Monday, April 10, 2006

Bonds and the Bambino; I won't be celebrating

One week into the '06 season and Barry Bonds is no closer to passing Babe Ruth than he was on opening today. I heard some buzz today on his anemic start to the season, batting about .167 and no homers. Kornheiser and Wilbon declared his career in decline today on PTI.

I've never fretted about the eclipsing of sports records. As long as the games are played, athletes will have their marks passed. It's a part of the game. Bonds approaching ascension as homerun king has changed that. I really hate to see him pass Ruth and threaten Hank Aaron's all-time mark. The steroids cloud bothers me, but Bonds's self-pitying press conferences turn me off the most. He's just not approaching the record like a man, at least in my book. Not even a tip of the hat to the greatness of Babe, as far as I know.

Even if Bonds caught Ruth straight up, there will never be another Babe Ruth. He is the father of the homerun. Before Ruth, the long ball was an insignificant part of the game. For instance, in 1918 Ruth led the AL with 11 HRs while splitting time between the mound and outfield for the Red Sox. After going to the New York, the Yanks lived and died by Ruth's output. He wasn't a choirboy either. He missed a third of the '22 season for a series of suspensions, this one the most entertaining:

In May, he threw dirt in an umpire's eyes, took off after a heckler in the stands, and when the crowd booed him, he stood on the dugout roof shaking his fist and yelling, "You're all yellow!" Once again he was suspended.

My fascination with Ruth intensified two summers ago while roaming the lobby of the Menger Hotel in San Antonio. Ruth came to town a few times and stayed there. They have a couple of pictures hanging on the wall. In one Ruth is standing with San Antonio's minor league team. He towered over them, the tallest player may have reached Ruth's shoulders. He was a baseball giant in all ways. Sadly, he ended life as a pariah among the baseball leadership, never getting a managing job he wanted badly.

Bonds will heat up enough to pass the Sultan of Swat, but for the first time, I'll begrudge a player moving up a notch on a record list.

6 Comments:

Blogger sam's notes said...

I don't think anyone will be celebrating.

4/10/2006  
Blogger Joe Guarino said...

Ruth, of course, did have one advantage-- the right field outfield fence at the foul pole at Yankee Stadium, which I believe used to be about 290 feet.

But it struck me as I watched Smoltz pitch to Bonds this weekend-- would it not be great if the National League's pitchers all individually just said no, and refrained from giving him anything decent to hit.

4/10/2006  
Anonymous Brent said...

I cannot stand that bastard, Bonds. Apart from the fact that he is a leach on the National Pastime, he's a racist meathead who has tainted the game. I believe it was last season, he said he looked forward to putting the white guy behind him, like he has had to endure racism like Jackie Robinson or Hank Aaron. It would not hurt my feelings one bit if Roger Clemmons beaned him in the head with a high heater and ended this lughead's career.

4/10/2006  
Anonymous glenn said...

While much of the press has been over the top with Bonds, he's also had plenty of defenders among the talking heads. He's not handled the situation well at all.

He'll catch Ruth, but I don't think there's a guarantee he'll hold up physically or mentally enough to catch Hammerin' Hank.

4/11/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is an excellent blog. Keep it going.You are providing
a great resource on the Internet here!
If you have a moment, please take a look at my site.
Have a great week!

8/01/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is an excellent blog. Keep it going.You are providing
a great resource on the Internet here!
If you have a moment, please take a look at my site.
Have a great week!

8/01/2006  

Post a Comment

<< Home