WHEN MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL NEEDED BUD SELIG TO DO SOMETHING, HE DID WHAT HE DOES BEST! HE PUT HIS HANDS IN HIS POCKETS!!!
The fan who ended up with the ball was a bloodied 22-year old Mets fan named Matt Murphy. The ball figures to be worth in the neighborhood of $500,000 for Murphy, which should be more than enough to replace the clothes that were ripped by fans who tried to take the ball away from him. The ball being the 756th ball that Barry Bonds has hit for a home run.
One person who doesn't want the ball is Bonds. Bonds said, "I just hope he didn't get hurt. I don't want the ball. I've never believed a home-run ball belonged to the player. If he caught it, it's his."
What Bonds has is his place in baseball history. The all time hitter of home runs.
Some are saying and others will continue to say that this record is tainted.
Hank Aaron isn't saying that. In a taped tribute that was shown on a giant (no pun intended) screen, Aaron delivered a wonderful "congratulations" speech to Bonds. In previous days, congratulatory messages shown were delivered by Joe Montana after homer #753, by Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretzky after homer #754 and by Muhammad Ali after homer #755.
What was interesting to note was that when homer #755 was hit, Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig saw it in person. While other fans stood and applauded, Selig was shown standing with his hands in his pockets. After the game, Selig issued a tepid announcement of congratulations. Selig was busy meeting with George Mitchell yesterday. Mitchell's been conducting some kind of steroids investigation. After last night's record breaking homer was hit by Bonds, Selig issued another tepid announcement of congratulations. In both of Selig's announcements, Selig referred (by implication) to unanswered questions.
Short Commentary: Fair enough, buuuut...
Longer Commentary: Do you remember what happened after the last baseball strike? A strike that many people thought might cripple baseball to the point of possibly becoming an afterthought in the minds of most sports fans?
Do you remember the "Chicks Love the Long Ball!" campaign? That was about the time some players (if you paid attention) began to get bigger. The first player, might well have been a guy who played for the Angels. A player who never accomplished what some of the alleged users of "supplements" of one kind or another did accomplish. Or players who had been taught a new and rigorous fitness/workout routine.
Anybody with half a brain knows that the "Chicks Love the Long Ball!" campaign saved baseball! Not the girls or the words. The players! The players who were hitting "The Long Ball".
Commissioner Bud Selig loved what was happening! As did all of baseball's owners! Fans were coming to baseball games in record numbers to watch people like Big Mac and Slammin' Sammy hit "The Long Ball".
The guys were gettin' a little bigger? Like the song, the response to questions about the size of some players was, "Don't worry. Be happy!" And Bud Selig was happy! And so were his bosses. The owners and the sponsors.
What wasn't there to be happy to be about? Big Mac had become a Paul Bunyan type of figure and Slammin' Sammy was seen smiling while sitting next to the wife of the President of the United States.
Commissioner Bud Selig and baseball's owners did nothing about whispered allegations regarding supplements that might be a little different than amphetamines known as "greenies" that baseball officials had long ignored.
No, Selig, the owners, the sponsors and the chicks were all in love with The Long Ball.
Why? Because it was a cash cow.
Then a couple of things began to happen. Strange injuries. Steroids related? Sh!!!
Andro was discovered in Big Mac's locker. Nothing illegal about it, but....
More strange injuries. Sh!!! Damn it, Sh! Don't understand me? Shut the bleep up!
And then Barry Bonds started hitting more home runs. But he wasn't lovable like Big Mac and (especially) Slammin' Sammy. This Bonds guy was surly. We don't like surly guys. Let's take a look at Barry Bonds!
And that's when Barry Bonds became the poster child for the "baseball cheaters" term that's used today.
And that's why Bud Selig's hands were in his pockets the other night.
Back when Selig, the owners and the sponsors were "Lovin' The Long Ball", you saw all of them with their hands in their pockets. Why? They were protecting the money they were making while players might be dieing a slow death on their behalf because they were taking supplements that weren't against the rules. Supplements that players felt they had to take to compete!
Barry, congratulations! You took what you were born with and amped it up any way you could. If that required a doctor's help, welcome to my world where actors and actresses get improved medically whenever it's necessary.
Bud Selig? When you could have done something, your hands were in your pockets. What we saw when Bonds hit homer #755 was just you being you.
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TOMORROW: I'll tell you what's up with "John from Cincinnati" and anything else that makes me say, "Whaaaat?!?"