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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Coming to Terms on Bonds

He may now finally be clean, his knee and elbow aren't Hall of Fame caliber, and he has a grand jury hanging over his head ... but Barry Bonds still has the skill to take a Billy Wagner 99 m.p.h. fastball and jerk it out of the park. And this was after he spent the other eight innings of the game sitting on the bench!

Bonds' dramatic pinch hit home run moves him within three homers of tying Babe Ruth's 714 career round-trippers.

You won't find me checking the price tags on a Bonds jersey and I don't hold Bonds up as an example of anything redeeming to my two sons, but I've come to accept that the steroid controversy will have run its course once Bonds passes Ruth on the home run scoreboard.

What is the Mitchell investigation going to uncover that we don't already know? A large percentage of players, hitters and pitchers alike, were using various types of steroids during the post-strike years of baseball and Major League Baseball chose to do nothing about it.

The only lingering question will be what to do about Bonds? The answer ... nothing. Like Mark McGwire, just let the man fade into the distance, his punishment being the asterisk we will all put on his records in our minds despite them not showing up in the books. And asterisks shouldn't show up in the record books either, that should be Major League Baseball's punishment for allowing all of this to go on for as long as it did.

The only fitting tribute to Bonds tying and then passing Ruth is if it happens on the road. The boos raining down from the stands will capture the moment better than the cheers and standing ovations of the myopic Giants fans.

But understand this, it will happen. Bonds also says he can't imagine passing Aaron for the all-time career home run record, but come on, Bonds didn't come this far and expose himself to this much ridicule to finish second, he's going for it all, and baseball fans will have to accept it.


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