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    If you are not a Sports illustrated subscriber, go to the newsstand or corner store and purchase the latest issue. It has Hank Aaron on the cover and entitles its issue as "The Heart of 755."

    On the final page of the issue, writer Rick Reilly's piece, "Giving Barry His Due," says it all about Bonds' efforts to surpass Aaron. It's a wonderfully humorous and hard-hitting account , where he refers to Bonds' quest as "like a man robbing a bank and then having a giant party to watch him count the money." Trust me, if you are a baseball fan, buy the magazine and read about Aaron and especially Reilly's piece.

    The cover photograph of Aaron and the one inside with him at bat in Cincinnati, are both reminders of  the vintage year 1964. As a kid growing up in Philadelphia in 1964, at age 16, those two shots bring back memories of what ball players looked like then.  With the Phillies in first nearly the entire year, I never missed a game at night on the radio. "Good evening Phillies fans, By Saam here..."

    I'm sure, if I ever do something bad and get in trouble with the law, I can say I was abused when I was a kid. I was terribly disappointed at a young age when a bunch of young men I idolized lost ten in a row and  crushed my dreams of a Philadelphia World Series. Then I had to wait 16 more years to once again experience the thrill of victory. 1964 wasn't a very good year.

    One other observation about the Bonds home run chase: According to the New York Times, when Bonds recently took two days off, then came back and hit two dingers, he looked at videotapes of his recent at bats. He split the screen and compared swings of various at bats, looking for flaws. He saw that he was opening his hips too early, which limited his power. He fixed it, got himself back into the lineup, and hit numbers 752 and 753..

    All steroids talk aside, the only videotapes Aaron could have looked at were reruns of Gunsmoke and the Beverley Hillbillies. 

    "...said Californie is the place ya ought-a be so they loaded up their trucks and they moved to Beverly......hills that is, swimmin' pools, movie stars..." 

     

Nice article. Pretty neutral. Why is it the best baseball years,
even the bad ones (64), were the ones from our youth. I think it's
because, basically it's a young boy or girl's game. Only the adults
twist it and make it dirty. On that basis, I think the kids of today
will eventually be the only real judges of Barry Bond's accomplishment.
If forty years from now, he brings them great memories of the game,
memories like ours that they can relive and savor as their own, who's to
say Bonds is not a legitimate hero?

Posted by: Tom Costello | July 22, 2007 9:52 AM

Bonds is definitely the most galvanizing figure in sports today. Personally, I don't really care about the record, my feelings on Bonds are that he was probably the best hitter to play the game in the past 30 years, and I'm glad I got to see him play, and I hope he breaks the record at home because, unbelievably, the San Fran fans have supported him wholeheartedly and they deserve to see it.

Ron I can definitely relate to viewing a certain period as the golden days, and I agree with Tom, it has to do with your own age. The Yankees in the mid-eighties were horrible, but it was that team and Don Mattingly that made me fall in love with baseball. My memories of that era are much, much different from someone who was older and watching the team.

Posted by: Brian | July 22, 2007 12:21 PM

I feel they are making too much of this steroids
thing. Lets put it behind us and enjoy one of the greatest ballplayers of
our time.

Posted by: Fred | July 22, 2007 8:12 PM

I agree with Fred that there is too much outrage over the steroids. Brian aptly pointed out in an earlier discussion that while people are quick to call Bonds a cheater, everyone is quiet about the pitchers that suddenly gain 5 - 10 mph. on their fastball taking steroids. So while facing steroid enhanced pitching, isn't Bond's advantage erased?

As long as there is competition, there are those who find an edge or an angle. Baseball players have been taking speed for 40 years and that could be considered performance enhancing. And Ruth reportedly did coke in his heyday.. cocaine could be considered 'performance enhancing.' But no one would question his HRs as he's a hero from the golden age of baseball to many.

The point is, cheating has gone on ever since the game began. I'm glad that I got a chance to watch Bonds and consider him worthy of the record, no asterisk needed. Give the guy the credit he deserves.

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