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Barry Bonds Hits His 715th Home Run

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Barry Bonds hit his 715th home run Sunday afternoon at home against the Colorado Rockies right-hander Byung-Hyun Kim. Interesting how these home runs have all come at home, in the Bay Area.

This translates into about 630 or so non-steroid home runs.

ESPN’s coverage of this “event” was notable in that their in-studio baseball guys, John Kruk and Howard Reynolds, decided to ignore the issue of Bonds’ cheating and paid homage to Major League Baseball’s biggest fake, fraud, and phony since Mark McGwire passed Roger Maris. Kruk has always been a no-nonsense kind of player and analyst, but when faced with having to comment on Bonds’ 715, Kruk suddenly turned into a gameshow host, congratulating Bonds and saying what a great achievement this was.

Reynolds was worse, as he said that 715 was a lot of home runs to hit no matter how a guy did it. In-studio host Dave Revsine –- to his credit — brought up the “black cloud” that has been hovering over Bonds, to which Reynolds replied that the black cloud existed because of the media talking about the black cloud. Huh?

You would think that that two guys who played the game the way it was meant to be played, and guys who have always been straight with us, wouldn’t have been such pant loads and cop outs when discussing Bonds and his illegitimate home run total.

This is a great illustration of how, when the chips are down, the players stick together. Shame on Kruk and Reynolds. We deserve better than this.

The vast majority of fans across the nation –- at ballgames, on radio talk shows, in letters to the editor and on the Internet -– have made it clear in no uncertain terms that they hold Bonds’ home run total in low regard. But ESPN decided to ignore the prevailing mood of the fans and chose to pump up this “finishing second” event.

We’re not buying it. To hell with Barry Bonds. There’s an old saying that applies here, “Don’t piss down my neck and tell me that it’s raining.”

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About Sal Marinello

  • Adam Hoff

    I would argue that hitting 715 should and would have been a fairly ho-hum moment even without the “steroid cloud” hanging over everything. It’s not a record, after all. I suppose there is a symbolic importance in passing the greatest power hitter of baseball lore, but Aaron still looms at the top. Usually in baseball, much is made of numerical milestones (300 wins, 3,000 hits, taking a run at .400, etc.) or actual records. Clemens has taken a few bows for passing certain guys on all-time lists, but I would never expect a huge thing to be made out of reaching second.

    Maybe not though. Perhaps the legend of Ruth was such that had a “clean” player come through and hit 715, we would be going bananas, but I just don’t think so.

    As for Reynolds and Kruk, I think they were taking the “yeah, its obvious that there is a taint because of the roids, but 715 is still a lot of freaking home runs” stance, but it just didn’t come across well. I blame poor articulation more than some sort of flawed belief system. Plus, you know how the sports media is these days, as soon as one view becomes conventional, it is time to go the other way. I remember when the Colts blew that game against the Steelers and the anti-Manning columns came flowing out of the gates on Monday. Bu Wednesday, the anti-anti-Manning columns were running rampant, with people taking shots at Tom Brady of all people. There is such an action-reaction turnaround in sports today that it doesn’t surprise me in the least to see people take Bonds’ side (sort of). They are tired of all the Bonds bashing so they go the other way one it. Sadly, this has become the way things are done. It is not about getting a message out that has merit or that makes a valid point, but rather simply about trying to say something novel that stands out in a sea of words.

    Anyway, sorry to leave such a long comment. Better to do this though than bore everyone with a blog post about it!

  • sal m

    there is quite a difference between bashing a quarterbacks for having a bad game or two, and for bashing a guy who has cheated to move up in the record books.

    you can’t recognize a guy for his accomplishments when he cheated to get there.

    of the two kruk seemed more uncomfortable having to say nice things. perhaps these baseball analyists were dreading being the guys on air when bonds hit 715 just for this reason, that they’d have to make nice.

  • Matthew T. Sussman

    Well consider this Sal — Krukster and Reynolds were players during part of Bonds’ early career. And they’re not speaking out against Bonds. Players during certain eras have a cliquish feel to them. Cory Lidle and Curt Schilling are anomalies in today’s baseball world.

    Even Joe Morgan seemed to have a shred of sympathy.

    In contrast, Karl Ravech and Steve Phillips were a bit harsher on Big McLargeHuge, and that’s one sportscaster and one GM.

  • Hairynipples

    In the end Bond’s so called “coincidental” association with the whole Balco/Anderson news story is well documented for future generations to judge on their own the merit of his achievements. This works for most intelligent beings, so who cares what other dopes may think? I wasn’t even alive when Maris broke Ruth’s record, but the fact of it being completed in more games played never let me think it was an achievement beyond what Ruth did. I rationalized it that way and forever will.

  • sal m

    yes i agree oh rational one…

    but your advanced ability for critical thinking is a concept that’s foreign for way too many sports fans.

    like the people who cheer for bonds, or giambi.

  • Hairynipples

    that is why we have you, oh take them to the mat guy.

  • Adam Hoff

    I’m not comparing a bad game from a quarterback to cheating, I am saying that the current trend in sports media is to “say something different” and to “go against the flow.” Obviously, those two issues couldn’t be further apart, but the same thing happened in each case: everyone took shots and then people started breaking from the pack to take shots at the people wo were taking shots (if that makes sense). In other words, once the Barry talk reached a certain level, it opened up an avenue for writers to be “edgy” by defending Bonds, or criticizing the media, or whatever new angle might have existed.

    I think it is more likely that Kruk and Reynolds were just uncomfortable covering the event, or that they were sticking with a fellow player, but I think it is possible that the “hey, maybe I will defend Bonds” idea felt like a novel concept, so they went that direction.

    Just watch though. Next time a ton of universally negative or positive press comes flooding out about a player, you will see that within a few days, people start taking the other side, no matter how absurd or bizarre that “other side” of the argument might be. It is really pretty amazing.