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.