After Barry Bonds shattered Hank Aaron’s career homerun record in 2007 and everyone knew he was using performance enhancing drugs, I never really bought in to the fact that the homerun record needed an asterisk next to it.
Though it was wrong for Bonds to use PEDs, it still took a great swing to accomplish it. However, the shame that he will carry as a man, because of fans and likely the Baseball Hall of Fame selection committee, will far exceed anything puncuation can do to him.
Because of all that surrounded the chase for the record, I had to look up the year Bonds became the all-time homerun king. In fact, I can’t even tell you how many he hit in his career. I think it was 760-something.
With all that’s happened in baseball the last two decades, I’m in a sense desensitized to most things. I’m comfortably numb.
“Barry Bonds Breaks Babe Ruth’s All-Time HomeRun Record” … PEDs.
“Lance Armstrong Beats Brain and Lung Cancer and Wins Tour De France Seven-Straight Times” … PEDs.
I’m sure there will be more to come. I’m sure I’m even forgetting some instances. That’s my point – it’s a mess.
But with less than two weeks to go in the regular season, I have great excitement like I did the night Cal Ripken Jr. broke Lou Gehrig’s record for consecutive games played. Even similar to when Edgar Martinez doubled down the left field line against the Yankees to score Joey Cora and Ken Griffey Jr. in extra innings to send the Mariners to their first ever ALCS appearance October 8th, 1995.
Those were amazing moments in baseball history. The picture of a laughing Griffey at the bottom of a pile at home plate will always stay with me, as well as Ripken shaking hands with fans and tipping his cap with the brick warehouse in right field painting the scene at Camden Yards. They were iconic moments.
Bonds and company should have had iconic moments in history, but because something inside drove them to make the decisions that they did, they exist as icons to only a few and not the masses.
Miguel Cabrera is the current leader in batting average and RBI in the American League with .329 and 133, respectively. He his second behind Josh Hamilton in homeruns with 42 by only one dinger, putting him in prime position to be first player since Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 to win the triple crown.
I’m genuinely excited about this and this is something that baseball needs. Game 6 of last year’s World Series was one of those “this needed to happen” moments as well. It’s an electric feeling that brings people together and is one of those, “Where were you when…” moments. Players have been close to doing this in the past, but never this close.
I was beginning to doubt I’d ever see something like that in my lifetime. But with Miggy at the plate, anything is possible.
I’m not even a Detroit Tigers fan, I’m an M’s guy. But I’m a fan baseball and its history. Even if he did use performance enhancing drugs, which I’m praying to Honus Wagner that he didn’t, it’s hard to produce those kinds of numbers in a season.
In fact all but two, Paul Hines (1878) and Tip O’Neill (1887), of the 14 players who have accomplished the feat before Cabrera possibly could, are hall of fame ballplayers. How Rogers Hornsby Ted Williams ever did it twice in a career is beyond me, but that’s a whole different bottle of wax.
The point is, this could be a redeeming moment for baseball. With the NFL having gone through it’s replacement official hiccups in the first three weeks of the season and an NHL lockout that doesn’t appear is going to end soon, Major League Baseball can launch itself back into the “What is Right” of American sports.
Something Gary Bettman will never know the feeling of… Boom! Roasted!