Saturday, July 21, 2007

Words, Thoughts and Observations of Barry Bonds and the Home Run Record...

For those of you who have been reading my blog since day one, you all know I have no love lost for Barry Bonds, as a person.

However, as an athlete, he’s perhaps one of the best baseball players of this – or any generation.

Recently, I went out to San Francisco and caught the All-Star events out there. Knowing I was going to be in the epicenter of the whole Barry Bonds and BALCO hoopla, I always took a moment to ask what Giants fans felt about him.

For the most part, most fans out there loved him with great reverence and it was irrelevant to them whether or not he cheated or not. They appreciate a guy, no matter how he was perceived by the media, as one who was loyal, brought them great joy and more importantly has made history time and time again in front of their eyes.

Well, unless you have been away from the television or the internet, Barry Bonds is on the cusp of breaking Hank Aaron’s all-time home run record. In that respect, most fans outside of San Francisco and even the commissioner of baseball, Bud Selig, are looking towards the historic moment with incredible disdain & indifference.

Most ask themselves, how could the sport let Bonds who at times could be ornery, rude and bitter allow him to approach the record that the larger-than-life Babe Ruth held once and the dignified and quiet Hank Aaron currently holds?

The moment is fast approaching us; however, I am going see he forest from the trees on this issue. It may be a little different from what you have heard in the media, but it’s what I feel.

Simply, there are other forces than Barry Bonds at play.

In my heart of hearts, if drug use in sports really wanted to be stopped, it would have been done long, long ago. If baseball, much less any other sport wanted to stop illicit use of drugs, then Bug Selig and others in position of authority would have the gumption to style the drug testing program held by the Olympics.

To be even more blunt, Bud Selig, baseball and even the players themselves could have nipped the problem in the bud, long, long ago; however, are the three reasons why.

The answer is simple: Money, ratings and power. Now, if fans were really that upset over drug use, they'd stay away and demand changes to occur. We still pay X amounts of dollars to see our heroes play & we’ll go to the ends of the earth to get an autograph and get close to our favorite athletes.

Again, someone remind me, how long has cheating been in sports, most especially baseball?

I have opined if Barry Bonds, McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro were using performance enhancing drugs, then some of fringe and every day players have to be doing it.

Human beings will do they need to get ahead, and athletes are no exception. Cheating has been going on since the beginning of time and we live in a culture that actually rewards infamy.

We are all that surprised that cheating still goes on, and is widely accepted?

On Friday, Milwaukee had a sold out crowd to see if Barry Bonds would make history. Every time at the plate, there was a reaction – whether fans booed or cheered.

Thus, this is why were are here at this point with Barry Bonds and why the public is reacting with such indifference and anger towards the home run record.

We live in a different time – the world is not vanilla anymore. Back when Hank Aaron broke the record, there were three main networks; however, now there are hundreds, and you can turn the internet, satellite radio and 24-hour news for the latest and greatest in the world. These days, we now reward infamy; case in point – Paris Hilton or Michael Vick.

To be quite honest, a friend and harked back to when Charles Barkley asserted, “Athletes are not role models, parents should be…”

I have now stopped looking at athletes are role models as heroes or icons, & instead I look at them as entertainers. I see athletes today like wrestlers, who have a persona that may or may not be real, but I look at them as what they are – human beings paid to play a kid’s sport and do it the best they can.

To be honest, does anyone care about track and field along with cycling except during the Olympics and the Tour de France?

Does anyone get on Lance Armstrong for winning 7 straight Tour de Frances, although there having been allegations of him in the media doping?

This is why I’m indifferent to the home run now, it’s not solely because of Barry Bonds – thus, world is different, or morals are different, and more importantly, it’s become harder to decipher the truth from reality. I am not defending Bonds in any way for cheating; however, we need to separate the forest from the trees to get down to the truth.

When we stop having a Pollyannaish view of athletes, we can finally see sports for what is in today’s America – entertainment, and a way to forget our problems for a few hours.

Let’s stop seeing athletes as role models, but rather those who served country in the armed forces or law enforcement, teachers, doctors, our parents, and those who really do something tangible for the world and stop getting our emotions so wrapped up in the home run chase.

2 comments:

tws392000 said...

Great comment on Barry Bonds and athletes as role models. Sports is a reflection of society it has been said, and we now know that our athletic "heroes" can be and are just as flawed as regular persons. They are no different just because they have a talent for playing a sport and being well compensated for their efforts.

As for Barry Bonds, I will appreciate his achievement when the record finally falls; but I'm not too sure he will be as proud of it as he could have been given what he has been through to get to that point. He may have used performance enhancing substances and he may be a jerk; but it still is quite a feat.

The Lady said...

Good post. I think that all these ill-feelings towards Bonds stem from the fact that he's not a nice person, he's not a "good guy." It really has nothing to do with steroids. If a player people considered to be a "good guy" was about to break this record and it was thought that he took steroids, no one would care. Everyone would be embracing him for what he was doing.

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