At this point it's debatable whether the media should even mention Barry Bonds or just leave him be. The stories are old; Bonds will never stop being a jerk. I can't even begin to try to defend his personality or his actions, but one thing I can defend is his legacy.
As much as I can't stand him (this includes hearing him or hearing about him), one thing that excites me is the fact that he might break Hank Aaron's all-time home run record. And I will be rooting for him to do it. With 708 dingers entering this season, Bonds only needs 48 to break the record. He claims that this will be his last season but let's face it, if he hits 30 this year, he's coming back to finish the job.
I'm not asking anyone to root for Bonds, nor do I think many people actually are. What I do want are people rooting for baseball history. The storied game, often referred to as "America's pastime," deserves occasions like this and so do we.
We deserve the chance to tell our grandchildren that we witnessed one of the greatest hitters/players in the history of the game break a record that was once thought to be unreachable. We also deserve to watch him chase this mammoth of a record in the same way we watched Slammin' Sammy (Sosa) and Big Mac (Mark McGwire) race to a historic home run finish.
Bonds is often thought of as a cheater, which may be true. But, I ask: Can any of you present me with evidence that proves Bonds took banned substances at a time in which they were deemed illegal? Don't just tell me to look at the guy's physique, I know he is massive and gained suspicious weight throughout his career. On the other hand, I also know that Bonds is the Tim Duncan of baseball, Mr. Fundamental, if you will. He works hard year in and year out on his body and his swing. Regardless of whether he is roided out, he is still one of the best hitters to grace the planet.
Bonds won the National League MVP three times in four years (1990, 1992, 1993), long before anyone was suspicious of him taking steroids. He has been a great player for years, but much of it has been overshadowed by his quick temper, impatience and quite frankly, his pitiful attitude.
It's a shame too because we don't launch "cheater" in McGwire's direction every time he is brought up as a great ballplayer. While some people disregard McGwire's legacy, many others still see him as the blue-collar, American farm boy who wowed the baseball world. (Notice: I fail to mention Sosa in the same regard because of a little occurrence with a corked bat.)
We should all act bigger than Bonds (it's not hard) and look past his personality. See him for the great player he has been for years, see him and recognize history in the making. Maybe just put an asterisk by his name every time you mention him.
Scott Bondy is the Collegian's associate managing editor for sports and special sections. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org