Yay, Barry! He did it, as no one doubted he would. He's the man.
The morning paper is full of disclaimers, reasons why he does not deserve the accolades. With every great achievement come the detractors. I know we could do better than to snipe at the accomplishments of others.
For the first time, I am going to republish an old post from July 6, 2006.
I'm sick of hearing people talk stink about Barry Bonds' alleged use of anabolic steroids. He says if he took them, he was unaware of it at the time. Whether or not this is true, it seems as if these detractors are more interested in discrediting his record than in watching one of the greatest athletes of all time at the top of his game.
Sure, they're illegal. I get that. But how does taking steroids really differ from taking vitamins, energy drinks, and other performance aids? It's just a matter of degree. His phenomenal success is far more a matter of speed, accuracy, timing, coordination and talent than sheer muscle mass anyway. If anabolic steroids could actually make that much difference, we'd be seeing countless athletes performing at Bonds' level, as it would be absurd to think he was the only ballplayer in the world to use them. But fame comes with its own magnifying glass.
Incensed that he presumed to challenge Babe Ruth's record, people conveniently forget that athletes ALWAYS try to surpass the best in their sport. It's what keeps them going, season after season. It's what people in every endeavor try to do. If nobody lusted to be better than their predecessors, what would be the point in society continuing to breed new humans?
Babe Ruth had a glorious career and inspired millions of athletes. Of course he HAD to hit like he did - being built like a water buffalo didn't make him much of a runner. He was a great athlete, but he wasn't a sacrosanct saint. His record was not off-limits. He was the one to emulate and to trump.
Barry Bonds worked his ass off to measure up to the Babe. And then he passed him. We are lucky to witness in our time one of the best athletes of all time performing his magic on a playing field.
I have to be honest here: I'm not a big fan of athletic events in general. I really don't care who wins the pennant most of the time. But I do admire a superlative athlete in top form, however he got that way, as much as a person who excels in any other field through hard work, sacrifice, dedication and immense talent. And I think everyone else should, too.