Column/Here’s what I think about Bonds: ???
Published 12:00 am Monday, August 13, 2007
Two dates – Oct. 23, 2004 and Aug. 7, 2007 – are unquestionably the most important in my mind in regards to baseball.
The first was the day the Boston Red Sox won the World Series, the sixth in team history and the first since 1918.
The second was the day Barry Bonds hit one more home run than Henry Aaron to stand alone among Major League Baseball’s career leaders.
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I had the same reaction the second both moments had transpired. I sat on my couch – still, speechless.
Although the reactions were the same, they resulted from far different factors.
As someone who considers himself a deeply passionate Red Sox fan, I was pretty much in shock. I’m telling you the truth when I say it didn’t really sink in that the BoSox were world champions until a year later when the Chicago White Sox swept them out of the first round.
The reaction to Barry Bonds’ 756th home run was just, well, different.
I had no idea whether to be angry, disappointed, elated or amused. Didn’t have a clue.
So I went into my default feeling. Indifference.
I’m not going to brand Bonds a cheater until harder evidence against him is produced. And illegal drugs aside, it takes some amount of talent to hit that many homers.
Other than that, I have no idea what to think about the man and his record.
I do know Aaron’s critics need to get off his back for not being there personally to witness Bond’s record breaker.
Aaron played his home games in Atlanta, right smack in the middle of the South. A place that can still manage to divide itself and separate from everything else.
He got called every offensive name you can imagine and some you can’t.
Bonds plays in San Francisco, a place that prides itself on being the benchmark for social tolerance.
And guilty or not, you can’t think about Bonds without thinking about steroids.
Ballparks these days are smaller, equipment and scouting is better and hitters that strike out 200 times in a season get paid insane money as long as they get their 30 home runs and 100 RBIs.
Given all that disparity between Aaron’s era and Bonds’, I’d be a little reluctant myself to shake the man’s hand who broke my record.
It took almost a year for Boston’s most recent championship to sink in.
I might be an old man before I accept or deny Bonds’ right to history.
George L. Jones is sports editor of The Selma Times-Journal. He can be reached at (334) 410-1744 or email@example.com&.