Monday, May 19, 2008

Time To Move On, Old Man

As much respect as I have for Hank Aaron, I think he would be wise to stay away from proclamations such as this:

“I still consider myself the home-run king...This is advice from an old man who has been a lot of places, seen a lot of things. Be careful before you make choices. Avoid shortcuts. They are quick fixes and unrewarding.”

Common sense dictates that we conclude Barry Bonds’s 762 career homers as somewhat invalidated. Nevertheless, the concept of the asterisk is preposterous. You can’t undo history. You can’t pretend that every one of those 762 homeruns didn’t happen. As much as some people might be offended that the official baseball record lists potentially compromised statistics, the fact remains that these statistics count as much as the ones we deem above reproach.

It does Hank Aaron no good to make these sorts of statements. Racism marred his ascension to the homerun title. But the truth is that just as Aaron wants to rationalize his primacy on the all-time list by bringing up the steroids issue, one could mention that Aaron had the benefit of an additional 3,966 at-bats when he outpaced Babe Ruth. Had Ruth gotten an extra 3,966 at-bats and hit homeruns at his regular frequency (1 HR/11.80 AB), he would have ended up with 1,048 for his career.

Granted, that’s a ridiculous argument to make. But so is harboring sour grapes that someone passed you on the all-time homerun list. Get over it.

No comments: