BY MIKE WOLVERTON SPORTS GUY Has there ever be a more joyless milestone? Is there anything sorrier than watching the victory lap of a condemned man? Any hope Hank Aaron had of taking the crown to his grave has been defeated by a chemistry that didn’t even exist back when he was knocking ’em out of the ball park with just his bare hands. Aaron didn’t even bother to show up to see his record broken, and who could blame him after all? Certainly not Willie Mays, according to USA Today:
Willie Mays, who promised the late Bobby Bonds that he would be there for his son, wishes Hank Aaron would also be in attendance for Barry Bonds’ record-setting home run, but won’t interfere.”I think Hank is his own man,” Mays said. “If he wanted to be here, he’d be here. I really don’t know his reasons.”
Whatever you say, Willie. Also missing the coronation was Commissioner Bud Selig, ironically called back to New York for a long scheduled meeting with George Mitchell who is investigating steroid use in professional baseball. You almost had to feel sorry for Bonds. With that haunted, hunted look in his eyes, the poor bastard seemed like he just wanted to get if over with by the end. When it finally came, he seemed more relieved than jubilant, and no amount of backslaps and high fives could change that. The home run king is dead. Long live the home run king.
As annoying as the whole thing was, I had hoped it would just go on and on and on. And by the end Barry would look like a sad, old charlatan who couldn’t get it done even with performance enhancers. That was something worth rooting for, a fool’s errand though it was. Let’s face it, we knew all along that the undertow of inevitability would bring us here, and there would be no joy in Mudville when Hank Aaron’s home run record was finally broken, because all the king’s horses and all the king’s men will never put it back together again.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mike Wolverton spent two seasons as the play-by-play broadcaster for the Atlantic City Surf and has also had stints as an official scorer, public address announcer and two years as a hockey broadcaster. This year he is play-by-play announcer and official scorer of his newborn son. In between, he will be writing about sports for Phawker.
RELATED: “The commissioner of Major League Baseball may indeed be a good man, but who cares right now? Today, Selig, who was not there last night when Bonds broke the record, looks like a weak man devoid of any leadership ability, too caught up in protecting his personal interest and using the interest of the game as his personal shield. When Bonds tied Hank Aaron’s record last week, smacking No. 755, and the commissioner just sits there like a clueless spectator, looking as disengaged and unhappy as any Bonds naysayer ever could, the only descriptions for Selig’s actions are juvenile or manipulative.” — Stephen A. Smith [via the INQUIRER]
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[illustration by ALEX FINE]