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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Bonds’ haters should shut it

There have been many players in the history of Major League Baseball that have been the major focal point of ignorant baseball fans over the years. Then there’s Barry Bonds.

I’ll bet you all are thinking one of two things (or, most likely, both). First, there are others who have held America’s Pastime in the palm of their hand before Bonds such as Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams and of course Bonds’s godfather, Willie Mays. My stand is, with the obvious exception of Ruth and possibly Mays in his prime, no other player has owned the game in the way Bonds has.

Your other thought may be one that is shared by the majority of this nation’s baseball fans. The Barry Bonds story has become somewhat of a cliche. I agree, but when will something like this happen again?

Barry Bonds has been in the news and in the minds of people consistently now for the last few years. So, why is it that I bring him up yet again?

Well, in case you haven’t heard, Bonds won his record-setting seventh National League Most Valuable Player Award. On top of that, he has won the award the past four seasons, all seasons where he has been the best player in the game, hands down.

The reason I believe Barry Bonds is the second greatest player in history (Ruth tops the list, of course) is because there are certain things he has done that come in under the radar of his chase of Hank Aaron, his single-season record 73 home runs in 2001.

The first is the most obvious of these, his age. Bonds turned 40-years-old on July 24th. He still plans on playing two more years. Many think it is just so he has a chance to break the all-time homer mark of 755, but I believe (besides that) it’s simply because he can.

Something Bonds has not done since 2001 is lead the National League (let alone the Majors) in home runs. Despite consistently hitting 45 homers in 2002, and 46 jacks in 2003, his accomplishments have occurred in other statistical categories. He’s won the National League Batting Title twice, both in 2002 (.370), and this past season (.362). In 2001 and 2003, the years he didn’t win, he still batted .328, and .341 respectively.

Some other mindboggling stats you may not be aware of are both his walk total and slugging percentage since 2001. He has walked a total of 755 times (which reminds me of this other record), and since then, including 2004’s total of 232, a new single-season mark.

As for his slugging percentage, he led the league (again) with an .812 mark this past year, second only to the aforementioned Babe Ruth in his first two seasons with the New York Yankees (1920: .847, 1921: .846).

I must say I don’t care at all for some of these arguments that have tainted baseball, and Barry Bonds’s image. The first few are in the same category. The ball is juiced, the parks are smaller and the pitching is inept for the most part. Despite the fact that these are pretty much true, I still don’t like hearing them.

Then there are the other ones. For example, Bonds takes steroids. I could go into great depth on this subject when it comes to any player that has been accused, but I can sum it up in one statement. Despite the fact that I think that steroids of any kind should be banned from the game of baseball, I will not accuse and/or look down upon any player without cause, which I have not yet found.

The point? Leave Barry Bonds alone! He may not be the nicest guy in the game, but he is the best player, which in the eyes of many, including owners and most fans, is the important thing. I would rather have an outgoing nice-guy type be this good, but I’ll take what I can get.

Barry Bonds is the best baseball player of this era. Don’t try to argue this fact because it is, after all, a fact. The next time you see him hit a home run, do not roll your eyes. Instead, realize that you are witnessing something historic that you’ll think about when he finally does pass Aaron. Until then, enjoy!

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