Wednesday, August 8, 2007

For better or for worse: 756

On Saturday evening, another controversial sports figure, Michael Irvin, praised his wife for sticking with him through the "for better" and the "for worse."

So is the situation that baseball fans find ourselves in this morning, as Barry Bonds hit his 756th career home run, most of any major league player ever.

It was a night of delicious irony. Bonds' record-breaking blast came against another son of a former major leaguer, Mike Bacsik. Bacsik's dad, Mike, Sr., faced Hank Aaron in 1976.

Commissioner Bud Selig, whose capacity for bizarre behavior and dubious decisions knows no limits, declined to attend in person, instead opting to meet with George Mitchell on the former senator's investigation into the sport's same drug use that has tarnished Bonds's reputation and achievement.

In contrast, one of the night's heroes was the former home run king, Aaron, who delivered a classy video tribute to Bonds that was played during the celebration. In so doing, he essentially reminded us all of why we appreciated him so much as a record-holder, and why so many fans don't deem Bonds a worthy heir.

But it comes down to this: If you're a baseball fan, you have to accept this record along with everything else that might be seen as a stain on the game. The sport has led itself down the path whose destination came last night.

Despite the pile of evidence of Bonds' drug use that has made its way through the media, those who can act on that evidence have either not been able to prove it or have chosen not to act yet.

Their day may soon come. But for now, Bonds has his record. There is indisputable evidence that he has hit 756 home runs, and those in the Bonds camp are not shy about bringing that evidence to the trials their guy has endured.

For now, baseball fans must face facts. For better ... or for worse.


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