April 15, 2006 12:00 AM
Barry Bonds and the Truth
Barry Bonds and Babe Ruth. Two names that soon will be forever linked in baseball history. And from what I've read about both, perhaps they deserve each other. Bonds, a surly, unlikable fellow who has cheated his way toward a spot in the record books, and Ruth, the overweight, overindulgent slugger whose childish off-the-field antics would have been front page headlines if he were playing today. Bond numbers are inflated, of course, by steroids. Ruth's numbers were never legit to begin with because he never played against the likes of Satchel Paige or Josh Gibson.
The best scenario would be, of course, if Bonds were just man enough to step away from it all, own up to the error of his ways and do what's best for the game of baseball. But Bonds doesn't care about the game. He considers the major leagues a business, and for him it's all dollars and cents and what's in it for him. Bonds cares about Bonds and little else.
So I say let him chase Ruth's record. Let him, by artificial means, hit more than Ruth's 714. That I can live with. But if he were to stay long enough to top Hammerin' Hank Aaron's 755, it would be the worst day that baseball has ever known. Worse than the Black Sox scandal and worse than Pete Rose betting from the dugout. Because Hank Aaron was a warrior. A man who stood in the face of horrific racism and unwarranted criticism with grace and dignity and became the greatest home run hitter baseball has ever known. He was, and is, a good man with a huge heart. And those are traits that Barry Bonds knows nothing about.
I had this image of Barry Bonds that I did during spring training, and I really liked it then. When the grand jury story broke, I thought about how I could tweak this a little to make it work. I originally though about changing the image to a minefield but then I arrived instead at the rough below.
I considered this a topic for a while Friday but decided the Bonds story was really more pressing and that this as subject matter was a bit too obscure. Maybe it will become a more publicized 2006 season trend, and I can use it later.