Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Barry Joins the Immortals – Bud proves to be immoral

History will recognize what took place late Tuesday evening at San Francisco’s AT&T Park as one of the greatest moments in baseball history. Barry Bonds hit the 756th home run of his career, surpassing Hank Aaron to become the greatest home run hitter in Major League Baseball history. When Barry’s date with destiny arrived, a moment that will stand as one of the greatest achievements in baseball history time stood and Bonds rounded the bases to a thunderous standing ovation that lasted well in excess of 10 minutes – two lasting images will forever be linked to a “Priceless Moment” in baseball history – the image of Hank Aaron praising Bonds on AT&T’s jumbo scoreboard and the glaring absence of the most inept, inane and incompetent person ever associated with on the management side of professional baseball – the man masquerading as baseball commissioner Allan Bud Selig.

"Thank you very much. I got to thank all of you, all the fans here in San Francisco. It's been fantastic," he said shortly after crossing home plate, his godfather, Willie Mays, at his side.

Throughout Bonds pursuit of Aaron’s 755 home run record, a record Barry tied Saturday night in San Diego, when the Giants played at home the Giants PR department had arranged to have a sports superstar wish Barry the best of luck. Monday, the Greatest of them all, Muhammad Ali appearing with one of his son’s wished Barry the best of luck. But the Giants save the best for last. Moments after Barry joined the greatest baseball players of all time, the Giants asked the crowd to look towards the AT&T scoreboard. In what must have stunned the assembled crowd and the millions watching on ESPN and Fox Bay Area Henry Aaron offered Barry Bonds a heartfelt message of congratulations that sent a loud and clear message from "Hammerin' Hank" to anyone who wanted to hear, the former MLB home run king wished the new home run king nothing but the very best in his shining moment. Aaron was sincere, concise and too the point – in Hank Aaron’s mind Barry Bonds was worthy of being called the greatest single home run hitter of all time.

"I would like to offer my congratulations to Barry Bonds on becoming baseball's career home run leader. It is a great accomplishment which required skill, longevity and determination," Aaron said.

"Throughout the past century, the home run has held a special place in baseball, and I have been privileged to hold this record for 33 of those years. I move over now and offer my best wishes to Barry and his family on this historic achievement.

"My hope today, as it was on that April evening in 1974, is that the achievement of this record will inspire others to chase their own dreams."

The message was greeted by two standing ovations from the Giants fans and capped a roster of sporting luminaries who offered their congratulations to Bonds in video messages shown on the scoreboard during his chase of the record.


First was Joe Montana, then Michael Jordan. They were followed by Wayne Gretzky and Muhammad Ali — a remarkable collection of some of the greatest living athletes in a variety of sports.

The Giants players were guessing who would be the capper and it was first baseman Ryan Klesko who had the right answer.

"Maybe," Klesko said of Aaron before the game. "He may shock the world."

As graceful as Aaron was, it will forever be unimaginable to imagine how Bud Selig managed to top the shame he brought to the commissioner’s office Saturday night when Bud looked like he was receiving an enema when Barry hit number 755 and then stood with his hands in his pocket’s at San Diego’s Petco Park will remain etched in the memories of those who respect what true leadership is as a moment that will stand as a testament for what never to do.

Bud left the Bonds train after Sunday’s game reportedly to return to handle routine baseball matters at his Milwaukee’s offices. What emerged Tuesday evening while hopefully not meant to directly humiliate Barry Bonds is proof positive Bud Selig has no intention of respecting Barry Bonds and when it comes to Barry Bonds the tradition his record brings to the game. Bud may claim he respects baseball’s traditions but when it comes to Barry Bonds Bud doesn’t seem to understand (unlike Hank Aaron) the two are one and the same.

According to MLB.com and an Associated Press report but left Barry sitting by the side of the Bay – to meet with Senator George Mitchell to discuss the progress of Sen. Mitchell’s steroid commission looking into the use of performance enhancing drugs in baseball.

