â†µThat right there is Barry Bonds hitting his 756th home run (set to some sweet jams) to become, along with his lifetime post as baseball’s evil Sith Lord, the game’s all-time home-run king. â†µ
â†µNot that this moment was all that wildly popular when it happened, but it should be noted that it was greeted a year ago with all the appropriate pomp and circumstance from all the appropriate circles. Play was interrupted for 10 minutes or so for an on-field celebration, a video was shown on the jumbotron with Hank Aaron’s congratulations, and Bonds himself gave an impromptu and surprisingly emotional speech with Willie Mays by his side. After much speculation on the question, Bud Selig was not in attendance, but he called Bonds later on to congratulate him, as did President Bush. San Francisco held a lavish parade in Barry’s honor. â†µâ†µ
â†µWhat a difference a year makes. Today Bonds is out of baseball, utterly alienated from San Francisco and under indictment for perjury and obstruction of justice. There has been talk of someone picking him up this season for the stretch run as a DH, and Bonds himself has intimated that he’d like to join the Yankees. But it’s clear that the stigma now attached to his name comes with a P.R. price-tag more dear than money. For this reason alone a still dangerous slugger sits on the sidelines, effectively banished. â†µâ†µ
â†µNo commemorative celebrations are planned for today’s anniversary, not in San Fran and not anywhere else, no fireworks or soft-focused “this is the time to remember”-type montages. Barry Bonds is now a living memorial to one of the darkest periods in baseball history, a chapter that the game is deep into the act of actively forgetting. In this case, however, collective memory-loss has a most unwieldy obstacle in its midst, the record book, where the home-run annals are ruled not by the Sultan of Swat or the courageous Aaron, but by a sullen tyrant who reigns in controversy and rampant ill will – a tarnished king for tarnished times. â†µâ†µ
This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.