Tuesday, August 07, 2007

I Hate When They Pull Him in the Sixth with a One-Run Lead

As of today, August 7, 2007, the all-time home run champion for a career is Barry Bonds. Not:
  • Hank Aaron
  • Babe Ruth
  • “Barry Bonds *

It is Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants.

To restate: The person who has hit the most home runs in a major league baseball career is Barry Bonds. I should also point out that the person who has hit the most home runs in a major league baseball season is Barry Bonds.

I mention this because of all the messages posted to the Giants newsgroup, and others, from people who refuse to acknowledge Bonds’ accomplishments. To them I say that the True Career Home Run Champion is not Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, or anybody other than Barry Bonds, and that the True Season Home Run Champion is not Mark McGwire, Roger Maris, or Babe Ruth. Right there in the record books, atop both lists, is Barry Bonds, with 73 for a season, 756—and counting, I hope—for a career.

One can whine all one wants about steroids or other performance-enhancing substances. I say, for the umptieth time, that those substances do not enhance performance. They may enable one to enhance one’s performance by allowing that person to work out more, and more frequently—i.e., to work harder. It’s funny that Bonds is so commonly called a cheater, accused, essentially, of achieving his particular level of greatness “without having to work for it.” Drugs or no, the dude probably works harder than any other ballplayer.

The title of this post refers to the fact that after the home run (which Bonds hit in the bottom of the fifth inning of what had been a 4-4 tie against the Nationals), a shot of the dugout showed Bonds and Bruce Bochy “discussing” something (as opposed to exchanging high-fives or something), and then, after Bonds took his position in the top of the sixth, Bochy came out and pulled a double-switch, getting starter Barry Zito out of there as well. I thought that kind of stank. I really wanted to see Bonds come to the plate again, maybe hit 757, and maybe 758. I mean, what else do Giants fans have to look forward to this year? Anyway, the title also came about because of Bochy’s tendency to pull Bonds after the seventh or eighth inning of a one-run game, which would be great if Bonds’ spot was unlikely to come up again, but it always seems as though it does… and instead of Bonds batting, we’d get Fred Lewis or somebody. Whee.

Meanwhile, Matt Murphy, the guy who came up with the ball Bonds hit is gonna be one wealthy individual. (I assume he’s gonna sell the ball, anyway.) At first glance, he looked a lot like my friend Pat, but then I noticed that the baseball jersey Murphy wore bore some other team’s logo—Pat would never wear such a thing—and Pat’s got about a 15-year head start on Murphy in terms of losing his hair.


  1. Ya shoulda took me up on that offer to go to the game :-).

  2. Yeah, I was hoping maybe he'd hit #757, a 3-run shot in the bottom 9th to win by 1, or maybe a game winning triple that takes an Ichiro bounce and complete his cycle. Wouldn't *that* be something, hitting #756 *and* hit for the cycle?! It's just not right to pull him tonight in so many level.

    And I think it sucks that the ball wasn't "caught" by a Giants fan. I hope he's at least not a Bonds hater.

  3. While I agree with your points, I think Bochy wanted to give Bonds another curtain call, which he then got. My friend I was at the game with was saying the same thing, he shoulda had the chance to hit for the cycle. Ah well, they probably would have walked him!

    As for the ball not being caught by a Giants' fan, what about the one Bonds' HR ball (was it 660?) that was caught by TWO Giants' fans? Remember how that one turned out? *s* I think one of them is still paying his legal fees.

    I was there tonight. Over the last few seasons, I've witnessed several of Barry's milestones. I can tell my future grandkids (actually my future wife's grandkids *g*) that I saw Aaron hit #715 (on TV) and Barry hit #756.

    It's moments like tonight that make me proud to be a Giants' fan and especially glad I haven't followed my boyhood team the Dodgers (gasp!) in 25 years. *g*

  4. Steven:

    Well, I couldn’t work it out logistically—which means I would have had to walk to the trains station—but I’m definitely okay with having seen The Moment on TV, several times. My wife, of course, had just stepped out of visual range of the broadcast when Bonds made contact.

    Meanwhile, I had a great time, as always, visiting with you this past Friday, and it was great to meet your son. I attended that game with my son and wife—who, of course, had just stepped out of visual range of the action when Bonds made contact.

    Plus, thanks for letting everybody in the section know that I blew off tickets for the 756 game.

  5. Lince:

    So far I haven’t heard anything about the guy being a Bonds hater, but I did hear rumors that the bidding had reached no higher than about three grand on eBay....

  6. Todd:

    Yeah, I figured Bonds had gone out for the sixth solely for a curtain call, which is kind of cheesy—and something you just don’t do unless you’re way ahead or way behind. Plus, as you know, lately when Bochy removes Bonds with any kind of lead, the bullpen will give it up, and Kevin Frandsen or Dave Roberts will be batting in Bonds’ spot in the ninth.

    Meanwhile, if I remember right, the ball you mention was number 71 in 2001.

    I shudder to imagine what might have happened to me if I’d been the guy who caught some important home-run ball at AT&T Park. Would I live to tell the tale?

    By the way, you need to retroactively disavow any childhood Dodger partisanship.

  7. Wells said, Gregg. I feel the same.