Home Run King

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  • by Frank Paynter on August 8, 2024

    Barry Bonds’ and Chris Locke have something in common.  The mass hysteria in early autumn of 2024 effectively quelled the celebration of their major achievements — publication of Locke’s Gonzo Marketing and Bonds’ run to a record smashing 73 home runs.  Bonds kept slugging and yesterday, with his godfather Willie Mays watching from the stands, he broke Hank Aaron’s career record of 755 home runs.  Gary Beacham has written a telling piece about the hatred Aaron and Bonds experienced as they fought to excel.  But Beacham’s piece doesn’t go far enough.  How much of the bitterness expressed by the suspicions that Bonds uses steroids is a mask for the same kind of racism that Hank Aaron faced?

    Whatever.  Bonds is an incredible ball player, as good as they come, and he has set a record that will stand for years.  Congratulations Barry Bonds!

    { 6 comments… read them below or add one }

    Peter (the Other) 08.08.07 at 6:16

    Frank, I know that you are right, that Bonds accomplishment is remarkable, but I can’t get rid of a bitter taste of it. It isn’t even about baseball, it is about a society that has become so “win” at any cost, that a pair of real breasts, here in LA, are as rare as hen’s teeth. I find the young people of today so desperate that they sink into a self obsession that precludes basic human consideration,, and compassion and I connect this to Bonds somehow, like an asterisk in the pit of my stromach.

    Frank Paynter 08.08.07 at 8:08

    He grew up in the dugout. Bobby Bonds was his dad and Willie Mays was his godfather. He knew what it took to succeed, and he achieved success so fantastic that people have to look outside his innate skill, his superb training, and his personal intensity for some other reason that he is at the top of the game.

    “If he didn’t use steroids he’d be a fat, stogie chewing schmuck like Babe Ruth but not as talented,” people seem to say. In fact, he is the golden child of the game and the steroids issue carries the cultural odor of bias and racism and it is so interwoven into our understanding of modern athletes and Bonds-the-man that we forget that while much is averred, nothing is proven except that he is the man, the man who holds the record that Aaron held, the records that Ruth held. And we demean ourselves by seeking a base causality external to the man himself. We can blame that asterisk in the pit of our stomach to those pawns of our own cultural destruction, American marketing and American journalism. The reputation is bought and paid for, a terrible disservice to us all and a burden for one of the greatest athletes of our time. Who benefits from the stories about steroids? And what odds does Vegas give the Giants on the Saturday afternoon home game against Pittsburgh?

    I’m with you on the fake boobs issue. In the good old days false allure was accomplished by padding, but the truth came out when the clothes came off. Now the truth is a more, umm… palpable thing.

    Peter (the Other) 08.08.07 at 11:48

    I certainly have no preference for a Babe Ruth who cast such a spell over my Red Sox. If I look even closer, my unease is about the passing of the torch. I was in my twenties when Hank hit is mark, it didn’t seem so long afterwards when I would go to a game, buy a program and notice how much younger all the players were. As Aaron’s star slips over the horizon of history, I more strongly sense mine slipping too (mine might have gone long ago, in truth). Hail the new young Ceasar, now where did I put my teeth… harump…

    Tree Shapiro 08.09.07 at 2:36

    Ah, I love the smell of tits and baseball in the morning.

    Frank Paynter 08.09.07 at 5:18

    That whiff of rosin and warming silicone… what’s the line on Saturday’s Pirates game, Tree?

    Tom Shugart 08.10.07 at 1:05

    Didn’t realize you were a baseball fan, Frank. Thank you from a Giants fan for your nice comments about Bonds. People from here don’t love and admire him just because he plays for the locals. They’ve been watching him perform here for many years and are familiar with what a truly amazing, dedicated, all-around, once-in-a quarter-century talent he truly is. Forget the home runs. No one — not even the former greats — has ever come close to being elected as his league’s Most Valuable Player SEVEN times!

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