Whether Major League Baseball fans like it or not, this will be the year for Barry Bonds. Going into 2007 Bonds needed 70 RBIs for 2000, 149 hits for 3000, and of course, 22 home runs to surpass the hallowed mark of 755 set by Hank Aaron. It's just a pity that Bonds needed steroids to get there, people don't like him, and nobody wants to see him break any records.
You can't blame fans for being smart enough to hate Bonds. They have read the book Game of Shadows. They have followed this sordid tale of steroid use and distribution, tax evasion and probably perjury. They have been deceived on the field and declined autographs off it. At Tuesday's San Francisco home opener, there was no mention of record-breaking in the pre-game festivities, no special features in the game program, and no Bonds on the cover. Everyone is already done with him.
But then again, you can't blame Bonds alone for all this mess. For years steroid use was rampant and legal in Major League baseball because there was no testing. He didn't create BALCO and invent "the cream" and "the clear," Victor Conte did. Maybe Bonds didn't knowingly take steroids, because he never asked what was being smeared on his and Gary Sheffield's bodies at the time. As far as the fans are concerned, well, using steroids tends to make people irritable, so Bonds can't be expected to hit home runs and be nice enough to sign a bunch of autographs too, can he?
Under the circumstances, Barroid is doing quite well. He's not in prison, like his personal trainer Greg Anderson. The positive amphetamine test last year that he blamed on teammate Mark Sweeney amounted to nothing. The knees and elbows feel good, the possible use of Human Growth Hormone is difficult to detect, and a one-year $15.8 million contract is enough to buy some bigger hats and feed his children. So, it's time to go out and break records.
If the majority of fans had their way, though, Bonds would already be retired. With his being self-centered, it is understandable that he wanted to eclipse the single-season home run record of Mark McGwire, and the mark of 714 set by Babe Ruth at a time when blacks were not allowed to play. But where is his respect for the game and fellow African-American Hank Aaron? Retiring without the home run record would not have been an admission of drug use, and 755 would remain as the rightful standard. It's a shame.
Division winners - The New York Mets, St. Louis, San Diego, the New York Yankees, Minnesota and Oakland.
Wild Cards - Boston and Atlanta.
World Series - There have been six different champions in the last six World Series, and a Wild Card team has participated in six out of seven. The New York Mets defeat Boston.
Home run 756 for Bonds - His birthday is in July, so the pick is at home July 27th against Florida.
The National Hockey League playoffs begin next week, but as of Wednesday evening, none of the match-ups were set. Predictions on the first round will come next week.
Stanley Cup - Anaheim defeats Buffalo.
Frozen Four - Odds are available for the championship in college hockey, being played tomorrow, in St. Louis.