Wednesday, August 08, 2007


I've read many a stupid thing in my 53 years on this planet. This might be the stupidest.

It was an exciting moment, even if the overall event leaves me dead inside. Barry Bonds is a no-doubt great player. He's also a cheat, and a drug abuser. He probably doesn't deserve to be singled out, but as the best player with one of the largest contracts, that just comes with the territory.

I don't celebrate what he did. The feeling I have inside is akin to the tone that the always classy Hank Aaron spoke with. Just matter of fact. Cordial, but not warm. It is (to use the overused cliche) what it is.

The record book is not holy writ. It's not a book of morals. It's just a listing of facts and events. We tend to ascribe too much value to it, elevating those mortals into heroes. Yet time after time we're burned. Still, we do it.

We shouldn't look to the baseball record book for moral guidance, or to rekindle those grainy memories of childhood that fill us with a warm (if usually inaccurate) nostalgia. It says what happened. When it happened. Who it happened to. Facts. Just cold, hard facts.

Fact is, he's a hell of a player. Or was, I should say. It'd be better if we could vanquish the post-'98 monstrosity from our collective memories and remember the greatness that preceded it. That's the true Barry Bonds, the one who really was an all-time great.

The record book shows that he's put up some incredible numbers over since. You can't ignore them. They did happen, even as many of us wish they hadn't, and even if it creates a complicated 'moral' picture.

But the book says that Barry Bonds is the all-time leader. That's true. Nobody has hit more. But he's a jerk. And he's a steroid abuser. Those are facts too. Very cold, very hard facts.

  • Oh, and it's hard for me to type this, but Carpenter's call of the homer was excellent.


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