Selig offered this in a prepared release early Wednesday morning: “I congratulate Barry Bonds for establishing a new, career home run record. Barry’s achievement is noteworthy and remarkable.
“After Barry came out of the game, I congratulated him by telephone and had MLB Executive Vice President Jimmie Lee Solomon and Hall of Famer Frank Robinson – both of whom were at the game and witnessed the record-breaking home run – meet with him on my behalf. While the issues which have swirled around this record will continue to work themselves toward resolution, today is a day for congratulations on a truly remarkable achievement.”

Earlier MLB.com’s Barry M. Bloom reported: Selig is planning to meet in New York with former Sen. George Mitchell sometime during the next two days before possibly returning to San Francisco, where the Giants are playing this week, as Bonds attempts to hit his 756th homer, thus passing Hank Aaron into first-place on Major League Baseball's all-time list. That is if the record hasn't been broken by then.

Mitchell is head of a committee that was charged last year by Selig with investigating MLB's supposed steroid era. He is in the final phases of putting together his report, which should be handed over to the Commissioner by the end of the calendar year.

Selig spent six games following the Giants and Bonds last week in Los Angeles and San Diego. He was in attendance at PETCO Park on Saturday night when Bonds led off the second inning with his 755th homer, an opposite-field shot into the left-field box seats off right-hander Clay Hensley.

Selig said this past weekend that he had business this week in Milwaukee and New York and wouldn't be able to attend perhaps the first four games of San Francisco's seven-game homestand that continues against the Nationals on Tuesday night. Bonds, who sat out Sunday, had gone seven plate appearances (four walks) since hitting the record-tying homer going into Tuesday night's game.

In Selig's stead at AT&T Park has been Jimmie Lee Solomon, MLB's executive vice president of baseball operations, and Frank Robinson, the Hall of Famer and former manager of the Nationals/Expos who was recently rehired as an advisor to MLB.

The Mitchell committee was formed 17 months ago. This year, Mitchell has been negotiating with the Players Association to obtain medical documents and player interviews, but up until now those efforts have been mostly unsuccessful. His committee doesn't have the authority to subpoena documents or compel testimony.

Several of ESPN’s baseball insiders heartily offered their views on what number 756 meant to baseball and sports.

‘Bonds will be the home run king, period. Record books should be free of moral judgments or other subjective criteria. Unless MLB intends to go back and invalidate some of Bonds' homers, he'll have the highest total until someone else (Griffey? A-Rod?) breaks his record in turn.” Keith Law offered

Former New York Mets general manager Steve Phillips: “I've been asked frequently about what I would do if I were at the game when Barry Bonds broke Henry Aaron's record: Would I stand and clap or sit on my hands? In fact what I would have done is sit and clap. Barry Bonds is an amazing player. He is one of the best players of all time regardless of what he might have taken. He is a superstar player and a first-ballot Hall of Famer. I have tremendous respect for him as a player and talent.

“ He has done it all in his career. He deserves to be recognized as one of the best ever. For a day or a week or maybe even a month I would like to just celebrate Bonds and his greatness. I want to stand and cheer and salute him for how truly amazing he is. I want to have the feelings for him that take me back to my youth when I got goose bumps when Henry Aaron circled the bases after hitting No. 715. But … I just can't get there. I can't help but feel that this remarkable accomplishment has been diminished by the overwhelming circumstantial evidence that Bonds cheated. I cannot boo the man because he is a remarkable, unbelievable player who I often wished had played for my team. But I cannot celebrate the way I really want to either. Instead, I am the one sitting and clapping.”

Nothing whatsoever has changed the person Barry Bonds is, how he reportedly treats others, but nothing whatsoever is going to make someone else the new home run king until they top whatever homerun market Barry ends his career with. And just as important sooner rather than later if anyone intend to hold Barry Bonds accountable for what he or may not have done, those same people if Justice is to be Served the list of those facings the piper had better include Allan Bud Selig the man who served as baseball’s defacto leader during baseball’s tainted performance-enhancing drug period.

For SportsBusinessNews this is Howard Bloom. Sources cited and used in this Insider Report: MLB.com and The San Francisco Chronicle

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