The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.

AUGUST  2007

                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.







The Marked Mark Unmarked

By Jerry Keys

By the time this article is published, Barry Bonds should be the home run king.  For myself, and other long time baseball fans, we had gotten so used to calling Hank Aaron the king.  In baseball lore, everyone will ask, "Where were you when Barry hit number 756?"

I'm not sure where I was when Aaron hit number 715 to break Babe Ruth's home run total in 1974.  According to my mother, I was probably tearing up something.  But I do know where I will be when Barry hits 756.  I will be right in front of the television, and in a tribute to the 1980's, holding up a cigarette lighter in one hand, a Bonds baseball card in the other.  When the ball sails, the card and lighter shall meet.  I can thank Rick Reilly for that idea (back page Sports Illustrated, July 23).

Why on Earth would I do that?  The first thing I could bring up is all of the steroid allegations levied against Bonds.  But those are "unproven" (so far).  So I will focus on the proven things.  We could look at his treatment of teammates (see Kent, Jeff), fans, the media, and the general public.

Jerry Keys

I have seen, heard, read, and viewed our new king since 1986.  The

numerous times he would berate teammates if they were in a slump (younger teammates of course), tell children who were seeking an autograph that they should "leave him alone" because he is "in no mood to bother with them", how upset he would become if a reporter asked him the "wrong question" or if they "asked the same question again when he did not answer the first time", or how he looks down on the public in general because he can hit a ball with a stick.  Yeah, some king… reckon mankind can mold a crown large enough for his head and ego to fit in?

I'm sure if you were reading this Barry, you would comment as follows, "I think this person has it in for me".  Not entirely true.  I felt a sadness for you, in 1992 when the Pittsburgh Pirates lost their third straight NLCS and you were sitting in the outfield after Francisco Cabrera's game-winning hit, in 1993, when your San Francisco Giants won 103 games and were still locked out of the playoffs, and in 2002, when you actually showed emotion after getting to your first World Series; only to lose the final two games.

No matter how you attempt to act like you are not human, you are human.  Everyone has bad days, bad weeks, and even bad years.

But decades… c'mon? 

Although I do have to give credit, he did want to "improve his image" to the public this year.  Was it a coincidence this view surfaced right when he was to eclipse 755 or did he decide after 21 years in baseball, fans should be respected?

Whether Bonds will ever be proven to his use of steroids is anyone's guess.  The same goes for Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, etc… Had no outside assistance ever came into play, what may have happened?  Bonds would still be around 620-640 homers, easily positioning him for at worst, 3rd place all-time.  Fans may have gotten to see a home run race, Bonds vs. Griffey, to 700.  It would have been nice if Griffey hadn't succumbed to the injury bug ever since coming home to Cincinnati.  Maybe he would be right with Barry on the quest for 756.

I'm quite aware thousands of Bonds fans will scoff at my thoughts.  But why isn't Aaron celebrating this historic milestone with Barry?  Why will he not be on-hand when his record falls?  And why is Bud Selig distancing himself from Bonds and the record?

Only in baseball can we have the home run king and the hits king in moral court. 

Anyone uncovered anything on Dan Marino lately?  How about Michael Jordan?  Thank goodness for Alex Rodriguez.

Even if Bonds hits 800 homers, ARod will still pass him.  Like Bret Favre claiming the all-time passing records, yet only keeping it warm for Peyton Manning.  I never thought I would be saying this, after the

$252 million contract, but I am now an ARod fan.  He doesn't chastise fans, doesn't look sullen every minute of the day, and cares about what others think of him.

It is the ultimate shame that so many baseball fans will not recognize Bonds as the home run king, given the ability he has.  But if you are caught cheating on problem #75 on a 75-question test, you are given a zero, not just a mark on the last question.  Sometimes you can have little but know where you stand and sometimes you can have it all and don't even know it.   

Most any true baseball fan will admit they honor these two following records:

All Time Home Run Leader:  Hank Aaron  755

Home Run Leader (Season): Roger Maris 61 (162 games)

Babe Ruth 60 (154 games)

Thanks for the show Barry, Mark, Sammy, Palmeiro…. etc… we cheered you on in yesteryear… now we know better.