Baseball might have the biggest collection of dumb, smart people that I’ve ever seen.
How else can you explain a supposed group of intellectuals gathering together to determine if baseball, the sport, should truck around the country over the next month or so waiting for Barry Bonds to hit five more home runs?
What should baseball do about Bonds and his historic achievement?
NOT acknowledge it? Sure, that makes a lot of sense. While every newspaper and major media outlet in the country splashes Bonds across the front page or makes him the lead story, Major League Baseball will offer this: “Jake Peavy threw a 2-hitter last night in San Diego’s 3-1 win at Atlanta.”
What’s baseball to do? Put Bonds on bullet point #3 of the MLB.com front-page and say, “Oh, yeah, the all-time home run record was set last night in (insert city here) by Barry Bonds.” ??
I guess the head honchos at MLB figure if THEY don’t acknowledge Barry’s historic belt over someone’s right field fence, maybe we’ll all drop the notion that the game’s most celebrated home-run king – Hank Aaron – has been usurped by a dope fiend.
But the joke isn’t on Bonds. In fact, he has Bud Selig figured out far better than Selig has Bonds figured out. Did you hear him on Monday night at the home run derby? “I don’t really even know what Bud Selig does. Does anyone know what he does?”
No, Barry, we don’t.
The joke, as it almost always is in baseball, is on the owners. They hired this used car salesman and he’s been handcuffed by this Bonds fiasco worse than Jon Knott chasing down a fly ball in left field at Camden Yards. Why the owners didn’t want to spend real money and get a real executive is beyond me, since they all have more money than they’ll ever be able to spend in 5 lifetimes. Instead, they went on the cheap and gave their prized executive position to Felix Unger. And now, they’re paying for it.
Far be it from me to ever endorse or support anything Bonds has done, but he has handled the last year or two much more professionally than the baseball folks at MLB. While they continue to fit Jason Giambi with a noose, guys all over baseball (we have one or two in Baltimore) have shed weight faster than Lindsay Lohan. What did Eric Gagne do with that 50 pounds he used to have, donate it to some little league in Arlington, Texas as part of a charity auction? Bonds, for all the scrutiny and triple-review he’s been subject to, has said nothing…and when he does speak, he’s generally abrasive, so why bother listening? But the fact is that Bonds has handled this whole ordeal in a much tidier fashion than baseball has dealt with it.
Look, we all KNOW the guy used performance enhancing drugs. If you’re one of the 2% of the people who still offer that limp excuse of, “he’s never tested positive, so how do we REALLY know what he did?”, all I can say is “the world needs fools, so keep on thinking whatever you want to think…after all, someone has to buy the mood ring, right?”
The issue hovering over Barry Bonds really isn’t about what he did, or didn’t do. It’s about how everyone out there is going to treat him on the days following home run #756. And he should be treated with the same dignity and/or enthusiastic support that Gaylord Perry was provided on his induction day in the Hall of Fame.
Gaylord Perry is a CONFIRMED cheater. He’s a cheating, spit-ball throwing scam-artist. Yet he’s celebrated by many as one of the game’s legendary figures and his financial security is in large part tied directly to that bust on display in Cooperstown. But he’s a cheater. Why wasn’t he condemned like Bonds? Is it because Perry was a good ole’ boy…a guy everyone liked…a player that didn’t draw attention to himself? Was it because he’s white? Or did we just not care enough back in the ’70’s and 80’s?
Bonds deserves to be recognized as the guy who hit more home runs than anyone else in baseball history. The fact is, that’s what he’s about to become.
The issue on HOW he did it hasn’t been settled and won’t be settled. Ever. Baseball is absolutely not dumb enough to continue this witch hunt and expose themselves as contributors to the whole fiasco. After all, no one has been able to clean up this mess, including Felix Unger.
Thanks to those of you who e-mailed me with your well-wishes for this week’s Maryland Open at Chartwell. I played 27 holes very well and 9 holes not so well (spread out over two rounds) and those 9 holes were the difference in being competitive in the event and earning a trip back home after two rounds. This was my 5th Maryland Open and I once again learned the most valuable lesson of all when it comes to playing high-level tournament golf: you have to be VERY sharp on every hole, every shot, etc. You can’t drive the ball “OK” – you have to drive it “great”. You can’t hit your irons “decent” – you have to hit them “precise”. You can’t putt “good” – you have to putt “outstanding”. You can’t be really sharp on this hole and not-so-sharp on the next hole. You can’t hit it 15-feet from 140 yards on this hole and then turn around and hit it 40-feet from 140 yards on the next hole. You can’t make mistakes when you’re playing against guys who have played in the U.S. Open four times…or guys who have been on the PGA Tour…or guys who have won events on the Nationwide Tour. They’re not going to play “down” to your level. You have to play “up” to their level. I did hit a lot of really good shots and made a bunch of good putts and like I noted above, I played 27 holes as well as anyone in the field. But we played 36 holes the last two days, not 27. The other 9 holes hurt me and that was the difference. But I had a lot of fun and got to play an outstanding golf course for two days and I learned more about my game and tournament golf. As Bobby Jones said, “there’s golf and there’s tournament golf and in no way are the two at all similar.”
Speaking of golf, Bob Gilder of the Champions Tour will join me tomorrow morning (Wed) at 9:30 am on “Pro Golf Weekly”, so be sure and tune in as we talk with him about the upcoming Senior Players Championship in Baltimore this October.