I think it’s been fairly well established that I am not a baseball fan. Never have been, and probably never will be. Although I enjoyed my trip to Dodger Stadium last month, I still equate the sport with golf: occasional moments of action with a lot of nothing in between. Perhaps enjoyable to play, probably more enjoyable to watch live, but excruciating to watch on TV.
It doesn’t really help that most of the stories that are going on nowadays regarding the sport involve two of the biggest narcissists the sport has seen in the past 50 years. One of them, Roger Clemens, epitomizes the “me first” attitude that seems so pervasive in professional sports today. Then again, no other professional athlete is so self-absorbed to demand that the team he signs with at a grotesque six-month salary of $18 million dollars allow him to completely detach himself from the team whenever his number isn’t up in the rotation. If you amertized that amount based on how much work he’ll actually perform for the team, he’s probably going to make around $40,000 a pitch. Yes, you heard that correctly – Roger Clemens will pocket $40,000 every time he throws a damn ball.
But the real pariah is Barry Bonds, whose ongoing Home Run Krystallnacht has everyone worked up in a foamy lather. Now that he’s just 10 bombs away from pulling even with Hank Aaron’s career total, the indignation and loathing has reached a fever pitch. But while I also secretly hope that Bonds’ Achilles tendon rolls up like a window shade before he reaches the hallowed 755, all of the collateral stories swirling around the vicinity of this hurricane’s eye is exposing just how ludicrous the whole issue is.
I listen to a lot more sports radio than I have in the past (I still enjoy Rush, but he hasn’t really said anything that I haven’t already heard nine times), and every segment, they keep rehashing the same topics: will Bud Selig be there to watch Barroid shatter the record? Is Curt Schilling a hypocrite for calling him out? Is anyone going to let him break the record in San Francisco, or are they going to force him to do it on the road in front of a hostile crowd? Are people rooting against him because he’s black?
It’s even boiled over to the degree where any other player who talks about it – or talks about a player who talks about it – gets analyzed within an inch of their life. Suddenly, because Schilling makes some offhanded comments, now Jose Canseco has to weigh in about Schilling. And here’s David Wells, who purportedly was drunk while pitching a no-hitter, throwing in his three cents. It’s like a chain letter now: every person who talks about it has five people talking about him and what a hypocrite he is. I’ve never seen such breathless indignation about an athlete since the Pistons/Pacers brawl three years ago. And at least that was just one moment in time: Bonds’ pursuit of the home run record has been ongoing for no less than three seasons. That’s 1095 days that people are wasting their time on this issue. Rome was built in a shorter time frame.
Seeing as I’m not a baseball fan, you’re probably wondering why I care about this enough to say this much about it. Well, put simply, I’m tired of the whole Bonds fiasco hijacking the discussion. I hit my saturation point with Bonds a long time ago, and it’s gotten to the point where I don’t want to hear his name anymore. Never has such a foregone conclusion been given so much scrutiny. I would rather he hit all 10 home runs tomorrow so we could just be done with it, than have to endure another month and a half of endless punditry about what Bonds should eat for breakfast tomorrow.
So as much as I hate Barry Bonds and what he’s about to do to a sport that I already care little about, I do hope he breaks the record sooner rather than later, because the sooner he does it, the sooner I never have to hear about him ever again.