May 29 - He's Barry, Barry Proud
Barry Bonds turned into one today, sent it about 445 feet into the stands, and
passed Babe Ruth for #2 on the all-time home run list.
Barry was all business, although it looked to me like he was happier hitting
#714 than the one that put him past the Sultan of Swat. He's kind of surly
anyhow, but he didn't grab his testicles or anything. He got mad applause from
his fans in San Francisco, who have generally been pretty nice to him ("nice"
meaning they don't throw syringes at him).
Old friend Byung Hyun Kim served up the tater, a 90 mph heater that Barry got
all BALCO on. It landed on a platform, before rolling to a guy who was- ironically- using the Barry
at-bat to beat the line at the hot dog stand. He can sell the ball for a fortune, although he could also
just give it to the guy who hit it. Catching famous home run balls is a sort of fan lottery that came up
during the McGwire/Sosa homer war, and McGwire's 62nd home run ball sold for a cool million to the
guy who does the comic book Spawn.
Barry got some love from his son, and did the obligatory hat tip to his peeps in the crowd. It is sort of
surreal, given the brouhaha surrounding Barry's use of steroids. I'm happy for Barry that he did it at
home, rather than somewhere that a fan might run out onto the field and stab him in the neck with a
hypodermic needle full of pure testosterone. Nothing insane happened, much to the relief of good
people almost everywhere.
How much help were the roids? Barry was a top notch hitter when he was lithe and limber, although
the goofy homer toals didn't come until the introduction of the Big Head Barry Doll shortly after Bonds
got into Chemistry. Was he essentially gaining the production boost that comes with using an
Most of us will never know. It's not firewater or marijuana, that a goodly portion of us have messed
around with. A small % of our population uses these drugs, with most of them being the weightlifter
type that were pretty strong to begin with. My job wouldn't be that enhanced if I suddenly had great
strength, although it'd be fun to smack people around and stuff. Maybe only Barry knows, although
Ratty, Sosa, and Big Mac can probably make a pretty good guess.
Lots of players get high, pound booze, sex up groupies, or gamble wildly at Vegas. Does the
relaxation that a guy like Robert Parish gained from smoking lots of chron give him special powers to
the degree that Barry's roids did? Parish played till he was like 70.
Mickey Mantle liked to booze it up, and he certainly never had people throwing hypodermic needles at
him. The game was fun to him, and he sure looked a lot happier than Barry does. Ironically again...
they were abusing roughly the same internal organs with their drugs of choice.
Babe Ruth never batted against a black player. Brothers quickly came to elite status in every sport
they've tried- although they have not yet chosen to dominate hockey. If I could eliminate 15% of the
population, my stats would improve... especially if the 15%ers were the ones who were really good at
But Babe never did a steroid in his life- the time he would have needed to spend at the gym would no
doubt have interfered with his Happy Hour schedule, especially during Prohibition. His reputation is
cherished, even if he got a far greater performance boost than Bonds did.
Henry Aaron seems to be the only one a fan can trult trust- he did it clean, against all comers. If Barry
wanted to retire as the ultimate hero, the only thing he can do is step up to bat for the 755... then lay
the bat down and retire, leaving the record of the always-classy pioneer that was Hammerin' Hank
Aaron to be the ultimate pinnacle.
If he does that, baseball is saved. Kids will wonder who the greatest slugger was, and they'll learn
about how Aaron helped smash the color line in a classy manner. If he doesn't, kids will grow up
learning that the best slugger of all time was basically chemicalized like a friggin' one man army.
It's Barry's world to save now... we're just living on it. The public perception of America's Pastime may
just rest in the hands of a philandering musclehead with a testosterone-fueled chip on his shoulder.