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Friday, May 5, 2006

The Bonds Of Hate

So, by now it’s clear that Barry Bonds will pass Babe Ruth on the all-time home run list. It’s not so much a matter of “if,” but “when.” A lot of people are sad about this, not the least of which this writer.

First of all, why is this upsetting to me? The whole steroids thing is a problem, first of all. Some commentators, such as Colin Cowherd, make the argument that steroids in baseball aren’t bad. It makes the game more lively, fans come to the games more, chicks dig the long ball, everyone is happy.

Here’s the problem, though:

Sports are a microcosm of life. That’s why we put so much effort into them, and we care so much, and love it when a “lunch-pail” team wins the titles. (Let’s ignore the fact that “lunch-pail” teams usually are getting paid far more that you ever will.) We love it when people’s hard work pays off. It’s what life should be all about it, isn’t it?

So, when people bypass the whole “hard work” phase and get the benefits that accompany hard work, we get upset. It shouldn’t work that way to us. They should have to fight and scrap to get to the top. Think of Hank Aaron, for instance. He fought for every single one of those home runs. He battled racism, he battled the looming legacy of the Babe, he battled people who didn’t want him to make it.

Whether or not performance-enhancing drugs were legal (or ignored) for Bonds doesn’t enter into the equation. We don’t want to see someone win when all they have to do is take a pill. It’s not fair to those who don’t, and makes us all feel a little worse.

So, then, the second issue. What should be done in the meantime? We know Bonds will get the record. How do we handle this? Here are a few suggestions:

1 – Encourage pitchers to throw at Barry Bonds’ head. This has a few drawbacks, not the least of which is a roid-raged Bonds charging the mound and eating the pitcher on live television. However, pitchers can defend this practice by pointing to his enlarged skull and claiming that “is impossible to miss his head.”

2 – Bonds is fueled by “boos.” He loves to hear the crowd hate him. He loves to hear the crowd love him. So, here is an equitable solution. Every Bonds at-bat, go to the concession stand, or the bathroom, visit a local park or museum, plant a tree, or read a book. (I recommend “Game of Shadows.”) Anything but pay attention to Bonds. You can picture Bonds screaming like a petulant child and stomping his feet for attention, can’t you? Think of the image. Priceless.

3 – Write a whiny screed about how Barry Bonds is ruining the sport and post it on your blog. Do nothing else.

So, you see, there are many different ways of dealing with Barry Bonds’ chase for one of the most hallowed records in baseball history. Remember, though, that sports should be a cause for celebration, not for anger. Whatever happens with Bonds, we should all applaud like the good sports we are and wave our hands in enjoyment.

Whether or not we will wave our hands with all our fingers up is your call.