|BLUM ON BASEBALL: Barry Bonds - yawn|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 07 August 2007 21:45|
Baseball will go on.
This is not a tragedy, this ornery rapscallion replacing the gentlemanly Hank Aaron atop the career home run list Tuesday night.
Major League Baseball will survive this temporary blot in its record book and move ahead much as it has since 1871. Players will accomplish feats that thrill fans, and memories of this pampered pariah will recede. As Annie sang, ``The sun'll come out tomorrow.''
Bonds has been endured more than cherished. While Babe Ruth was viewed as a deity and Aaron as a king, this feels more like an epaulet-shouldered generalissimo staging a coup d'etat - an unwanted occupant holding the top spot while a more legitimate leader is awaited.
There's a chance Bonds will be denied entry to the Hall of Fame by discerning voters among the baseball writers - many are convinced his performance was chemically boosted; others believe any group he joins is lessened by his presence. Some would rather consign him to a lower circle of the Inferno (perhaps the Eighth, where the fraudulent toil?) than reward him with a plaque in the pantheon of greats.
Far more has been written of Bonds and his joyless pursuit than the surly slugger deserves. Although it has not been proven what he did or did not inject, his contempt for those around him - teammates, management, reporters - is well recorded. He had a big head even before he had a big head.
He spoke of focusing on team success during this home-run chase even as he demanded prima donna treatment, making his message to America as muddled as his blood stream is alleged to be. He mocked questioners, alternating sarcasm, scorn and insincerity with the ease of a pitcher mixing fastballs, curves and changeups.
Players, as they are inclined to do, praise his skills, most deflecting accusations of misdeeds as unproven and immaterial. Many forgive his public pouting, uncomfortable themselves with the heightened scrutiny that falls upon them in an age of athlete as gossip-page celebrity.
Bud Selig wants it both ways. The commissioner was on hand in San Diego when the tying homer was hit Saturday, his dour expression revealing it was out of duty, not desire. He skipped No. 756 in San Francisco and has limited his comments to vacuous stock phrases that would make a politician proud. If he had his druthers, Bonds long ago would have been exiled to Alcatraz, Elba or some other island outpost, and this night would not have been necessary for either of them.
Aaron has been more forthright and dignified, wanting no part of this macabre moment and conveniently disappearing from big league ballparks.
With the deed still fresh, a final judgment remains to be determined.
Perhaps prosecutors will definitively uncover some of what has occurred, ending years of investigations by indicting Bonds formally - the court of public opinion already has - or stating they have no case and letting him go on his unmerry way. Given the length of the tax and perjury probe, they appear intent of having him exchange his cream-colored Giants uniform for an orange jail jumpsuit and a life more Spartan than the jet-and-suite, pop-princess existence he is accustomed to.
More important than Bonds' fate is any message this sends to the aspiring baseball players toddling around backyards of the world. Only condemnation can discourage conduct such as his and persuade stars of the future not to emulate his self-idolizing pursuit of glory. They should keep in mind the ultimate goal.
For the first time since Ruth surpassed 19th-century star Roger Connor in 1921, baseball has home-run king who has never won a World Series. This seems so fitting. It was clear long ago that Bonds is a loser.