While Bud Selig was trying to figure out a way to punish Alex Rodriguez without going after the other 103 anonymous/confidential positive testing players from six years ago, he also threw out the notion that he's thinking about doing something else drastic. You see, Barry Bonds is still under fire for using performance-enhancing drugs as well, and he broke Hank Aaron's all-time home run record.
Selig is apparently considering the reinstatement of Aaron as Major League Baseball's all-time home run record-holder. This move is obviously for public relations, as I'm sure Selig is scared of how baseball romantics will view the era which occurred on his watch.
The move, though, would be utterly absurd. Good ol' Bud just doesn't get it, does he?
First of all, going after only the home run record doesn't make sense. Is that more important than the all-time walks record Bonds set? I can just hear the "no one cares about walks!" argument coming, which exactly proves my point that Selig is only fighting for public approval. No mention of the walks record, the seven MVPs or the eight Gold Gloves. Nope, just the sacred home run record. I guess the alleged use of performance-enhancers only helped Bonds hit home runs. Those round-trippers didn't cause pitchers to put him on base for free more than anyone in the history of the game, and they most certainly didn't contribute to him winning the MVP more than twice as much as anyone else. Right, Commissioner Selig?
Secondly, you can't compare eras anyway, so if you just take one record away, it's a hyperbolic exercise in revisionist history. Otherwise, shouldn't you go back and examine every caveat in every era? What about when Babe Ruth played? He played in a league that wasn't integrated and expected starting pitchers to complete every start. No situational left-handers for Ruth in the late innings. Just a tired -- from pumping out 150 pitches during the day -- white guy in the ninth stood in his way. Also, the strike zone was reduced and the pitcher's mound was lowered in 1969, and Aaron followed with five seasons of at least 34 home runs. Plus, they played more games per season when Aaron played.
Where are the asterisks for all that? You don't see them, because it would be stupid. Baseball fans need to be smart enough to put numbers in their proper context on their own. Every generation is different. If Bonds was juiced, so were a lot of pitchers he faced and hitters he out-homered. Please understand I'm not saying that it is morally acceptable. I'm also not saying it was acceptable when people popped greenies like tic-tacs in the '70s. What I am saying is that this is one gigantic slippery slope Selig is contemplating a climb aboard.
Yet another slippery slope is the talk of doing away with numbers from the so-called steroid-era. If you really want to do this, you cannot single out Bonds. You can't just add in A-Rod. You are going to have to go back and get rid of everything Jose Canseco, Rogers Clemens, and everyone else who has tested positive for, been suspected of, or admitted to the use of performance-enhancing drugs. Do you include those who have never been connected to use -- like Sammy Sosa -- other than people just thinking they did it? Then, of course, there is the realization that many more guys could have been using and simply weren't mentioned because they didn't matter enough. What if Bonds hit more than 755 homers off guys who were using? I don't think that's even close to being possible, but can we prove that? Major League Baseball didn't test until 2003, and only A-Rod's result from that year has been released to the public.
There's plenty more material here to illustrate how insane a move like this would be for Selig and "his" game, but you get the point. If you want to remember Hank Aaron as the best home run hitter of all-time, go ahead. No one is standing in your way. Every person is free to think that Bonds' record doesn't count if they want. Going back and altering history in such cherry-picking fashion, however, is completely unacceptable pandering on Selig's part.
Selig Might Strip Bonds of Home Run Record, Reinstate Hank Aaron as King originally appeared on MLB FanHouse on Thu, 12 Feb 2009 17:45:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.