The Raptor  

Your Bridge To The Greatest Generation

The Barry Bonds Saga Created May 6th, 2007 Modified 02/09/09

 

 

 

Monday February 9th, 2009

Barry Bonds was in the news last week.  He has once again been indicted on perjury charges in regards to his alleged steroid use.  Lately, it seems that most of the high profile baseball players of the past 10 to 15 years have been identified as steroid users.

The latest casualty is Alex Rodriquez.  It was roughly 2 years ago that A-Rod went on 60 Minutes and told Katie Couric that he had not used steroids - ever.  Now A-Rod is back on ESPN telling us that yes...I did it... for three years!  There goes another sports hero...now how can people like Mitch Albom and Mike Lupica coronate A-Rod?  His legacy is toast.

Sunday August 12th, 2007

It's been over a week since BB jacked number 756 to wrestle the record from Hammerin' Hank..  As usual, both John Dudley of the local Times-News and Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press and the ESPN Sports Reporters show waxed poetic about what a surly guy BB is...Oh No!...he's surly...and he's a doper....it's obvious he can't possess the record.

So their logic is that hopefully, A-Rod will stay healthy in order to wrestle the record from BB.  Well, so what?  If A-Rod gets the record it will be no biggie.  Just as BB is surly, A-Rod is a Prima Dona.  At least now, we can move on to the next big sports story which will undoubtedly be connected to Michael Vick.

 

Sunday May 6th, 2007  

Barry Bonds is marching on to the hallowed ground upon which rests the archetypal sports milestone which  defined America during the 20th  Century and is soon to be in his possession.

Bonds would normally be treated like royalty during this march, but, due to his "surly" manner he has been pilloried by any and all baseball purists in possession of a bully pulpit.

The most recent diatribe was rendered by Washington Post columnist, George Will.  The Raptor happens to like Mr. Will and has always read his workmanship with enthusiasm.  In his development  years, The Raptor was exposed to George when he was objectified by G. B. Trudeau in a "Doonesbury" Series that involved President-Elect Ronald Reagan.  

Subsequent to the Doonesbury episode, Mr. Will again showed up in Ken Burns magnificent PBS anthology on baseball.  That nine part series was so intense that The Raptor has viewed it in total at least 5 times.  Therefore, The Raptor can identify with something as treasured as the Home Run Record.

The Record was owned by George Herman "Babe" Ruth from 1936 until 1974 when Hank Aaron parked one out of Atlanta's Ball yard.  When Aaron began his career in the 50's, it was highly unlikely that anyone expected him or any other "slugger" to break the Babe's record.  As a matter of fact, when Roger Maris eclipsed the 60 Home Run Mark in 1961, he was derided by both the fans and the media for stepping on Ruth's legacy.

Now fast forward to Barry Bonds. He came into the Big League in the 80's as a Pittsburgh Pirate.  Then in 1992, after an especially distressing loss the Braves in the NLCS, Bonds was able to engineer a deal to be traded to the San Francisco Giants.  The Raptor is not a "stat man" so I have no idea what kind of Home Run output Bonds was capable of, but, The Raptor was and still is a big Giants Fan and was charged up to see Bonds in a Giants uniform.

How does one become a Giants Fan?.  For The Raptor, it was the magic of Willie Mays that ignited that spark.  There is no need to bore with a Mays history here.  Suffice it to say that the "Say Hey" Kid, was a legitimate sports hero.  Mays broke into the Bigs in 1954 and as a rookie helped lead the Giants to the World Series against another Raptor Fav, The Cleveland Indians.  Willie's major contribution to the Giants win was a dramatic over the shoulder catch of a Vic Wertz line drive in the deepest part of center field at the legendary Polo Grounds.  This clip has probably been seen by every baseball fan on Planet Earth.

The Giants moved their franchise to San Francisco in 1958 at the same time that the Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles.  This one event probably was a major factor in the spiraling demise of baseball as "America's Pastime".   Obviously, Football now carries that mantle and their ascendancy occurred in 1958 when the Giants played the Colts in the NFL Championship Game.  This game was televised which was unusual at that time and due to the presence of such legends as Unitas, Tittle, Moore and Marchetti, the fans started to take note.

