Home run chase more like bad remake of old movie
WORTHINGTON -- The Barry Bonds' saga has all the makings for a quality remake of a classic movie.
It is what my generation sees as the George Clooneys and Brad Pitts of "Oceans Eleven" to the older generation's Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin of the same film.
This time, we have my generation's Barry Bonds to the real and honest Hank Aaron.
Yet, with each passing day, this remake is becoming a flop. It's one of those movies where you've invested quality hours of your life to, only to realize this version is a fake. But at this point, you have too much devoted not to finish the movie and see if the ending is the same as what has been shown on ESPN Classic for years.
However, with Bonds, the ending should not be the same.
This film features an over-priced star (Bonds is earning more than $15 million this year) and a supporting cast full of no-namers. Some could argue that Barry Zito is far from a nobody after he signed a seven-year $126 million contract in the off-season. But, with a 7-10 record and an ERA over 5.00, he is a long way from his Cy Young season of 2002 in which he won 23 games and had an ERA under 3.00.
I was watching when Bonds hit No. 754, and I hope to be watching when he hits 755 and 756. I, like so many others, realize the importance of this even in history. However, I won't cheer for him, I won't root for him, and I won't ever embrace him as the best home run hitter of all time.
If I was a betting man, I would put money on the fact that Barry will hit the two home runs he needs to break the record. He has too many at bats left this season not to do so.
But, from the moment he hits his last home run of his career, I will be rooting for Alex Rodriguez or Albert Pujols to break the record. As a Cubs and Twins fan, it pains me to say that, but that is the level in which I despise the thought of Bonds holding the record. Any player who has not used performance-enhancing drugs is better than Bonds, even if he plays for the Yankees or Cardinals.
Bonds is a great home run hitter in his own right; anyone has to admit that. It is impossible to deny that someone who has 700-plus home runs is not good at what he does. But that is part of the problem with Barry. He's a home run hitter, period.
His batting average is actually lower than that of Cubs' pitcher Carlos Zambrano. Of course, Zambrano's .291 average may be deceiving, but there is nothing deceiving about Bonds' .271 average.
In the field, he's a defensive liability. He has only made two errors this season, but has zero outfield assists. That means he hasn't thrown out a runner trying to take an extra base or saved a run with a good throw home. When he makes a catch on the warning track, and it makes "Sportscenter's" top 10 plays, there is a problem.
On a team with a record of 45-58, he is not an everyday player. Of the Giants' 103 games, Bonds has played 91. That's 12 games he has not played at all. That doesn't include the numerous games he has only appeared as a pinch-hitter. How many more games could the Giants have won with Barry in the lineup? The point is moot, but I would like to know anyone else who makes $15 million to work when they feel up to it.
Then, of course, is the elephant in the room -- the steroid issue. In this remake, the story line has already played out in real life (see Jason Giambi and Rafael Palmeiro), and in Hollywood (see "Rocky IV"). However, in this version, you don't see the needle going into athlete's arm -- maybe that will be in the extras on the special edition DVD.
Palmeiro was a great player in his day (567 home runs and 3018 career hits), but I will be shocked if he ever gets close to Coopertown and the Baseball Hall of Fame. The same should be true with Barry. Baseball is an honorable game, and the Hall of Fame has taken its stand on players of questionable morality (see Pete Rose).
Perhaps there will be a place that will enshrine these players someday. Of course, it will be about as serious as the Fantasy Football Hall of Fame ESPN has been spoofing lately. This way, Bonds, Rose, Giambi and Palmeiro can have their own induction ceremony and have their faces bronzed on a plaque. Shoot, they can even invite Michael Vick and really have a party.
Of course, with Rose's gambling problem and Vick's alleged issues with dogfighting, they would be in for a night that would rival any fraternity party. Throw in Giambi's New York, the city that never sleeps, mentality and Bonds' years of experience, and you'd have a party even Lindsay Lohan would be proud of.