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Checked and Balanced

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Bury Bonds? Hell no! Three away from sharing 714 home runs with Babe, four away from 715 – breathe easy on vacation. From now the moments are long, the days of wait are longer. And the day he gets there will be marked by few. Technically the order Hank-Babe-Barry will change forever and ironically robbing our cozy “will he won’t he” couch.

I don’t think he wakes up thinking 714. His eyes are set where it really matters – Hank Aaron’s 755. And he knows better than anybody, with his health buckling under two decades of baseball, 755 might as well turn out to be 7555.

Bash Bonds. Everyone who thinks can pick up a pen and write a couple of words — here I give you both — Bash Bonds.

The much anticipated season started with 708, an unassuming number, yet so close to 714. Close enough to bother a lot of people, ruffle a lot of minds. Bash Bonds – he is closing on Babe Ruth.

No, not just Babe. His legacy — the myth — the man who built the house of Yankees. Babe Ruth, the defining member of once all-white baseball era. Given the level playing field in 1920s, it is not a legacy anymore, instead it’s a simple matter of being second to Henry Louis Aaron.

For argument’s sake, switch the numbers of Hank and Babe. How many of you would seriously care about Bonds at 711, let alone putting in painful efforts to paint him black when his reputation is already charcoaled.

And when Bonds said the record is Aaron’s and Babe is the topic, he was spot on. Bonds never failed us. Give him that. If anything, he failed himself. To take it away is not my job, neither yours.

A mirror serves the purpose and Barry has one, I know. Let’s leave it at that.

For the rest of us: tune in for 712.

Don Ron Artest

He makes a difference. On the court . You cannot deny that. For reasons I quite don’t get, the reigning bad boy is routinely vilified for committing lesser troubles than many in the league.

Our own Sal Marinello thinks the league is better off without Ron Artest. All I want to say, Ron’s records appear exemplary compared to his fellow ballers who get involved in cases related to drugs, assault , rape , domestic violence – the list goes on.

Why single out Don Ron? Because the brand – bad boy Ron sells. Simple enough. He is labeled, tattooed forever. The league knows and the writers know that too. Get him and the message is sent. Period. The tag is there — so are the slights from every nook and corner — and a lot waiting for him to slip and not so much to watch him shut down a Kobe or a Tracy.

However, suggestions to deny him the right to play ball are simply absurd. The NBA rules are firmly in place. Stu Jackson loves them. David Stern loves them more. Let Ron play within the system and let the system take care of him.

We don’t take away books from a smart but disruptive student. Do we?

Beating the Bush

OK. You heard the story. I heard the story. With the draft just a couple of days from now, Reggie Bush is in the spotlight for all wrong reasons.

We already have our hands full with one Bush (in the White House). We didn’t ask for another.

So what’s wrong with Reggie Bush’s family staying for an year at a home worth close to a million? Nothing except the house is owned by someone who wished to build his fortune on Reggie.

The wish of Michael Michaels, the owner of the house, went unfulfilled. Reggie picked a different representative. Smart move there Reggie. You see, had it not been the case, you could now be looking for bigger troubles.

Did the Bush family pay rent? Perhaps. Perhaps not. We don’t know and Reggie won’t clarify.

If they did, was it equal to the market value? We don’t have answers either.

Should Reggie and USC be held responsible? Absolutely not.

I accept the theory Reggie never really paid serious attention to his parents moving to a new house. For him it was natural to assume an arrangement must have been worked out between Michael, who also happens to be a family friend, and his parents.

However the NCAA rules are pretty clear about “extra benefits.” He should have been careful. His parents should have known better. But that doesn’t make him unworthy of what he and the Trojans had accomplished. To penalize USC will be downright silly – they had no knowledge whatsoever.

Reggie is all set. Any unfavorable outcome of the ongoing investigations will not jeopardize his pro-career but leave a scar through no fault of himself. That will be unfortunate.

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  • sal m

    “And when Bond’s said the record is Aaron’s and Babe is the topic, he was spot on.”

    the problem is that in the past bonds has said he wanted to pass ruth because of the race issue.

  • I will come to the race factor that you mentioned. But before that let’s take a look at what Bonds said before 2003 all star game (verbatim from ESPN).

    “Willie’s number is always the one that I’ve strived for,” Bonds said before Tuesday’s All-Star Game.

    “And if it does happen, the only number I care about is Babe Ruth’s. Because as a left-handed hitter, I wiped him out. That’s it. And in the baseball world, Babe Ruth’s everything, right? I got his slugging percentage and I’ll take his home runs and that’s it. Don’t talk about him no more.”
    If there is any reason why Bonds wants to pass Babe Ruth – that would be it. Just like every baller wants to go past MJ – either topping him in points or Championships or his reputation as the greatest clutch player in history, not to mention simply the best player ever.

    Now for the race issue – quoted from an interview last year.

    Q. How much do you think the increased scrutiny comes from the fact that you’re about to pass Babe Ruth? Say you were 200 homers away from Babe, do you think it would be the same?

    BARRY BONDS: No. If I was a long way away, this would not be the same. Not at all.

    Q. Why do you think so much scrutiny comes ?

    BARRY BONDS: Because Babe Ruth is one of the greatest baseball players ever, and Babe Ruth ain’t black, either. I’m black. Blacks, we go through a little bit more. Unfortunately I said it, I’m not a racist, though, but I live in the real world. I’m fine with that. But Babe Ruth is one of the greatest baseball players ever to play the game of baseball. It’s an honor to even be here, you know what I mean?

    We don’t want to live in a racist world. Reality, however is otherwise. As much as I hate to say this, had Babe Ruth’s record sitting pretty with Bonds having no realistic chance to get there – the controversies would have been minimum.