Monday, March 22, 2010

Commentary on the Ages

As a kid growing up there were always the comparisons of the home run hitters. Willie Mays versus Hammerin' Hank Aaron. Things like Aaron never losing any time to the military service or the fact that he played in stadiums known to aid and abet fly balls. I mean Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta, George was known as the Launching Pad. It was where the players may not have been on steroids but the winds were on steroids. It must have seemed like the intense breezes were squalls or a tornado to those who pitched there. (And, oh by the way, the place where Willie Mays played when the Giants moved to San Francisco, Candlestick Park, had the exact opposite problems with mighty winds.)

So years later, the son of a pretty good ballplayer (in Bobby Bonds) sees a big Irish man swat homer after homer and thinks, 'I can do that if I use whatever he's using to increase his strength' and puts up numbers Babe Ruth would be envious of, had he not been surrounded in the lineup with a group of players referred to as Murderer's Row.

I will always be a Barry Bonds fan. Nothing he did has an asterisk beside it. It's the way the game was played when he was playing. In Babe Ruth's day they had ghost writer's whose only job was to build up the hype of each feat as if it was something that would never happen again. Everything that was Ruthian was not matched until #25 stepped into the batter's box.

Players in Ruth's day rarely got any bad press. The writers new to back off when a player was playing around outside the foul lines. Nowadays the writers want to get any news they can regardless of how they invade a person's privacy. I heard a term on KNBR, the Sports Leader, last week that describes today pretty accurately: TMZ Sports.

Look how quick the tabloids pounced on Tiger Woods. The jokes came out one after the other and the mercy rule was overridden for the sake of selling papers/magazines.

So whether the prevailing winds are howling in steroidal fashion or someone has figured out a way to have his body absorb a performance enhancer without it being detected the advantage is something someone will always exploit.

Kevin Marquez