Barry Bonds and his rotund head are coming to Philadelphia this weekend to play the Phillies. Barry is a couple of home runs away from Babe Ruth's 714, and 40-something shy of Hank Aaron's all-time record of 755.
For some reason, Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas told us tonight, to come to the ballpark this weekend "for Barry Bonds' record setting feat." What record, exactly? Since when is second place a record? If he hits home run number 714 and/or 715 here in Citizens Bank Ballpark, will they stop the game and celebrate ... second? It sounds a lot like Little League to me. Will Barry get a little trophy, CONGRATULATIONS FOR ALMOST BEING THE BEST. Complete with a little batter with a disproportionate head.
It strikes me as another example of baseball shamelessly promoting itself for their own glory, drawing attention to something that really does not deserve our attention. Baseball is no stranger to this kind of treatment, and since its popularity has waned over the years, they will grab onto anything they can to stir up fan interest. And, it doesn't hurt that Sunday's game is on ESPN. What better vehicle than the all-mighty TV to grasp onto the pomp and circumstance of something that they will tell us is full of pomp and circumstance. We will believe it. Why? Because it is on TV.
Opinions about Barry aside, what's the point of making a big deal out of this? For a sport that is so consumed with the pursuit of numbers, somehow Hank Aaron's feat has never received the attention that Babe Ruth has gotten. It seems as though baseball is stuck on 714, and fails to recognize Aaron much at all. Even that august symbol of journalism, The Philadelphia Inquirer has bought into this nonsense, with a countdown to 714 right there next to the baseball standings. Babe Ruth is not the home run King anymore, and hasn't been since 1974.
So, go to the ballpark this weekend if you wish. It's a great place, and lately the baseball has been pretty good, but don't get too wrapped up over this almost-accomplishment.
Wake me up when Bonds gets to 754.