really, is no longer the core of the problem of how to regard his 715th home
run. Most people, even most Giants fans, have him pegged as a serial steroid
user (hardly unique to his era) who seemingly could be slapped with a federal
indictment on perjury charges at any time. It's what to do with his numbers,
and those of his whole playing generation, that really is the divisive issue.
Bonds can pass Ruth in home runs but, in the new math caused by the Steroid
Era, have less credibility accrued.
"The only time
people ever booed Mark McGwire in 1998--anywhere--was when he bunted the first
pitch of batting practice," said Giants pitcher Matt Morris, a teammate of
McGwire's then and of Bonds's now. "People loved him. This is the exact
opposite. With Bonds, people are upset and are not happy for him."
It will be a long
time, if ever, before the kind of happy delusion that was 1998 can take us on a
blissful, unquestioning joyride again. We know and suspect too much now. Maybe
you will root for Albert Pujols to hit 62 home runs this season and assign that
total greater value than Bonds's 73 or McGwire's 70 or Sosa's 66, even if the
record book does not. Call it the people's record.
In any case,
baseball can't be the same anymore, not when Bonds can hit his 715th home run
and its superiority to 714 lacks absolute clarity. No wonder so many people are