The Giants got back into the World Series in 1962 against the New York Yankees.  It was at this point, when The Raptor, at the age of six years old was searching for a sports hero that he saw Willie Mays and his team go to the seventh game only to lose when Bobby Richardson grabbed a screaming line drive off the bat of Willie "Stretch" McCovey.  It should be noted that the Indians had to wait 40 plus years to get back the World Series.  However, thanks to some goofy stooge of a pitcher that The Raptor can't even speak the name of, the Tribe lost their chance.  The Giants have since disappointed on several occasions and needless to say, Barry Bonds has been knee deep in the pain of losing.

During his tenure with The Giants, Bonds has had several major accomplishments.  For starters, he has hit 30 Home Runs and stolen 30 bases in one season. He may have also done a 40-40 trick but The Raptor doesn't know and doesn't care.   He has won a batting title.  He hit 73 Home Runs in one season to establish a major league record. He has been named MVP SEVEN Times! (New 5/20/07) and he has been intentionally and unintentionally walked on many, many,  many occasions.

The Raptor has been to very few major league baseball games.  I can count on two or three visits to Jacobs Field to see the Indians and two visits to Pittsburgh's PNC Park.  On both those occasions the Giants were in town.  In the first go round, in 2003, Bonds had a ho-hum game and may have had a single, but on one particular at bat, he hit a towering bomb out of the Ball yard that ultimately landed in the river. Unfortunately, the call was foul ball.

The following year, The Raptor again made the drive to PNC along with three high school buddies.  During that game, Bonds was unintentionally walked in the first inning after the first three Giant batsmen had reached base.  What a thrill it would have been to see Bonds thump a grand slam!  Unfortunately, the Pirates would have none of it.

And there is the rub.  Just like the Pirates of 2004, the thieves of 2007 are intent on stealing Barry's thunder when it comes to annexing the Home Run Record.  For the nay Sayers, it's all about the surly attitude and that unknown element which is the "Steroid" story.  I do not have a way of vexing over whether Barry Bonds used steroids when he slugged out 73 Home Runs a few years ago.  After all, I am a Giants Fan and for me and other Giants Fans, we have the memory of Barry Bonds accomplishments, steroid based or not.

Over the past several months, I have seen and read many national sports pundits including: Mike Lupica, Woody Page, Bob Ryan and George Will describing how heinous Bonds is or how much of a yawn it will be when he breaks the record.  On the local level, newspaper columnist John Dudley expressed his outrage by describing how the man he loves to hate, Alex Rodriquez, will be his new hero when HE breaks Bonds record.  Perhaps the next time Dudley etal interviews AROD, they could inquire if any one of his dingers are tainted by human growth hormone etc. (New 5/20/07)

Lupica is an interesting study.  When Mark McGuire clubbed 70 Home Runs 10 years ago, Luppie was all misty eyed during one of his Sports Reporter Editorials about the fete.  At the heart of the Runt's story was the interaction between McGuire and his son, Matt.  It's too bad it was later found out that the slugger may have used steroids during his rise to the top.

The Raptor is incredulous! When McGuire came into the Bigs, he was tall and not very robust, but he could still hit home runs.  As a matter of fact, he almost hit 50 home runs in his rookie year.  However, during the run for 70, he looked like a monster.  Who can forget the mock commercial ESPN made in 1999 when the year 2000 was about to hit.  In this farce TV Commercial, McGuire was portrayed as a hulking, bat wielding fiend and was seen smashing computer equipment with his H&B.  McGuire even mentioned in interviews that he popped some sort of supplement from GNC to assist with his muscular volume.

Now McGuire is pilloried by hypocritical jack asses like Lupica.  The same fate holds true for Barry Bonds.  I stated earlier that Bonds has been walked many, many, times.  There is nothing fair in this life.  Just ask the unfortunates who die every day in some unfair fashion such as from a suicide bomber or drunk driver or psychotic gunman.  For those individuals, life was cut short and their demise was of a sad, tragic  nature.  In Bonds case, he will not die a horrible death, but folks like Lupica, Will and Dudley wish he would rather than stamp his name on something as IMPORTANT as a Home Run Record.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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