The View from the Bench

Paul Salomon

At the time of this writing, Barry Bonds is sitting on 713 career home runs. He is one shy of overtaking Babe Ruth on the all-time home run list. He also holds the single season home run record of 73.
He will hit another one, and he’ll hit some more after that. Many people are very uncomfortable with this. Barry Bonds is seen as a selfish, greedy player who wants to get his and doesn’t care about the rest. To some he’s exactly what’s wrong with baseball today.
Then there is this whole steroid scandal. He is supposed to be implicated in the BALCO scandal, but this has never been actually proved outside of hearsay and personal accusations. Playing with Bonds might piss me off a lot too, but who’s to say whether or not that has anything to do with steroids accusations?
I’ll say this much about the steroids issue: He’s not taking them now, you can be sure of that. In spring training he went 10/16 with four home runs and went home pleased that he was ready. And he’s still hitting them as hard as any 40-something slugger of the past could possibly hit. Is it possible that he actually never did steroids? Yes.
Here’s what I think about this whole thing. He will hit 714, and then 715, but why should I care? Let him be number two on the list. Even if he hits another 10 this year, he’ll still be 30 or so short of Hank Aaron. He can barely walk now. Unless he gets traded to some masochistic AL team, he may not play next year – let alone the two or three it would take to get to 756.
Also, these records are not going to last forever. Whether or not A-rod gets close – which it doesn’t look like he will – someone will come along who is young and does it the way Hank did, with 40 home runs a year for 19 years. Leave it to “The view from the bench” to tell you that person is Albert Pujols.
Also don’t forget that two guys this year are on pace to break 73 – Jim Thome and Albert Pujols. They might not keep it up all year, but someday someone will.
I don’t care if one day I look at the all-time home run list and see Barry at two, or even at one. I can always discount him for any number of reasons, and so can you. Pete Rose had 4256 hits in his career, but some people pretend he doesn’t.
In the end I don’t care if he did steroids or not. He is and will always be remembered as a jerk of a player. His legacy will be that he was a truly dislikable character who was straight scary at the plate. After that it’s up to you.