Sunday, July 29, 2007

Setting the record straight

Well folks:
I've been purposely trying to avoid the subject because I'm not quite sure how I feel about it, but with Barry Bonds on the precipice of breaking Hank Aaron's career home run record (by the time you read this, Bonds may already be the new King of Swing) I feel it's my turn to chime in.
I would be the first to admit I have no personal knowledge of whether Bonds did or did not take steroids -- although the evidence surely points to it -- nor do I feel (like so many others) that when he does break the home run mark it would mark the end of civilization as we know it.
Before allegedly taking steroids Bonds was a first-ballot Hall of Famer. And he would have still been recognized as one of the all-time greats.
I will not, however, look at the record the same again the same way I've never looked at the single-season home run mark after Mark McGwire then Bonds broke the record.
Instead, I choose to remember those whose marks are no longer considered the gold standard.
I'm not old enough to have seen Aaron or Roger Maris play. My only visions of the two are the video clips of Aaron rounding the bases on his home run that broke Babe Ruth's mark and the movie "61" about Maris and Mickey Mantle's quest to break Ruth's single-season record.
From all accounts, however, the word most used to describe both Aaron and Maris was classy.
It's a real shame that there will always be an imaginary asterisk associated with the all-time home run record the same way there has been one in recent years with the single-season mark. So let's remember those great sluggers of the past who hit home runs when hitting home runs meant a whole lot more.
Until next time, take care and God bless.

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