Well, Barry Bonds finally did it. He has hit more home runs than any other major leaguer. More than the famed Babe Ruth and now more than the previous home run record holder, Hank Aaron.
The home run was just like any other home run. It cleared the fence and landed in the stands. It looked no different than the thousands of home runs hit in major league history. It was not a monster shot that traveled 550 feet, nor was it a home run that just cleared the fence or could have been a foul ball. It was just an ordinary looking home run. But, it is not so much this particular home run that is so controversial, but all the home runs combined by this one player.
For years now, rumors have run rampant that Barry Bonds used illegal performance enhancing drugs, known as steroids. Baseball has had special investigations into steroid use in baseball. It is alleged that many baseball players have used steroids. Jose Canseco wrote a book on steroid use in baseball and was highly criticized. This was written well before steroid use was an issue so much of it was dismissed. We as a society now know more about this alleged use, but not much. The baseball union is one of the toughest there is. The players are all unified and not talking. Even past players will not talk about it, other than to say they personally never saw anybody doing it.
A longtime childhood friend of Barry Bonds, Greg Anderson, sits in prison because he refuses to testify against Bonds. Anderson is a convicted steroids dealer and was part of BALCO.
So controversial is Barry Bonds, the commissioner of baseball, Bud Selig, did not attend the game. In fact, he was in New York, preparing to meet former Senator George Mitchell to discuss baseball’s ongoing investigation in steroids and performance enhancing drugs. The only place further away would have been out of the country. Selig’s meeting with Mitchell was to provide an update on the former Senator’s report, which is expected by the end of the year. The investigation, which is now 17 months old, has been set back by a lack of authority to coerce testimony or subpoena documents, so it is unclear how much more information it will reveal.
It was quite apparent that Selig is not happy about the whole Bonds affair. To his credit though, Selig called Bonds on the phone after the historic home run to congratulate him on his achievement. Additionally, MLB executive vice president of baseball operations Jimmie Lee Solomno and Hall of Famer Frank Robinson were on hand to represent the commissioner’s office.
Let’s be fair, Selig did witness in person home run 755 and also attended the games in Milwaukee when Barry was there, though Bonds did not hit any in Milwaukee. When Bonds hit 755, Selig watched on with an apparent lack of interest. He rose from his seat but did not applaud and seemed to be bored or irritated with the whole event.
Another slight against Bonds was that the now previous record holder, Hank Aaron, did not witness in person any of the record breaking home runs. Much like Selig though, Aaron had a tape message that played on the scoreboard after the home run was hit that congratulated Bonds on his personal achievement.
While many folks are not Barry fans, Barry himself was quite happy about finally hitting 756. After the game Bonds said, “It was absolutely the best, absolutely the best.” But when queried about the thought that the record will be tainted due to his alleged steroid use, Bonds said, “This record is not tainted at all. At all. Period. You guys can say whatever you want.”
While no one may ever prove Barry Bonds took steroids, this mark will always be surrounded in controversy. It may not have a visible asterisk next to it, but for millions of fans, it may as well have one.
By pogo_mm from Pixabay