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May 18, 2007

The Warrior

MLB must step up to plate


The media circus began along time ago, in 2001 to be exact, the year that Barry Bonds broke the single season home run record. He hit 73 that year, and was in most areas of the country, beloved for his great personal skill. When the whispers began of cheating, of steroids, baseball fans around the globe began to wonder about the credibility of the sport. I can’t help but find mixed feelings in this time. Major League Baseball could have stopped this run away train, they could have prevented people from not knowing what to think. What they need to do now is tell us whether they will cheer or not, whether we will cheer too. The most hallowed record in baseball history is at stake, so the weight now lays on MLB to save it’s, as well as the record’s, credibility.

It’s the most notable in all of sports, and only two men have ever really known the title of “Home run King.” Babe Ruth dominated the game in his day, ending his career with at the time, double more home runs than any player in history, at 714. About 40 years after the Babe retired, a man named Hank Aaron finally broke that record, ending his illustrious career with 755 home runs. Those two men have for years shared the spotlight as the greatest home run hitters of all time. Many men have hit a lot of home runs in a series of years, like Mike Piazza or Ken Griffey Jr., but few have been able to be consistent home run threats like Ruth, Aaron and now Bonds. While Bonds’ cred- ibility may be in question, you cannot doubt at all the longevity of his greatness.

Before Bonds was the power hitter he is known as today, he was one of the most dynamic players in the game. There are few players whose statistics can mirror the kind of numbers he put up in his early days. The 40 home run, 40 stolen base and possibly 100 RBI seasons he produced were spectacular, MVP winning.

Actually the seven MVPs he’s won over his long career lead the all time list. The thing is, despite the fact that I want to hate Barry Bonds, I can’t help be drawn to his loner persona. He refuses to be bullied or prodded by the media or fans, and has hardly ever changed the way he acted to please us. Barring the incident where he cross-dressed for a Giant’s themed “American Idol” and had a short- lived reality TV show on ESPN, Bonds has been a relatively low-key guy, rarely giving the media anything to work with. While you can never forget the fact he was an adulterer (although that rarely goes mentioned), you have to think that this guy

can put MLB in its place.

Major League Baseball has at this point never called Barry Bonds a cheater. They have not said that his records will have an asterisk next to them. I can’t help but won- der when MLB is actually going to step up to the plate and do something about this whole mess. Steroids have ruined not only the player’s credibility, but the credibility of the sport. This problem lies not on the player’s shoulders, but on that of MLB, who have done nothing to alleviate the fans mistrust. MLB could have ended the whole circus long ago, with mandatory drug testing from the time it was available. Would the players’ union fight back, call it invasion of privacy, yes, of course, that’s its job, but it is MLB’s job to get back into the batter’s box, even when their down 0-2 in the count.

I’m sick and tired of hearing about the investigation into steroid use, and the ques- tioning of former and current players. What’s done is done. Enough has been said. What MLB needs to do is move on, allow the fans to move on. Bud Selig and his motley crew have struck out more than their fair share of times. What they need to do is take the control out of the media’s hands, which will spin anything to make a headline. They need to say, “We will celebrate when Barry Bond’s break’s Hank Aaron’s record, not because we like Barry, not because we think it’s right, but because it is necessary.”

Is everyone going to know Bonds for the lying cheat he was? No doubt, because there is no way a good fan will ever let the up and coming fans forget it. You don’t need an asterisk next to the 755 plus home runs Bond’s will hit, because it won’t be necessary. I’ll tell you, my little brother is going to know Bond’s didn’t earn the record, I’ll make sure, and so will everyone. It doesn’t matter what Bonds will end with, or where the homer will be hit or who he’ll hit it off, the ink of those newspaper’s will fade away with time. What you’ve got to ask yourself is: Are you going to stand up and clap for what Bonds has done? Or are you going to stay seated, shaking your head, wondering where it all went wrong. I’ll probably be somewhere in between, making sure that I give my respects to the new king, while wishing in the back of my mind I’d never reached this position as a fan or person, that MLB hadn’t let me reach this point. The home run record loses a bit of its shine, its luster, but I’ve got no doubt someone will make us all forget this mess MLB never really cleaned up. Let’s just hope it’s not Albert Pujols, because that’s a whole other can of worms.

Nisky Scoreboard

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