Thursday, April 13, 2006

Instead, Plunk The Barry

Vin Scully, the legendary broadcast voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers, recently commented on the possibility that he might call the game in which Barry Bonds breaks Hank Aaron’s career home run mark:

“I would just as soon it not happen against the Dodgers,” Scully told the Los Angeles Times. “With Aaron [passing Ruth in 1974], it was a privilege to be there when he did it. It was just a great moment. With Bonds, no matter what happens now, it will be an awkward moment. That's the best word I can think of now. If I had my druthers, I would rather have that awkward moment happen to somebody else.”

Syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts, Jr. sees Bonds as a sign of the times, a high-profile cheater:
Bonds, after all, is hardly unique. He's just the latest manifestation of an ongoing national embarrassment: the prodigious amount of cheating in fields as varied as pop music, education and journalism. To the best of my knowledge, nobody keeps stats on this sort of thing, so maybe people are cheating now with exactly the same frequency they always did, but it sure doesn't feel that way. ...Think about it: When Hank Aaron smacked the 1974 home run that put him in the record books, it was a tribute to his endurance, his hard work, his strength and, given the racist death threats he faced, his courage. When Bonds overtakes Aaron, what will it be a tribute to? Better living through chemistry?
With Bonds’ slow start so far this season, and in the wake of “Game of Shadows” revelations, Dan Wetzel debunks the notion that white baseball fans begrudge Barry Bonds his much-anticipated passing of Babe Ruth’s career home run total of 714 on account of race.
...The people who used to hold Ruth up as a symbol of White America, an icon to hold onto as the black athlete began to dominate, are mostly dead. Besides, contrary to Professor Moore's contention, Bonds passing Ruth would do nothing to affect the Babe’s legacy. What’s the difference between No. 2 and No. 3? Is Willie Mays any less of a player because Bonds is ahead of him? How about Frank Robinson? Ted Williams? Roberto Clemente? Mickey Mantle? Aaron won’t lose his place as a true American sports hero if Bonds passes him.
If there is a more galling character in professional sports today than the 41-year-old Barry Bonds, I don’t know who it would be. If he was a callow youth one might dismiss his ugly displays of hubris more easily. As a lifelong lover of baseball, I can’t remember a time before when everyday fans of the National Pastime were openly pulling for a player to be injured, so he can’t play.

Hey, if you're a pitcher, why intentionally walk the arrogant cheater? Instead, plunk The Barry.

OK. That’s not pretty, either, but I can’t say he hasn’t brought that sort of sentiment on himself. And, so it goes. We’ll just see how the mysterious forces of baseball karma and public opinion combine to deal with Barry Bonds' hungry pursuit to pass Ruth and Aaron in the game's record book.

Update (April 14): Bonds said facing perjury probe

1 comment:

TexSport Publications said...

Bonds will get EXACTLY what he deserves. A post on my blog states that every pitcher should walk him every time he comes to bat, but your comment to "Plunk The Barry" sounds good too.

Please feel free to stop by my blog to read our take and Bonds and leave comments, no matter what they are.