Barry Bonds: True Greatness

Barry BondsYay Barry! Yay baseball!

I would like to take this post to acknowledge that, unlike Rick Reilly or any of the sports media world’s other garment-rending, tsk-tsking tradition police, I’m taking a real stand on Barry Bonds’ new MLB career homerun record:

This is the greatest thing to happen in baseball in 30 years, and perhaps ever.

Remember when baseball was cool? Yeah, it really wasn’t that long ago, maybe the 1980s or even pre-1994. Skinny dudes like Ken Griffey Jr. and Barry Bonds (see photo), or big fat guys like Tony Gwynn and Fernando Valenzuela, were the real stars of the day: they could hit (well, maybe not Barry in the 1990-1992 NLCS), field, pitch and occasionally even crush a 500-footer over the fence. Hell, teams even wore brown uniforms with pride, so great was baseball’s prestige.

What about 2007? Today, Major League Baseball is proud to note that its fan base consists entirely of the residents of Boston and New York, the yuppies of Chicago’s North Side, a smattering of bandwagoners in Los Angeles and San Francisco, some dudes in Seattle, the city of St. Louis, and George Will. The rest of us get a kick out of watching the national media wring their clammy hands and pull out their hair over steroids and pennant races, because we know that they’d really feel a lot better about the sporting world if they just calmed down and waited for NFL Week 1 like the rest of the 300 million people in this great nation.

I keed, I keed. Well, no, I don’t.

Major League Baseball is hella busted. We’ve had a baseball class system for some years now (my dislike isn’t based entirely on the Pirates’ performance: do you think the residents of Milwaukee, Baltimore, Toronto, Cincinnati, Tampa Bay, Detroit (except for last year), Kansas City, San Diego, Cleveland, Florida or Philadelphia really feel that much better about the past 10 years?) and it shows no signs of improving, because even with revenue sharing, who’s going to compete against a baseball-crazed East Coast media market? Then you have the drugs, which while a problem in other sports, don’t seem to have the same, “Yeah Mom, I’ll clean it up, just let me just beat the mall, beach and warehouse boards in Skate or Die 2 first!” result that they do on baseball’s leadership. Football and basketball offer us genetic-freak gladiators without shame, and in fact portray their players as a warrior elite; baseball still clings to its all-American, Charlie-Hustle (admitted gambler, BTW) tradition even as we watch 250-lb. behemoths smash balls over the fence.

Barry Bonds’ No. 756 is the icing on the crap-flavored cake that we’ve been served in the past decade by the powers behind MLB. Baseball’s most glamorous record is now held by a universally-loathed, self-pitying, race-baiting bully with a head like Space Ghost and a disposition rivaling Albert Belle. Does the public like it? No!

It seems to me that Bonds’ asterisk-ridden eclipse of Hank Aaron’s record is exactly the kick in the butt that MLB needs to blow itself up and start over. Baseball managed to learn from Ty Cobb that “Pistol-whipping a man for being of a different race is bad! OMG!” We haven’t seen any pistol-whippings lately, so in a more minor offense, surely baseball can learn that “Letting a chemically-juiced potato-head break our most cherished record is probably bad! LOL!”

And I would also like to applaud the Pittsburgh Pirates for attempting to break the all-time unintended crowd-booing record with this effort! Time to usurp Dick Cheney‘s record!

(For real, putting a tribute to Barry “I failed you in the playoffs and then left you for more money than you could afford” Bonds on the video screen in Pittsburgh? Is this a joke by some really smart dude in the Pirates p.r. office who likes to make people mad and then laugh at how he did so? If so, kudos to you, sir!)

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6 Responses to “Barry Bonds: True Greatness”

  1. Wow, astounding call by the Pirates front office, or whoever greenlit that one.

    You’re right that baseball’s got a ton of problems, but it’s not all bad. There’s been seven different champs in seven years, which is always helpful for a sport, and none of them have immediately dismantled afterwards like the ’97 Marlins. There seems to perpetually be a smaller-market team in contention these days, which is good. (Teams like Tampa, Washington, Baltimore, etc., can’t really blame the institution for their inept owners and management.)

    Really, baseball’s biggest problem is the utter leadership void at the top. Selig, on top of being a total douche, is a former owner, so he’s always got the owner’s best interests in mind instead of the game’s. If he hadn’t been so transparently pro-owner back in ’94, the strike could’ve been averted, and if the strike had been averted, baseball wouldn’t’ve had to struggle to get accepted again, which many theorize led to the blind eye turned toward the massive proliferation of steroids. And any commissioner worth shit would’ve laid the smack down with a universal testing program immediately. I mean, God.

    Of course, none of this is news. I should go back to work.

  2. I think Bonds should be kicked out and anyone who has “tested” positive or changed hat sizes after the age of 20 should be also (this coming from a Cubs fan who at one time stood outside Wrigley with Dan Schwartz to catch Sosa homeruns). I hate cheaters, they ruin the sport and place our high-schoolers in danger by upping the physical ante above normal ranges.

    Posted by Craig | August 9th, 2007 at 9:36 am
  3. Somebody oughta call this guy a wuaaaaaaah-mbulance.

    Posted by Hi Trenton | August 11th, 2007 at 11:58 am
  4. Congrats on the wedding man! We wish you a lifetime of happiness.

    Nick and Chris


    We’re Talking Baseball: Bonds Eyes Suing His Detractors for Defamation

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