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OTHER ITA SITES:
Barry Bonds and Home Run Number 756
Will Barry Bonds reach the 756 home run mark and eclipse Hammerin’ Hank Aaron? The controversial Barry Bonds certainly is a baseball legend in his own mind, but does he have enough star quality and MLB cache to keep him in the baseball limelight? Is he a has been or someone who should be a has been? The question many people are asking is simply this one— is Barry Bonds washed up? Many people believe it is time for Bonds to hang up his cleats. He has been injury plagued the last couple of seasons and has also been involved in Major League Baseball’s steroid controversy. In the past the slugger has admitted that he’s used steroids and contends that the drugs were administered unwittingly. Despite his use of performance enhancing drugs, there is no question that he has been one of the game’s most productive players.
Barry Bonds is chasing perhaps the greatest mark of them all-- the all-time Major League Baseball home run record. Currently Hank Aaron, who has 755, is the one that fans admire. Bonds also trails Babe Ruth, who accumulated 715 dingers.
He will start this season at 708 and will need either one outstanding year or two extremely productive ones to break the record. Many experts believe with the injuries he’s sustained over the past few seasons it will be hard for him to reach the plateau set by Aaron. Another problem with Bonds setting a new lifetime home run mark is that people believe it will not be a true record because the slugger used steroids.
If he does become the most prolific long ball hitter to ever stand at home plate, there will be some contending that he cheated in order to do so. Critics will claim that during some of his most productive seasons he was on steroids and could not have hit that many home runs without “the juice.” It’s not that Bonds didn’t have any ability; he was and still is a gifted athlete. The question is because he whacked at least some of his homers while on steroids will people respect the record the same way they have for Ruth and Aaron. That is the big question.
Bonds will definitely be in the spotlight regardless of what he does this season. As long as he continues to play, the story of him chasing Ruth and then Aaron’s record will be a hot baseball topic this season and possibly next.
The fact that he plays half of his games in San Francisco’s hitter friendly AT&T Park certainly favors Bonds accomplishing this goal. But he also has things working against him. Most pitchers will try to throw around him, not giving Bonds very much at which to swing. As the season wears on, this will affect him both physically and mentally.
Bonds has complained in the past about how many walks he receives and how they take a toll on his legs. Another problem that may prevent Bonds from breaking the home run record is that he’s in the National League and is required to play the field. He has indicated he would like to stay with the San Francisco Giants and will refuse a trade to an American League (AL) team. If he were to go to an AL team, it could prolong his career because he would be able to be a designated hitter and would not be required to play the field.
He has said that San Francisco is his home and he will retire before he’s traded to another team. There is no question that this season he’ll be under scrutiny, and if he doesn’t produce the media will be all over him. Reporters may ask if he is over the hill, unable to go long without steroids, or if he can possibly stay healthy enough to finish his quest for the record.
The fact remains that Barry Bonds is going for the record and baseball fans will certainly be watching to see if he can do it. If he closes in on the mark, there will probably be sellout crowds in stadiums across the United States hoping to catch a home run ball from the remarkable Bonds. He will have many obstacles to overcome if he is going to accomplish this great feat.
One thing is certain it will be interesting to see if he has the stamina to hold on long enough to break the record. If he fails there will be people saying he should have retired at the top of his game and not have come back to try to break the record. Fans of home run fever will be tuning in the watch the saga of Barry Bonds.
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