Some time soon, perhaps even by the time this newspaper is in your hands, a prestigious and long-standing Major League Baseball record will be broken. Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants will hit his 756th home run, breaking the career mark set by Hank Aaron, and then every homer he strokes after that will advance the record by one.
Bonds hit No. 755 on Saturday night at San Diego and received a warm reception afterward along with some boos. Playing in front of the home fans Monday night, he had everything lined up to claim the record as his own. Willie Mays was there after travel problems kept him from making it to San Diego during the weekend to see No. 755. Bondsí oldest daughter, Shikari, returned from a trip to Sweden and was in the stands, along with his 8-year-old daughter, Aisha. Instead, he was held in check by a 22-year-old rookie making only his third appearance in the majors.
But itís just a matter of time now, If it didnít happen Tuesday, it will tonight, or during some other game in the near future. Barry Bonds will own this lofty baseball record, held throughout most of our lifetimes by only two men ó Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron. Only the most intense fans will recognize the name of Roger Connor, who owned the title of home run king before Ruth topped him in 1921.
The achievement will be cheered by the several thousand baseball fans who watch it happen, because they will indeed have been on hand to witness history. The baseball commissioner Bud Selig, who was in San Diego on Saturday when Bonds tied the record, represented the reaction of many of those who love baseball and who have followed this story. Selig, according to an Associated Press report, watched Bondís 755th home run with his hands in his pockets and no emotion on his face.
Selig said he decided to attend ďout of respect for the tradition of this game, the magnitude of the record, and the fact that all citizens in this country are innocent until proven guilty.Ē
Itís a huge moment in baseball history, but the overall reaction by the public should also be a lesson in life to all, but especially to young people. Achieving goals is important, but how those goals are achieved is no less crucial. The record will be owned by Barry Bonds, there is no doubt. But the celebration will be marred because the means of reaching that summit is suspect.