(Long Island, NY) The look on his face was one of exuberance, relief and satisfaction. As soon as the ball came off the bat, it seemed like the weight of the world was lifted off his shoulders. The crowd at AT&T Park in San Francisco exploded and camera flashes illuminated the place like a million fireflies in the brush. After watching his father round the bases, he had a private moment with him at home plate.
Nikolai Bonds is the teenage son of slugger Barry and is a bat boy for the San Francisco Giants. The 17 year-old is mature enough to understand what his father is going through with all the chanting at every stadium, the only one with a positive tone being home. It was a special moment for two people named Bonds to have that embrace after all the negativity and support one another as they had done all throughout the chase for the record book.
The 43,154 in attendance also witnessed a video message to Bonds from Henry Aaron, congratulating him on passing number 755. Commissioner Bud Selig was not in attendance, as he was the week prior in San Diego when Bonds tied the record. Selig called Bonds and also released a statement that included “While the issues which have swirled around this record will continue to work themselves toward resolution, today is a day for congratulations on a truly remarkable achievement.”
Regardless of what many people do not want to admit, Bonds is the all-time leader in home runs and may be for a while. He has hit two more since number 756 and appears to be in a zone. Did he use performance-enhancing drugs to get to this level? The court of public opinion seems to believe so and from what all the evidence states, he probably did use something. But that is part of the game no matter how much fans do not want to admit it.
Bonds would have to be a very risky individual if he is currently using steroids or the like, with the George Mitchell investigation basically a witch-hunt for him. And he is still blasting long balls. Does that give some indication that Bonds is using something such as Human Growth Hormone, which is currently not tested for in Major League Baseball? Or are there after affects from what he may have previously taken that is still in his system and helping him?
In the press conference following the record-setting game, Bonds would not entertain a reporter’s question about his former personal trainer, Greg Anderson, who is currently serving jail time for not speaking in court about Bonds. When asked by another scribe if the record was tainted, Bonds responded, “This record is not tainted at all. Period. You guys can say whatever you want.”
What can be done, even if the proverbial ‘smoking gun’ is found on Bonds’ use of illegal drugs? Placing an asterisk next to his name in the record books is quite ridiculous. The effects of these drugs are not written in black and white. Everyone has their own increase of strength and endurance. It is virtually impossible to say what Bonds received from them.
The asterisk that was placed next to Roger Maris’ name was not right, but at least there were facts to back it up. The 162-game schedule was instated well after Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs in the old 154-game schedule. The asterisk merely stated that the record was broken in a schedule that allowed for eight more games.
What is the answer? There is no answer. So let’s stop wasting so much time on what might be and enjoy what is, and that’s baseball’s new home run king.