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BG Falcon Media

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BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Bonds’ stats are good, not the best

If you haven’t been tuning in to approximately 65 of the 80 television channels that are available to students on campus, and you don’t read any newspapers or surf the web, then I have some news for you. Barry Bonds has hit home runs number 659 through 666 all in the last week. He has surpassed his godfather, Willie Mays one of the greatest players that ever lived. Besides that, Bonds is currently batting .500 and has 17 RBI. Baseball experts have said that this is possibly the greatest start of the season for any player in history.

In some respect, I agree, only if we are talking solely about statistics. Yes, the experts are correct. Bonds’ stats out of the gate are among the best we’ve ever seen. However, I refuse to jump to the conclusion that Barry Bonds is the greatest player ever, or even in the top five of all time. There are certain factors that make the current era of Major League Baseball different than it was even 15 years ago.

The first is the ball. No, I cannot prove that the ball is in any way “juiced.” What I can prove is that the rate of home runs in the majors has increased by a great margin since the bicentennial. Furthermore, Coors Field in Denver, Colorado, a park where Barry plays nine or 10 games a season, is over a mile above sea level. I might be able to hit a homer out of there.

The second is the newly-improved human form. Today’s athletes are built in ways that athletes in the past couldn’t even imagine. The last man to break the single season home run record before Bonds did it in 2001, was Mark McGwire (all the way back in 1998, wow!). If the steroids argument had been going on then, he would have been guilty until proven innocent. As for that very argument, I’ve learned to stay away from that subject, at least for now.

The third, final and most obvious reason is the pitcher. The expansion of Major League Baseball from 16 to 30 teams over the last 40 years has produced a brand of pitchers that are more fit for AAA (some even AA) baseball. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays have been nothing but a minor league baseball team with privileges until this year. Over 50 percent of the time Barry Bonds is facing sub-standard pitching that he probably saw during his Minor League days of the mid ’80s.

When I’m questioned on who I think the greatest player or players in the history of Major League Baseball are, many names come to mind: Ruth, Mays, Wagner, Spahn, Banks, but not Bonds. Even if he does break the 755 all-time home run record of Hank Aaron (whom I forgot to mention), I would still have questions of the competition and all the other factors mentioned above. I guess I’m just a baseball purist. It doesn’t really matter anyway, because it’s the fans, and mostly the media, that will decide Bonds’ place in history.

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