I've made peace with the fact that Barry Bonds will break the home run record. If he somehow doesn't break the record, then no matter how it turns out, it will make for interesting baseball this season. The way I see it, one of three things will happen, and to be honest, I'd be fine with any of them.
- Some highly improbable event will happen to Barry Bonds that will keep him from breaking the record. Like a ridiculously freak injury will occur or Curt Schilling will gather his religious minions and declare jihad on steroid users or Barack Obama, in an attempt to secure the coveted 18-35 year old voters, will bring up foolproof drug conspiracy charges on Barry and lock him up in a federal penitentiary.
- Pitchers completely stop pitching to Bonds until he retires.
- Barry Bonds breaks the record sometime in June.
And when that happens, it will still be something awesome.
ESPN the Magazine has a cover story on how Barry can repair his image in time for 756. A bunch of people chime in on what he should do to make people like him. Personally, I'm with Howard Stern who says that Barry should just juice the hell out of himself and completely obliterate the record. We need villains to succeed every now and then, because if they didn't, then who would be our heroes?
Put it this way. Would Superman be worth anything if Lex Luthor were completely incompetent? Would Empire Strikes Back have been any good if Darth Vader had taken another thumping like he did at the end of the first Star Wars?
Not everybody in baseball is a nice guy. The only two players to get over 4,000 career hits were, by several standards, assholes. And assholes are what we measure nice guys against. If it weren't for those guys, we wouldn't be able to tell what the "nice" guys were supposed to do. Also, I'm glad Barry's always been so unapologetically evil. At least he's honest *cough* Pete Rose *cough*. *COUGH* Mark McGwire *COUGH* *PUKE* JASON GIAMBI *GAG*. Basically, I can handle it if you're a jerk, but if you're a saint to my face and a jerk behind my back then you're at another level of low.
What's appealing about this is that baseball fans will now be looking for the next real hero of baseball. It's almost impossible to find another guy who will be more evil than Barry Bonds. So as long as the guy to break Barry's record can get to 800 home runs and hasn't spent his adult years raping baby dolphins or stealing medication from old people to poison little puppies, he'll be a hero. It will begin a long dark time with the home run record standing atop Major League Baseball like the Sword in the Stone. We'll wait and watch the careers of many a slugger to see who will be the one to take the coveted sword and loft it high above his head, triumphantly. Will any of us even be around to see it happen?
I'm having a vision... It's the year 2082... A very old, very wise looking man of Asian/Pacific-Islander descent wearing horn rimmed glasses is experiencing a neuro-transmission of a Padres game as Tony Gwynn V prepares to break Barry Bonds home run record, which has stood for 75 years... A crack of the bat and the record is finally broken... The old man looks over at his KhalilBot 5000 personal servant and nods slowly... "I have seen what I need to see," the man says. "And now I can die."... KhalilBot 5000 flips a switch and the old man drifts off into a peaceful eternal slumber...