Selig: Go Watch Barry Bonds
Bud Selig, you should be in the house when Barry Bonds surpasses Hank Aaron's all time home run record.
Granted, Bud, you've got reason to be conflicted. Steroid use and allegations of Bonds' use of steroids, in particular, have cast an ugly pall over the record, Indeed, over all of baseball. But you're the commissioner: it's <your job to police the use of performance enhancing drugs and you have not done so. Despite the apparent evidence of Bonds' cheating, you should consider: How many other players have taken steroids? Why did Major League Baseball, and you, aloow more than a decade of unscrutinized, muscle-bound players like McGuirre, Palmiero and Canseco? Why are they home runs less suspect than Bonds? How many great pitchers who today throw hard past the age of 40 can themselves be beyond suspicion? And, if Bonds' accomplishments are in question, shouldn't we look at our attitude toward all potential records? If you won't go see Bonds break Aaron's record, then you shouldn't attend any games where the whiff of steroids is in the air.
On April 8, 1974, when Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth's all-time career home run record with his 715th homer, one important person was not in Atlanta's Fulton County Stadium: baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn. Aaron had endured literally tons of hate mail and numerous death threats in gracefully ascending to the record of a white American icon. The commissioner had declined to witness the shattering of the greatest record in sports, in which a black American hero risked his life every time he came to bat, in favor of honoring a previous commitment to address the Wahoo Club, the Indians' fan club in Cleveland. Without a doubt, your good friend Henry Aaron's struggle to surpass the Babe has no equal in Bonds or any other ball player since. Nearly a million letters to Aaron when he was pursuing Ruth's record scolded Aaron for his worthy pursuit, many containing death threats or threats of violence, epithets and nastiness. Aaron pursued his place in history with a dignity and courage to this day unmatched - even Bonds recognizes this.
Thirty-three years later, you have a choice: be a witness to history, when Barry Bonds breaks Aaron's record, or stay away. Whatever you think of Bonds personally or of the mess made of the sport by steroids, do not make the same mistake as your predecessor. You should be in the house when Bonds clubs home run No. 756. Maybe Bonds will make it easy on you, commissioner: If he hits three homers this weekend, you can watch the record fall at home in Milwaukee. But it its in San Francisco or (God forbid) Los Angeles or San Diego, you should be there celebrating baseball and an enormous achievement.