolen base record. The Dodgers went up to San Francisco for a series and the Giants had flooded the base paths so Wills couldn’t run. At the moment Bonds is playing at home but I was hoping that on the road every team would raise their outfield walls by 100 feet. But I also hope we find Osama Bin Laden.

A related issue is should Bud Selig be there to witness the (yawn) historic event? Of course he should!! He’s the God damn commissioner of baseball! And since Bonds has never officially been charged of any wrong doing there’s no legitimate reason not to go.

Besides, it’s a baseball game. Wouldn’t the commissioner of baseball WANT to go to a baseball game? This is not a state funeral. Other people want to go to baseball games so much they actually pay to see them. And they don’t sit in luxury suites or behind home plate. Selig has been showing up of late but it’s always begrudgingly. Come on, Bud. He didn’t kill any dogs.

The nation rejoiced when Cal Ripken became baseball’s iron man. We cheered Mark MacGwire breaking Roger Maris’ single season homer mark (what did we know at the time?). Baseball is all about history and records and reaching new heights. We have so few things to cheer about these days. Other than who will win PIRATE MASTER, what?? We’d like to be able to celebrate this… but we can’t. Not for a multi-millionaire who during the last baseball strike went to a judge and tried to get a break on his child support payments.

When Bonds hit his 715th blast last year in “Corporate Sponsor’s Name Here” Park in San Francisco, passing Babe Ruth for second place, his mother wasn’t there, nor was his wife and kids, the Giants’ team owner, the so-called “commissioner of baseball” (he was probably trying on new suits deciding which one would be the most comfortable to sleep in), or Willie Mays. He wasn’t mobbed by teammates at home plate. Only a handful of national reporters were there. And these guys go anywhere on their papers’ dime.

So when Bonds breaks the all-time record (unless we get lucky and Tanya Harding decides to go after him) it will be a huge NON EVENT. Just another reminder that in this day and age the villain often wins. Maybe he can have a drink and celebrate with O.J. Simpson.

Hip hip…whatever.


Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm in the minority, but as a life long fan of baseball I don't get too excited by these records. I guess there's something to be admired about longevity and consistently, but to me the object of MLB baseball is to win the World Series. You can stack up all the numbers you want (A-Rod), but I'm more impressed by the guy who comes through when it counts (Jeter, Rivera).

The sad thing about Bonds is that even without the steroids he probably would have retired as one of the 10 best players of all time.

On the other hand he's probably the most unlikable player since Ty Cobb, so I don't lose any sleep thinking about him.

Personally I don't care if he breaks the record or not. But you're right, Selig has to attend unless Bonds has been convicted of doing something wrong.

I think the proper way to memorialize the event will be to stop the game and have Michael Vick brought out to present him with a nice card board plaque.

Rob said...

First, let me say that Cal Ripken breaking the Iron Man record resulted in the best broadcasting moment in ESPN history. 20+ minutes of NOTHING being said in the booth made the moment that much more special. There are times when I don't need the color commentator telling me why a moment is so special.

Perhaps I'm in the minority, but I'm cheering Barry on. He's an asshole who hates the media.

So what?

He took steroids.

So what? Since it was so rampant, why aren't there dozens of people chasing the record?

Perhaps the lack of interest in the record stems from the fact that there truly is nothing noteworthy about it anymore. With shorter parks, crappier pitching, conditioning (with or without steroids), and potentially juiced bats and balls, a home run is old news.

There is also the fact that there is no real angle to this story. Hank Aaron is beloved People hated Hank too (although simply for the color of his skin), and part of the story was a black guy breaking a white legend's record. Here you have a hated player breaking the record of a player who (right or wrong) is known mostly as the guy who previously broke the record. Plus you have other players who are on a clip to eclipse Bonds in a few years.

Anonymous said...

There aren't dozens of people chasing the record because steroids don't help you actually hit the ball--but presumably they help you develop extra power when you *do* hit it, sending the ball a little farther.

Even if it gives you an average of ten extra feet per hit, that's the difference between a long single (or even an out) and a home run.

I wonder if that happens a statistically significant number of times. Or how we could even tell.

VP81955 said...

If it's any solace, I think Barry is a long way off from breaking Aaron's other record, one less sexy than homers but arguably more important: runs batted in. Hank has 2,297.

webbie said...

I had the great good fortune to meet Hank Aaron. The man is a total class act. This is a man who broke down walls. I remember when he broke the record. It was an amazing moment.

It is my sincerest wish that Barry Bonds breaks a new record....the most walks issued against a single player. I will personally cheer each team that chooses to walk BB over offering him the chance to steal the record.

R.A. Porter said...

I'm close to you Webbie. I'd like him to reach first a lot. But I'd like to see it exclusively on HBP.

Armor or no, that's gonna sting.

The Curmudgeon said...

I thought the Feds would have indicted Barry by now; that would have given MLB the opportunity to bench him.

The hypocrites.

MLB winked and nodded and nudged while Sammy Sosa bragged about taking "Flinstone vitamins" -- and Mark McGwire? We surely suspected it. We cheered anyway didn't we?

So MLB encouraged players to, uh, bulk up (so that we would forget and forgive the loss of the 1994 season) and now is wringing its corporate hands because Jose Canseco (among others) spilled the beans. Poor, two-faced babies.

