Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Now the Giants Can Focus On Winning the West

(8/9: Much thanks to reader Jeff for pointing out that I shorted Dale Murphy 100 homers in my original post. The text has been corrected to reflect the 398 round trips he earned during his esteemed career.)

For anyone that has been stuck in the same cubicle for years only to be repeatedly passed over for promotion by the latest hotshot at the office, take solace in knowing that Pedro Gomez feels your pain. For three years, he was Barry Bonds shadow- giving ESPN viewers daily updates on Bonds' home run total, the inning he left the game, and what he had for lunch that day. Then, when Barry finally breaks the record, who does ESPN send out for the postgame interview with Bonds? Erin Andrews. That has gotta hurt. The network eventually went to Gomez later who was relegated to informing the viewer such vital information such as there were fireworks and confetti after Bonds launched 756. Poor Pedro Gomez has become the Cuban version of Milton from Office Space. If there's ever a giant fire at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, you'll know who to look for.

After all is said and done, my feelings are pretty much aligned with what Dale Murphy said yesterday: "The guy would have become one of the great ones, anyway. ... But now, he sucked the fun and the life right out of it." Tho for me, it wasn't the performance enhancers that ruined it for me - heck, anyone who's popped a Viagra before going up to their vegas hotel room with a few hookers can relate to reaching for an extra boost when it's available. It was just the fact that Bonds was a jerk throughout his career that made it impossible to root for him.

Honestly though, the biggest jerk through all of this has been Bud Selig. The commissioner almost destroys baseball by canceling the World Series in 1995. Then he looks the other way while Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa revive the game with their displays of power. But now that Bonds has broken the all-time record, he wants to act indignant? I know he wishes that Bonds had treated people better- we all do. But the surge in home runs is largely responsible for Selig still having a job. A job in which he collected $14 million this year. For that kind of cash, Selig should at least have the decency to say thank you.

On behalf of Dale Murphy, it should be noted that while he finished his career with only 398 home runs, as a devout Mormon, he wasn't allowed to have so much as a drop of caffeine before a game. Imagine if he'd even just had a friggin' can of Coke in the clubhouse. His home run total would have at least been 401, maybe 402.

I would like to thank Barry Bonds for one thing. At least he had the decency to hit his record-tying and record-breaking home runs in games where Chris Berman wasn't doing the play by play. You think the record is tainted now? Imagine if every time ESPN replayed the swing, you heard, "Back, back, back, back....gone! And for the 756th time, Barry has cashed in his Bonds!"

What's next for Barry? My guess is he should spend 2008 as the DH of the Devil Rays where he can etch his name amongst other Tampa Bay greats like Wade Boggs, Fred McGriff, and Jose Canseco. He'd be the perfect role model for Delmon Young.

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At Wed Aug 08, 12:49:00 PM PDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very nicely written. I like how you point the finger at Selig as well, for he is partly to blame. Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but the Major League didn't institute a Drug Control Policy on Steroids or other performance enhancers until 2002. This is far behind the other host of professional sports in the US. With this being the case, the ML indirectly promoted use of these type of substances. The single season home run records set by McGuire and Bonds happened in 1998 and 2001, before the policy. Humm, Selig, WTF?


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