Sometime over the next fortnight, Barry Bonds will be the new home run king of baseball surpassing Hank Aaron's all-time mark of 755. With all that has been said and written, I have learned to forgive, Barry Bonds along time ago. Like sports columnist Jason Whitlock said on Face the Nation, there are others who need to be vilified in the steroids issue not only Barry Bonds. More than likely, he will have the shortest reign Ruth (Just under 39 years) and Aaron (Just over 33).
April 8th, 1974 was over 33 years ago. We had 5 less teams than we do have now in MLB. Other teams traded locals seeking higher fortunes. That night, Monday Night Baseball on NBC was the staple and I was a young 8 year old watching the game with my soon-to-be 41 year old father. I watched the game with my dad. We witnessed a middle aged black man hit a home run that electrified a stadium passing a record by Babe Ruth. I heard of Ruth and that he did play for the Yankees, however I didn't know when he played or when he had died.
Sometime within the next two weeks, (the Giants are on the road in LA and San Diego) Bonds will break the record. Now 41, in a strange irony I will be sitting with my oldest son now age 8. We will watch a stadium electrify and we will listen to the cheers. We will listen to the commentators. Will I explain the dark cloud hanging overhead, probably not. It will be a time for an 8 year old to dream and one 41 year old to remember the past with his father.
Baseball in the coming years will find a way to heal itself. Noticing the parallel in my own life, I figure no one truly owns baseball. Each generation borrows some of it hopefully making it better game for all of us. No matter how we try, we cannot destroy it.
I always liked the comment from character Terrance Mann in the film Field of Dreams;
Terence Mann: "Ray, people will come Ray. They'll come to Iowa for reasons they can't even fathom. They'll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they're doing it. They'll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. 'Of course, we won't mind if you look around,' you'll say. It's only $20 per person. They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. Then they'll walk off to the bleacher; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They'll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they'll watch the game and it'll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come, Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh... people will come Ray. People will most definitely come."
I can't have a catch with my dad anymore, but he will be there with us watching.