If as many people juiced as Canseco claims, there must have been a lot of .220-hitting juicers out there. Barry Bonds' achievements are remarkable in any era.

Finally, its Mr. Aaron's record that is about to be eclipsed -- not Mr. Aaron himself. So I say no asterisk. And let Bonds (and McGwire) in the HOF in due time. But boo your lungs out at Barry -- and cherish Mr. Aaron all the more.

Anonymous said...

Well said, Ken. Well said. George Vecsey also had an excellent column on this matter in yesterday's New York Times.

Unknown said...

IMHO - Records aren't made to be broken, they are made to spur conversation (arguments, fights, whatever) in bars, on the radio, on road trips etc. They allow people of different generations to talk passionately and create bonds. (sorry)

Personally I'd like to see him set a record for most strike-outs in a row until he retires. I'd also like to look like Cary Grant.

Anonymous said...

You can probably guess how I feel about the subject, given my screenname. If Bonds still hasn't broken the record when the Giants get to Dodger Stadium, I hope the Dodgers walk him every single time he comes up.

Not in my house, you petulant, moon-faced, overpaid, overpriviledged sourpuss.

Graham Powell said...

Even if we knew for a fact that Bonds never took steroids I would prefer that he not brake Aaron's record. As others have said, Aaron is a class act and Bonds is an asshole.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, DodgerGirl, how do you feel about him? :)

Cap'n Bob said...

Maybe the steriods will have their own just reward for Bonds. Like that wrestler, he might hang himself.

I think the commissioner ought to boycott the event if only to send the messsage that steroid freaks aren't welcome in the game.

And I like Dodgergirl's idea of walking him every time he comes to the plate for the rest of his career. That would be sweet.

Finally, whatever they may print in the official record books, in my personal book he's a bum.

Buttermilk Sky said...

Baseball evolves, medicine evolves. Some day we'll have to decide which medical advances corrupt the game and which merely change it. When the game began there weren't even X-rays, much less MRIs, arthroscopic surgery, or Tommy John-type transplants. If modern arthritis drugs could have given Sandy Koufax another five years, would you give him an asterisk because they weren't available to Cy Young or Walter Johnson? And since we're talking about self-medication and the limits of what's legal, how about Mike Schmidt's frank comments on amphetamines ("greenies")?

If Barry Bonds were as likeable as Cal Ripken but still had "a head bigger than the house I grew up in," as Billy Crystal put it -- would we be having this discussion?

Anonymous said...

Hey, it's only a game. Cut Barry some slack. A lot of people didn't like Ty Cobb or Stan Musial - they had personality problems too. Go Barry! Break the Record...records are made to be broken - his too.

Murph said...

While Bonds selfishly took performance enhancers to bolster his own statistics and reputation as a ballplayer, I simply cannot subscribe to the comparison that he's like a murderer.

No matter how bad Barry Bonds is as a person -- through the tax evasion, the clear and the cream, the cheating on his wife, his general assholery -- he never killed two people.

Professional ballplayers are like entertainers in a lot of ways, too. What do we care if an actress has a boob job or Tom Cruise gets another face lift? We pay to get away from our problems.

Barry Bonds hitting home runs is fun to watch.

Though, I'll grant you he's on such a godawful team of a soon to be moribund franchise that he could hit 3 HRs a day and the Giants wouldn't be anymore entertaining.

Anonymous said...

"He knows we all hate him and he’s laughing. (He’s like the George Bush of baseball.)"

He says he never used illegal drugs (like George Bush) and we're all laughing. They both have big heads, but for different reasons. Bonds continues to break records, while George Bush continues to sound like a broken record. Was Barry Bonds a cheerleader?

Anonymous said...

Stan Musial had personality problems? You want to step outside and say that?

Stan is the Man who hustled as hard on his last at-bat as he did on his first, 22 years earlier. The Man who said "No, we're not doing that," and single-handedly kept the Cardinals from going on strike when Jackie Robinson started playing. The Man who is a walking example of sustained excellence.

I have seen grown men burst into tears as they introduced him to their sons, calling him "the greatest baseball player who ever lived."

Personality problems? Not in my town -- and three generations of baseball fans here in St. Louis will back that up.

VP81955 said...

Agree with David's comments on Stan Musial, whom Ken Griffey Jr., as good as he is, will never displace as the greatest player to be born in Donora, Pa.

When I was growing up in the sixties, Stan was considered the National League equivalent of Ted Williams (multiple batting titles, pure hitter), but has sort of faded from public sight in ensuing decades. If only John Updike had written an essay on him...

The Fool said...

"But I'm innocent!" he exclaims as his watermelon sized head explodes in righteous indignation.

Anonymous said...

Were steroids illegal to take while playing baseball?


So who cares?

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Hey Ken - Big fan of our your blog. Screenwriting? Cheers? M*A*S*H*? Baseball? Hollywood? Travelogues? What's not to love?

Read the Barry post. Had an idea for something related. Very short. Don't worry, not a spec. Thought you might get a kick out of it. Posted it yesterday but would rather send to you direct.

Wondering if that's possible? if it is, let me know: jberghaus at gmail.


Anonymous said...

On this page you can find variety of sports content, in which you can choose your favorite sport and enjoy the maximum, if you know more about sports visit ...

The best place for mlb tv, direct tv mlb, 2007 mlb rumor trade. For more information visit: http://www.bet911.com