Friday, June 8, 2007

Home Runs and Barry Bonds

King and Queen of America

Barry and Paris
Intriguing your games and play
Fame fades over time

Home runs matter in baseball and Barry Bonds is only 10 dingers from taking the honor of home run king away from Hank Aaron. Critics, including Aaron, denounce Bonds for his possible steroid use and bad form with reporters and fans. Gadabout cringes when he watches Bonds on TV, whining about the press, his injuries and life in general. He is not the man most fans identify with as the supreme ruler of the most coveted record in baseball. But so what? He is going to earn the record soon, and whether you are a fan or not, Bonds will be king. Being king will not be easy for Barry. His has a sorted history with the game, the commissioner has been walking a tightrope over alleged steroid use and Aaron doesn’t seem to like him much. It is not easy living at the top, just ask President Bush, he’ll tell you.

Bonds will achieve his goal very soon, but his reign will likely be short lived since there are a few active players nipping at his heels. Most notably is Alex Rodriguez. A Rod is only 32 years old, and if he plays through his 43 year like Bonds (maybe longer, perhaps 46), he’ll most likely shatter the record book. He already has 486 homers in his career and has chalked up 22 this year alone. If he can average just 30 a year, he’ll surpass Bonds by the 2017 season. 30 home runs a year is conservative, so look for A Rod grabbing the record by 2014.

Ken Griffey Jr. is often discounted in his quest to take the record, especially since he has been plagued by injuries since arriving in Cincinnati. But a critical look at the numbers shows that he has a shot. At 37, Griffey might have another 7 seasons left in his knees, and with 576 homers to his name, the goal is achievable. It would be a close call, so we’ll just have to keep an eye on his health and productivity. He has already hit 13 this year, so it is not unreasonable to assume he can produce 33 plus HRs a year in the near term.

It is easy to hate Barry Bonds, almost as easy as hating Paris Hilton. Both seem to have dodged our laws governing society and good order by way of their celebrity status. Bonds has posted the numbers through his God given talents, aided perhaps by modern science; and Paris, by birthright, seems to be above the law. No matter to either. Bonds will be king of baseball, and Paris will stay out of jail and remain the Queen of sex, drugs and bad behavior.

Bonds' glory will fade as others march up the record books, and Paris will gain weight and wrinkle. New kings and queens will replace them both over time. But for now their money and talent walk the talk, and most of us have neither, so let’s just sit back and enjoy the headlines.

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