Barry Bonds finally claimed baseball’s all-time home-run record, hitting his 756th homer on Aug. 7.
The next day, the New York Post’s Brian Costello qualified Bonds’ accomplishment by referring to him as the “Sultan of Syringe.” Chicago Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti told us, “There’s no cause for celebration.” And Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution concluded, “[Alex] Rodriguez is at 500. Start the countdown. Please.” Some have even extended their hate beyond the sphere of baseball. Former National League MVP Dale Murphy railed on Bonds as “a terrible example for our kids.”
Every broken record is accompanied by a chorus of naysayers who look for excuses to put an asterisk by someone’s name. Roger Maris played too many games. Hank Aaron was too Black. Mark McGuire … wait a minute.
The truth is steroid use in baseball is more common than Commissioner Bud Selig would like to admit. Players are encouraged to do anything to enhance their performance, by an industry in need of power hitters and players with superhuman abilities to draw bigger crowds at higher ticket prices. Why not call for an asterisk for Bud Selig and the Major League owners?
Lay blame where blame is due.
And to Bonds, his family and the San Francisco Giants: congratulations! We love the players, and we love the game!