Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Walking Time

The San Francisco Giants just re-signed Barry Bonds to a one-year, $15.8 million contract. He only needs 22 home runs to break Hank Aaron's record of 755.

Now, I'm no baseball expert, but I do like to watch an occasional game. I also love the stories of great athletes who love their sport, work hard to bring honor to the game and create magic for their fans. I'll even admit that I cried like a baby the night that Cal Ripken broke Lou Gehrig's record by playing his 2131st straight game. I'm just glad that the patrons at the restaurant where I was waiting tables that night were also too misty-eyed to notice. (Don't tell, but I also cry at the National Anthem, the end of the Iron Man and when the Stanley Cup is awarded--and those are just the sporting events. I'm actually quite sappy, but I spent a lot of years learning how to hide it.)

So here's the thing. A grown man who admits to using an "unknown substance," who tested positive last season for amphetamines (which he claims came from a teammate’s locker), who is still facing perjury charges related to the doping allegations, and whose new contract includes a clause letting the Giants off the hook if he is indicted, does not deserve to break one of baseballs greatest records. He should not be allowed to besmirch the efforts of Hank Aaron, who earned that record through hard work and perseverance. Bonds' name, along with the inevitable asterisk, should not be allowed in the books.

So here's my modest proposal: Since the Giants did not have the honor and decency to refuse to re-sign Bonds, every pitcher in the league should have enough respect for the game to walk him this year. Every game. Some will cry foul, saying he deserved a chance to clear his name; deserved a shot at the record. But he's had that—over and over again. With drug allegations hanging over him last season, he still tested positive for amphetamines, and blamed a teammate. He doesn't respect the game. It's time to let him walk.

No comments: