Barry Bonds hit his 715th home run on Sunday in “Corporate Sponsor’s Name Here” Park in San Francisco, passing Babe Ruth for second place on the all-time list. Hank Aaron with 755 lifetime “big flies” holds the record. How fitting that when Bonds socked his “historic” homer his mother wasn’t there, his wife and kids weren’t there, nor were the Giants’ team owner, the so-called “commissioner of baseball” (he was probably trying on new suits deciding which one would be the most comfortable to sleep in), or Willie Mays (although in fairness, Willie did send his statue). Curiously, the mike went out on the Giants’ radio broadcast just before Dave Fleming’s call thus denying fans the chance to even hear it. (Curse of the Bambino?? Hmmmm?)
Bonds wasn’t mobbed by teammates at home plate. Only a handful of national reporters were there. Most editors realized it wasn’t worth the $12 per diem per day to justify their presence. Better to do features on fly fishing. ESPN had cancelled Bonds reality show sending the camera crew instead to cover tractor races.
In short, this was a big NON EVENT. The 100th GEORGE LOPEZ SHOW of baseball.
All because Barry Bonds is exactly as he is perceived by the public – a (San Francisco) Giant schmuck. This is a guy who, during the last baseball strike, despite making millions, asked a judge if he could reduce child support payments. It’s also a pretty good bet he took steroids. There’s a reason his head is now the size of Underdog’s in the Macy’s Day Parade.
No wonder nobody gives a shit. No one wanted him to break the record (in the same way no one wants to see Dick Cheney win a Nobel Peace Prize or P. Diddy sell more records than Elvis.) My son was only sorry Bonds didn’t hit #715 this upcoming weekend because the Giants will be playing in New York. Can you imagine? He’d be mercilessly booed, spit on, and drenched with beer – and that would just be from the security guards assigned to protect him.
And for all that, I have to say, I think Barry Bonds is the greatest hitter the game has ever seen. Better than the Babe, better than the Yankee Clipper, Stan the Man, Teddy Ballgame, or even the Rabbi of Swat.
Still, I hate him. If I was forced to say one nice thing about his personality it’s that he was always a pantload, even before he became famous. The money and fame didn’t go to his head.
Hank Aaron was hated too. But the difference is Aaron was hated for all the wrong reasons. It was his courage and character as well as his skill that allowed him to set a record I hope will forever stand. Not because of what he did but because of who he is.
And for Barry Bonds, when he inevitably is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, I hope the only star athlete willing to introduce him is OJ Simpson.