Barry Bonds is less than 20 Home Runs from Hank Aaron’s all-time record and no one seems to notice. A better explanation is that no one wants to see him break the holiest of holy records in major league baseball-outside of San Francisco that is. Amidst an entire storm (not just a cloud) of controversy, Barry Bonds has gotten off to a good start in the 2007 MLB season and is on pace to break the record sometime in the middle of June. Regardless of how you feel about Barry Bonds it is more than obvious that baseball itself, not just legions of fans, don’t want to see Barry Bonds hit home run number 756.
Of all of the major sports statistics matter the most in baseball. While championships are vitally important, as they are in any competition, the most celebrated moments in baseball can be centered on numbers. 56 and 2,131 come to mind, as the longest hit streak in baseball history by Joe DiMaggio and the longest consecutive games played streak by Cal Ripken Jr. of the Baltimore Orioles (the streak would eventually reach 2,632 games). The sacred number that is on the verge of being surpassed by Barry Bonds is 755, which represents the number of home runs Hank Aaron hit in his 20 plus year career.
While Major League Baseball embraced Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa in the summer of 1998 (both of which later had their reputations destroyed by steroid controversy), Barry Bonds pursuit of the home run record has gone largely under the radar.
The most obvious reason is none other than the steroid controversy that has plagued Barry Bonds over the past few years. Relationships with Balco, leaked testimony and off-hand estimations as to how much his forehead and body has developed since his days as a Pittsburgh Pirate have all shaped how he has been portrayed. Incidents of fans throwing syringes onto the field to mock Bonds and numerous insulting remarks have been chanted at countless games. All things considered, Bonds is not the type of figure that baseball seems to want to align itself with in regard to its sacred history.
Besides those obvious reasons there’s also the fact that Barry Bonds has not made himself accessible and thus not likable at any point in his career. Though he has a large following based in San Francisco, he rarely has any signs of support in any other city. When compared to the struggles that Hank Aaron went through when on the road to surpassing Hank Aaron, there is virtually no comparison between the two men.
With the lack of coverage endorsed by Major League Baseball on Barry Bonds’ pursuit of Hank Aaron’s record no one should be surprised if the very day after he breaks the record, baseball just keeps on trucking along its hefty schedule during the rest of the summer and into the fall.