Monday, February 12, 2007

Bug Selig: Cowardly Approach Towards Bond [J. Mark English]

Soon enough, Barry Bonds will sign on the dotted line and be committed to the San Francisco Giants for at least one more year. When this transaction is complete, he will enter the 2007 season just 22 home runs shy of passing Henry Aaron's all time home run record of 755.

It may be not be the best record in baseball, but it certainly is the sexiest record in baseball. And since baseball is all about records and numbers, its the most famous record in all of sports. Whether we like it or not, Barry Bonds will more then likely break this record, and all of us will be forced to rectify what it means to baseball.

Do we look at Barry Bonds as a cheater and ignore the record? Or do we sit back and appreciate what the man did, steroids or not. I believe theres no middle ground.

Bud Selig, the commissioner of baseball, just so happens to be choosing a middle ground. His straddling of the fence exposes him for being a fraud. This is what he said recently:

Selig insisted that Major League Baseball would celebrate Bonds' potential feat exactly as it does any other major milestone, such as a pitcher's 300th win. Last year, Selig telephoned San Diego closer Trevor Hoffman when he became the career saves leader.

"I wasn't there when Roger Clemens won his 300th game. That's a matter I'll determine at some point in the future," Selig said at a baseball luncheon hosted by Fox Sports Bay Area. "Let me say it, and I'm not going to say anymore. That's it."

Does he even want Bonds to pass the 755 homers of Aaron, who played his final two seasons in 1975 and '76 with the Selig-owned Milwaukee Brewers?

"It is a fact Hank Aaron and I have been friends for 50 years, close friends," Selig said. "When you're the commissioner, you just don't think about that. I have said before, if and when Barry Bonds breaks that record it will be handled the same way that every other record in baseball that's been broken was handled."

Talk about noncommittal. He first tries to compare Clemens pitching over 300 wins to breaking the HR record. Not exactly the same thing wouldn't you agree? 755 home runs is a record that has stood for thirty plus years, and before that the 714 was held for 40 plus years. This has a much greater significance then 300 wins.

Then Selig infers that he may call Bond to congratulate him. No, you can't have your cake and eat it too, Mr. Selig. If he breaks the record, and your willing to recognize it by calling him, then you should be there in person. Otherwise if your going to disrespect Bonds by not showing up because you think he's a cheater, then do not call him. Do not congratulate someone you think has been a disease to the game of baseball. It cannot go both ways.

Either recognize the breaking of the record for what it is, or dismiss it all together. Don't straddle the fence, and try to please everyone. You have a chance here to make a real impression on athletes who decide to cheat to get ahead. By dismissing Bonds, it will sent out a ripple effect. The message in this cascading current would be simple: cheating is a behavior that will not be tolerated. Selig's flip floppiness muddles the message, and may allow for an atmosphere of cheating to still exist.

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