Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A Word About Bonds: Can We All Calm Down Now?

Trippy- I was in Safeway tonight around 9 p.m. grabbing some ice cream and dental floss, and some dude came on the PA and announced "ladies and gentlemen, I want to announce that Barry Bonds has just hit home run 756 and is now the all time home run king. That is all. Thank you". For the rest of my life, whenever this accomplishment is mentioned, I'll think back and remember where I was when it happened- reaching for a box of dental floss while slyly checking out the cute girl with the hot ass at the end of the health & beauty isle in the Marina Safeway. Kind of surreal/trippy, and probably the first time in my life that I heard something other than "clean up on isle 9", "price check on register 3", or bad, bad music over the intercom system in a grocery store.

Anyhow, that's not my point. My point is this: all the hand wringing, controversy, lining up on one side or the other re: Bonds, all of it- can we just stop now?

Why, you ask?

Because it doesn't really matter that much, as this record won't be around for long- A-Rod is going to smash the shit out of this record. He just turned 30 32 and is at 500 HRs. At this pace he'll hit 770 in 6 short years at age 36 38, and even allowing for a dropoff in numbers as he ages, the only thing that will prevent A-Rod from hitting 800 home runs is injury, death, or pulling a Bjorn Borg and simply walking away: while the first one is a possibility, the last two are extremely unlikely.

So everyone calm down, take a deep breath, and relax: this record is not going to last for very long in the grand scheme of baseball history. And when A-Rod does become the all time home run king, then one of baseball's most cherished records will reside with the man who perfectly represents the modern professional athlete: extremely talented, massively compensated, very PR savvy, a dude who excels on the field while meticulously crafting a fake likeable persona as the well spoken all around respectable good guy, but when push comes to shove is exposed as a phony, a money grubbing mercenary, not a great teammate, and most importantly a cheater, both on the field {I cannot believe that there is not a YouTube clip of him knocking the ball out of the Red Sox pitcher's glove in the 2004 ALCS}, and on his trophy wife with a stripper no less. And at the end of the day that is probably a better place for the HR record, as again, it perfectly encapsulates the modern American professional athlete stereotype. Certainly moreso than Bonds, a player who is being villified for not breaking any baseball rule {read: the rage and hate should be aimed not at Bonds but at baseball and Selig for being so incredibly stupid for allowing & implictly and knowingly encouraging steroid use to create more home runs after the strike to bring fans back to the game, and people should also remember that it's just as likely that tons of pitchers juiced like mofos as well}.

So fear not haters, Bonds will be rendered somewhat irrelevant soon enough. He still is if we remember that Josh Gibson by all accounts hit between 850-1000 home runs against better competition than MLB had during the period that he played.

Another thing- what the hell is ESPN's Pedro Gomez supposed to do now? Will he even have a job next week?

7 comments:

DC Trojan said...

Please please please make it stop. I had no tv, internet, or newspaper at home for a week post-move and the total absence of whinging about Bonds was a great relief.

People act like Bonds has somehow tainted the American dream by cheating in the American pastime. I'd argue that toleration of a star cheating because they are successful is endemic to daily life, so presumably Bonds is vilified because he's the visible embodiment of a type of person people hate and don't have to worry about firing them.

LD said...

A-Rod just turned 32, not 30. I still think he'll annihilate Bonds' record, but it also wouldn't suprise me if it took a little longer. He plays a taxing position (even moreso if he leaves the Yankees and moves back to SS), and there's no recent comparison that can be made as to how his body might age/break down (recent comparables are during the steroid era, so who knows how useful they might be).

OMAA said...

I know that my major beef with Barry is that he is a world class jerk. Tainted record? Yes. But I would venture to say that they all are except for Cal Ripken's consecutive game streak.

I, like Kanu, think this one won't last more than 10 years. A-Rod may even break the verified world record for home runs. As Garrett constantly reminded me this morning, Bonds is not the home run king. Just of MLB. Josh Gibson is not verified, but the homeruns of Sadaharu Oh are. He hit 868 in Japan. I think that mark will also fall to ERod.

DC Trojan said...

Hey ladies in the place I'm callin' out to ya
There never was a city kid truer and bluer
There's more to me than you'll ever know
And I've got more hits than Sadaharu Oh

Kanu said...

LD-

Corrected- thanks.

OMAA-

For me, the jerk argument gets old fast. Character is not a pre-requisite for accomplishment or success. Yeah, it kind of sucks that he's not a nicer guy, but that's not really relevant to his numbers/accomplishments. Ty Cobb was a despicable human being, but his accomplishments are still celebrated to this day. And don't get me started on Babe Ruth- lionized as the greatest sporting hero in America, when in reality he fucked 10 women in every city, was a drunk, and the epitome of a self involved me first bad teammate, etc, etc- the press back then covered for his ass, but anytime after the 1960s he would have been exposed, vilified, and run out of the game as the paragon of shame. Think PacMan Jones to the power of 100.

Good point on Oh. I didn't go with Oh because the reaction to that line of argument is usually that the league in Japan is much weaker than MLB. Of course, instead, I went with a dude who hit them against arguably better competition than the MLB, but whose actual number has no way of being verified. Ah, the vagaries of post-midnight blogging. Either argument can certainly be made.

DCT- Paul's Boutique lyric reference = tip top. Been loving that line since I was a wee lad.

moin said...

I hate to say it, but it's not a given that ARod will break Bonds' record.

He is on great pace, but he is STILL 250+ HRs away. That's more HRs than Kirk Gibson and Don Mattingly have hit in their entire career. More HRs than David Ortiz have hit thus far in his career.

For ARod to hit 250+ HRs in the next 6 years, he'll have to average 40 HRs a year. If he signs with the Red Sox, I can see it, but if he stays with the Yanks, it'll be EXCEEDINGLY difficult. There has only been 2 instances of a right handed Yankee hitting over 40 HRs. Joe DiMaggio and ARod 2 years ago (he's about to make it 3).

Keep in mind, "barring injury" is a pretty big modifier. Griffey Jr. had 438 at 30 and nobody could have imagined the injuries he went through. Jimmie Foxx was the youngest man to 500HRs, but his career fizzled next season. So it's not nearly the slam dunk you've made it out to be.

Lastly, about Josh Gibson. I agree with you that he could have been the greatest HR hitter of all time (considering he was a catcher!). Saying that he hit 800 to 1000 HRs against "better" competition is quite dubious.

First of all, he hit either 115 HRs in 510 official Negro League games or 146HRs in 501 games (depending on who you ask). Meaning had he played in say, 2750 games, he was on pace to hit 800HRs or so. But the rest of the games he played were generally barnstorming games against rather rag-tag teams. Also, while I do believe the best Negro League players were just as good as, if not better than, the best MLB players of the era, I would be very hesitant to say that the league was better overall.

Kanu said...

Ahh, Moin- always pissing on my parade :). Of course my arguments are dubious- just check the title of the blog, Good Sir.

Just kidding, dude, well said as always. Hope all is well.