By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
Barry Bonds Blast Record-breaking 73rd homerun to End Season!
Barry Bonds & Son Celebrate
ATLANTA, GEORGIA– The windup — the pitch — the swing — CRACK It’s a long fly ball over the right field fence. The camera zooms in as the batter watches his handiwork and the ball cuts through the air. Then, as so many times before during this year, Mr. Bonds starts his soulful stride around the bases.
As he touches first base, I wonder to myself. Is this the greatest baseball player I have seen during my lifetime? No one at his position with his skill level comes to mind as an equal. As I watch him make the turn from first base to second, his achievements pop into my mind: 7 golden gloves, in the 40-40 club four times, the only player with at least 400 home runs and 400 stolen bases — and he reached the 500 homerun mark this season. The 7 all-star game appearances in his 16 years show that he is looked at as one of the best. He is known as one of the best all-around players in the game. So, it’s not just about the home runs.
As his foot touches second base, I reflect on his baseball bloodline. His father, Bobby Bonds, was a fine player in his time. His godfather, Willie Mays, could be called the greatest of all time. He is even related to the great slugger, Reggie Jackson. But more than this is the fact that he grew up around the game that he has mastered. Is there a better example of a man living out his childhood dream? From his days as a Giants batboy to starting in left field for them, Bonds has always been around baseball. As he nears third base, the vision of young boys dreaming of being like Barry crosses my mind for I am sure that in his youth he looked on and dreamed of becoming a Giant great.
As the future Hall of Famer rounds third, I hear voices of critics who have labeled him as selfish. They cry that he is standoffish with the media and when he does talk he is arrogant and boastful. Barry-bashers cite post-season slumps and not coming through in the playoffs. Because I have never personally met Bonds, I cannot comment on his character. There are many players who have had great careers and never won a championship. The Barry Bonds I see on the field gives a 100% and that’s all any fan can ask.
As Bonds reaches home, he represents a lot but, most of all, he reflects the ideal of living the dream. From the first moment he stepped on a baseball field, he stepped into a swirl of great expectations. And after his stellar career, those expectations are still there. The better he plays, the more we want his greatness. With every home run he hit this year, people have tried to put Bonds into some kind of box or pin a label on him. The best we cab do is enjoy the ride and let Bonds do his thing. Don’t try to measure his greatness. Just admire it.