Baseball isn’t a perfect world
June 28, 2007
Major League Baseball is unique from other sports in that numbers are so important. A player’s batting average, a pitcher’s earned run average and other statistics help define what kind of season they’ve had, and how their careers stack up against the greats of all time. Unfortunately, in this era of rampant steroid use, these numbers become very, very clouded.
As Barry Bonds approaches the most hallowed of all baseball records, the 755 home runs by Henry Aaron, MLB is redefining itself. It is significant what MLB does in the near and distant future regarding new records, if anything at all.
I don’t blame Hank Aaron one bit for not wanting to be a part of Barroid’s record-breaking celebration, because he’s being cheated. But Commissioner Bud Selig most definitely should be there when Aaron’s record is broken. Under his administration team owners like himself knew about and turned a blind eye toward dangerous performance-enhancing drugs.
The way Bonds started this season, it appeared that he was going to break Aaron’s record by the July 10 All-Star Game. With at least 22 home runs, and the game being played at home in San Francisco, he would have been honored for his so-called achievements. Now, with only four home runs since May 8 and still seven away from the record, he’s not going to get to 756 in time. If Bonds does not move up to third in the fan balloting, one huge mess will be avoided by not inviting him.
If Bonds somehow breaks the record by July 31, that would be intriguing because that is the trade deadline. With an aging Giants team hopelessly mired in last place, the high-priced Bonds is perfect trade bait, but not as long as he is filling seats at A T & T Park. Does another organization really want to trade good players for an old, fan-unfriendly malcontent like Barry Bonds? At his current rate of hitting home runs, he won’t make it by that time anyway, so the Giants will be stuck with him for the entire season.
Although it would have been impossible to imagine just a few years ago, even the Hall of Fame is now in question for the controversial Bonds. If the popular Mark McGwire couldn’t come close to being voted in, the hated Bonds might also be excluded. Of course Bonds is already prepared for that, currently having donated nothing to the Hall of Fame in the way of souvenirs.
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Yes, it will be very interesting to see how this all evolves. Presently there is no Olympic-style testing in MLB, so the use of Human Growth Hormone continues to go undetected. Many players are either lying about steroids, shutting up, or forgetting how to speak English, while Yankee Jason Giambi tells the truth and exposes himself to punishment. Evidence and grand jury testimonies are not being shared with the public. Milestones will be approached and surpassed, and the all-important record books will be forever questioned.
In a perfect world, players who took steroids would not be immortalized, their records would not be recognized, and MLB administrators and team owners would also be held equally accountable. Obviously, Major League Baseball is anything but a perfect world.
No, we’re not ready to talk about the National Football League yet. But to some handicappers it would be important to note that the Arena Football League playoffs are set to begin this afternoon. I can’t say that I’ve watched much AFL action this or any year, but I have noticed that Dallas posted a 15-1 record and finished with eight consecutive victories. The Desperadoes earned a bye this week and are my pick to win the title.
Also, the Canadian Football League season began yesterday, and is bettable in local sports books. Future bets are available, but there will be no prediction here.