January 11th, 2007 08:13 EST
The Unlovable Mr. Bonds: Barry Bonds
For die-hard baseball addicts like myself, one of the most captivating aspects of the game is its rich history including great records of individual accomplishment, some that go back 100 years.
Most agree that the Holy Grail of baseball records is career home runs, a record currently held by Henry Aaron, with 755. Aaron surpassed Babe Ruth as the King of Swat in 1974.
No individual record kicks the ball fan’s engine into high gear like the home run mark.
Which makes it all the more contemptible that Major League Baseball has seen fit to turn stewardship of our treasure over to a used car salesman named Bud Selig.
In light of the horrendous steroid scandal overshadowing baseball, a real professional would have made safeguarding the integrity of the sport, and its most treasured record, the single greatest priority of the commissioner’s office.
Acting “In the best interests of baseball,” to resurrect a term from former Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, would have caused a real professional to freeze the career homer record before the start of the 2006 season.
Records set by Henry Aaron and Babe Ruth would have remained intact, regardless of anything Barry Bonds might do, at least until definitive word was forthcoming from the Mitchell Commission charged with investigating the issue.
Unfortunately, Commissioner Selig sat on his hands and did nothing. Barry Bonds catapulted over Babe Ruth, and is now just 22 home runs short of the highly respected and honorable Henry Aaron.
Because of the steroid issue and other legal matters being adjudicated, Bonds’ record-breaking feats are more of a black eye than a beauty mark for America’s national pastime.
And things are likely to get even worse before they get better.
A story in the New York Daily News reveals that Bonds, already under investigation for lying under oath about steroid use, failed an amphetamine test last season.
Rather than accepting responsibility, Bonds reportedly attempted to blame the untoward test result on a substance taken from the locker of teammate Mark Sweeney.
Always the team player, that Barry Bonds!
Besides the steroid and drug issues, Bonds also comes up short in another critical measure:
Namely, Babe Ruth single-handedly saved baseball at a time when the 1919 "Black Sox" scandal threatened to destroy the game.
By contrast, Bonds has brought scandal and disrepute and might end up doing more harm than good to the sport that has made him extremely wealthy.
Barry Bonds: You are no Henry Aaron, or even Babe Ruth for that matter!