The Steroid Era's Final Act

Steve ClarkContributor IAugust 8, 2007

IconWhenever something big happens in life you tend to remember where you're at when it goes down.
Well, it's safe to say that Barry Bonds hitting home run number 756 off Washington Nationals pitcher Mike Bacsik to break Hank Aaron's all-time home run record qualifies as something big.  Accordingly, I'll probably remember exactly where I was at on the night of August 7th, 2007 for the rest of my life.  Here, let me set the scene:
I'm upstairs in my room after an uneventful day, having decided to follow Bonds' home run chase there via ESPN radio instead of downstairs on the TV because my mom has to get up for work at three in the morning and I don't want to wake her up.  I'm starting to doze off, but I hear the guys on the radio cut to San Francisco Giants broadcaster Jon Miller for Bonds' upcoming at-bat.  Understandably, this wakes me up.  After all, even though I don't like Bonds, I've been following his at-bats for the past couple of days because, well, history is history.
A brief battle ensues between Bonds and Bacsik.  And ball here, a strike there.  Finally, inevitably, the count grows full.  At 3-2, Bonds sets up and swings.
Like any great announcer calling any great home run, Miller's voice climbs in unison with the ball as it streaks away.  His voice reaches its peak when the ball's flight finally ceases, now in the right-centerfield stands, engulfed by a mob of fans.
With that, the home run chase is over.  Number 756.  Move over Hank, Barry Bonds is number one.
Simple as it was, it's a night I'll always remember, sitting in my room as history unfolded before me.  What's more, is that I'll remember feeling exactly the way I thought I would, like some giant cloud had come and settled over Major League Baseball.
See, the Steroid Era in baseball never really could have ended until this moment finally occurred, years in the making and all but guaranteed as a result of over two decades of lackadaisical, half-hearted efforts to police a sport slowly turning corrupt thanks to the myriad of drugs freely filtering their way into it.  Bonds' hitting of 756 was the Steroid Era's final, lasting mark on baseball - the fall of the sport's most hallowed record, at the hands of the figure who perhaps personifies the era more so than any other.  Ultimately, that's the trouble with the Steroid Era: We just can't forget it ever happened.  It'll always be there to remind us.   
Somewhere on down the road, maybe Alex Rodriguez breaks Bonds' freshly minted record.  Then again, maybe he doesn't. 
There's only one thing that's for sure - and it's that Barry Bonds is Major League Baseball's home run king.