Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Bonds breaks home run record. Carmi yawns.

I'm posting this not because I'm some great baseball fan or because I'm immensely proud of this sport. I'm not. But Barry Bonds hit home run #756 last night to pass Hank Aaron on the all-time major league list. So in some respects, I guess it's news.

Technically, Bonds isn't #1. That honor would belong to the great Sadaharu Oh. He hit 868 throughout his career in Japan. But because he never played in North America, fans here like to pretend that he never existed. Makes me wonder why they call it the World Series if it doesn't include, you know, the world. Whatever.

The whole Bonds thing has me feeling quite ambivalent about his achievement. He is not a role model in the same vein as Hank Aaron or Sandy Koufax. In my jaded anti-modern-sports-fan eyes, he does not inspire others to greatness like the true sports heroes of decades past. His shadowy conduct in and around the BALCO steroid scandal that rocked the baseball world earlier this decade renders him a fairly lame role model for the stars - sports and life - of tomorrow. I wouldn't want my kids to take after him.

So perhaps the Barry Bonds story is one of how today's sports stars are not heroes like the old stars whose records they now surpass. Perhaps society's tendency to worship high performance athletes as inspirational spirit guides needs a rethink.

Your turn: Sports stars...heroes or drugged-up misguided airheads? Go nuts...

More links that suggest perhaps I'm not alone in my lukewarmness (oops, new word):

16 comments:

David said...

how about "he is an overpaid jerk"

or "what does it rpofit a amn if he achieves a numeric record, but loses al the respect of the fans who pay his salary?"

or : who cares about baseball anyway?"

Heather said...

The Bonds thing really didn't excite me at all. I remember the days of him playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates. That's before he got the big head.
I still think there are some good athletes out there but there seem to be so many more with overinflated egos.
A couple of good ones (I'm a Pittsburgh fan so it's what I know): Hines Ward of the Steelers, Sidney Crosby of the Penguins, Jerome Bettes Retired from the Steelers and Mark Martin for NASCAR

Heidi said...

I guess the only moment I REALLY appreciated from the whole thing was when you could tell he was human... when he thanked his dad and was overcome with emotion. He let that come through (but just for a moment). We are all human... we all make mistakes... the heroes in life are those who can forgive and move on. --- But, yeah, it seems as if the glory days of true sports heroes is gone.

Joan said...

I've long raged against the obscene amounts of money modern sports stars rake in, only to throw away on sex, drugs and other illicit activities. It pains me to see how much young kids worship these undeserving spoiled brats.

wordnerd said...

I don't hold nearly as much of a grudge against Bonds as some folks do. He's still an incredible athlete, and he did show his human side by paying tribute to his dad and hugging his son. While I don't condone it, doping has become as much part of professional sports as flashy cars and bling. Frankly, there are worse examples of egos run amuck in the professional sports arena.

D.O.M. Dan said...

Maybe it was an oversight on his part - with all the excitement of the moment - but I noticed he failed to thank his steroid supplier during his speech to the crowd.

patricia said...

Ha. I love d.o.m. dan's comment. So true.

The game of baseball is a yawn to me – I'm not interested in the game, but I do find the history of the players fascinating. And quite frankly, I have absolutely no respect for Bonds, or any baseball player who has taken steroids. So what if he hugged his son and gave a tribute to his dad. I'm sure the sleazebags from Enron love their family, too. You can be a family man and still be a morally corrupt jerk.

And just because a multitude of people do it, does not make it right. It's that lowering of the ethical bar that I find so utterly reprehensible. Which is no doubt why we are seeing it come up in other sports like the Tour de France. It is not fair for those who play fair, and play using only their skills and talent. Either have everyone using steroids, or no one at all. And since steroids are a danger to one's health, I would stick with the latter rule. Anyone remember Lyle Alzado? I'd be curious to see what happens to the health of people like Bonds and Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa in ten years or so. I'm sure their kids would really love to see them with illnesses like cancer in their reclining years. Would it have been worth it then?

No, Bonds is no hero. Hank Aaron is a true hero. There is man who worked hard without any drugs to achieve an amzing record in baseball. Plus he had the added challenge of having to deal with racism during his years as a baseball player. Does anyone remember that Aaron received death threats from people who were furious that a black man was going to beat Babe Ruth's record? And what about Babe Ruth? Could any of these guys break Ruth's record, without the use of drugs? I seriously doubt it. And when I think about gentlemen like Lou Gerhig, who gave such a heart-breaking speech when he had to give up the game due to his illness, and then I think of someone like Bonds – hero? Pulleeease.

Tracey said...

In my mind Bonds did not break the record. He is illegal, he took drugs.

Being an athlete I always support athletes and athletics in general. People like Bond and Vick etc ruin it for those who have worked their butt off to be successful.

You can't blame the athletes for the money they are paid, heck, if someone offered me money to play my favorite sport I'd jump at it. I was offered money to run in college, I took that offer. That said, I hate those that hold out for more cause they say that can't support their family with $10k.

kenju said...

Just as I clicked on here, Carmi, a story about it came on our ABC news. I do not follow baseball at all, but I know enough to know that his hitting that record is not pure and sweet like it was before. He used performance-enhancing drugs and he lied about it. Just because he is one of many who did, does not make it right.

Lori said...

I don't see people who play sports as a career as heroes at all. Just because they can run fast, shoot a basket, hit a ball, doesn't make them a hero. It may make them entertaining, exciting, rich but that doesn't necessarily encompass integrity, honesty, or courage. I can't think of many "superstars" that I'd like my son or daughter to imitate.

A hero to me is someone who lives his life with honor and dignity, doing the right thing no matter if it's popular or not, and who perseveres with faith and strength, even when life gets tough.

Jamie Dawn said...

Bonds is a great ball player. That doesn't mean he's a great man, though. His achievments will be diminished because of the steroid scandal. Great role models are hard to find these days.
It's sad, but true.

Jamie Dawn said...

Oh, I LOVE your line about the World Series not including.... the WORLD!!!!

leslie said...

I am not a sports fan, so Bonds hitting a million home runs means nothing to me. I hate how these sports guys make so much money. For what? So they can take steriods or participate in dog fights? Don't get me started....

David said...

i read that he was given 15.8 million USD this past season, so I blogged about that.
sorry about all the typos earlier, I was in a hurry- at a laptop that is not mine.

Erin Nevicosi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mr. Althouse said...

Ya, I'm over it. Was before it happened. Yawn...

Michele sent me,

Mike