The Bonds Saga: I'll admit, I have been one of the millions out there saying, "He's a cheater, who cares what he's doing. Stop putting him on Sportscenter for crying out loud!" I hate that Bonds is approaching a record that a lot of people believe is the most sacred sports record there is.
I hate it for one reason and one reason alone, he cheated his way to get there, and it wasn't necessary. Well, let me clarify that, Bonds NEEDED to cheat to get to the record, but he didn't need to cheat to become one of the greatest players in baseball history, he already WAS one of the greatest.
This guy could do things on a baseball diamond that left people scratching their heads, trying to figure out if they could believe what they just saw. He was amazing, simple as that. The problem was, Barry has an ego the size of, well the size of his head these days! He could not handle being one of the best players in the league and not getting the headlines in the newspapers or leading off Sportscenter. Those spots were being dominated by the McGwire/Sosa home run chase. Bonds decided that if it was going to take hitting homers to get his mug on t.v., then by God, that's what he'd do. So rather than playing it straight and doing what he could, (naturally) Bonds decided to cheat and ruin what could've been a wonderful career.
Now no one will remember him as the home run king, no one will remember the Pirates outfielder that was the true definition of a five tool player. EVERYONE will remember the steroid controversy. And that is a shame. A waste of talent.
An A-Bomb, fro A-Rod: Looking to become the fastest player to ever reach the 500 home run milestone, A-Rod is putting up Earth-shattering numbers in what could turn out to be a "walk" year. Could he become the league's first $30 Million Dollar Man? Should he?
Would someone out there be willing to pay him that much? Are they NUTS?! In my opinion, A-Rod can ask for as much money as he possibly wants, and someone out there would (and should) give it to him. This guy is simply amazing in the batters box. He takes the field night in and night out and continues to put up record breaking numbers. Keep in mind, he's having the season he's having in New York, where everything he does ends up in the tabloids. Where every time he miss plays a grounder he gets showered with boos. Where every time he K's the fans remind him that he's a bum. The pressure on this guy is insane, yet he still goes out everyday and produces. Imagine what he could be doing in a laid back city like San Francisco? Or the numbers he could be putting up if he joined his former Seattle teammate (Ken Griffey) in that bandbox they call a ballpark in Cincinnati!?
A-Rod will opt out in the off season and he will STRONGLY consider leaving the Bronx. The problem is, there are only a handful of teams out there that can afford the price-tag that will be attached to him. So he will have to decide, what's more important, money; fame; a ring; or the ability to go out and just play baseball, without having to worry about the sideshow that is New York.
"The Kid" climbing the all-time list: As Ken Griffey Jr. continues to climb the all-time home run list, 'talking heads' everywhere keep asking the age old question: "what if".
When Griffey first broke on to the Major League Baseball scene he was quickly anointed as the "next big thing". With his sweet swing, charisma, charm, and joyful smile, the media fell in love with him almost immediately. The fact that he could do it all on the field didn't hurt things either. Playing a gold-glove centerfield (making his share of "web-gem" catches early in his career) and swatting the ball out of the yard with what looked to be an effortless swing had people predicting great things for the young man. Then was the 'dream come true', he got the chance to go home and play for the Cincinnati Reds. What seemed to be a match made in heaven quickly turned disastrous.
Injury after injury turned what should've been one of the greatest careers in MLB history, into one of the most disappointing. Now, with Bonds chasing down Hank Aaron, A-Rod on a record pace, one must sit back and wonder...could either of these guys have caught the numbers Griffey could have, should have put up during his Hall of Fame career? That is a question people will be asking themselves for many years to come.
The one thing Griffey does have going for him...he will be a first ballot Hall of Famer, and he'll never be lumped in with the cheaters of this "steroid era" of baseball, and for that he deserves a tip of the cap.