Firstly, I want to say that Hank Aaron did enough. I've accused Hank of being a hater in past posts. But he did enough. I'm satisfied. It wasn't necessarily personal. Hank's sentiments weren't all that heartfelt. And they were a surprise to most of us, although they were recorded a month ago. Hank did the best that he could and that's all that's required.
"It is a great accomplishment which required skill, longevity and determination. Throughout the past century, the home run has held a special place in baseball and I have been privileged to hold this record for 33 of those years. I move over now and offer my best wishes to Barry and his family on this historic achievement. My hope today, as it was on that April evening in 1974, is that the achievement of this record will inspire others to chase their own dreams."
Aaron and Bud Selig conspired on what was the best way to minimally acknowledge Bonds, but I feel fine with discussing Barry Bonds as the home run king by opening up with a Hank Aaron mention. They are forever linked. But Bonds is separate now.
I hope you enjoyed the moment.
No matter what your feelings specifically are about Barry, you've got to love the game more than the innuendo. Everybody at AT&T Park was genuinely exhalted.
I loved it from start to finish.
The hit itself. Not blingy all the way into the Cove, but hit to one of the deepest areas of the park. The crowd, who clapped for 20 something minutes. The family (hat tip to Barry who, like Tom Glavine, acknowledged the start of school as a major source of pressure). The cajones and class of Mick Bacsik, who wasn't afraid to challenge Bonds with pitches and become a part of history. The TV announcers, who saved the other side of the story until several minutes after the milestone. Bud Selig, a jerk who doesn't know how to act in public, managed to find enough cell phone minutes to call and congratulate Barry. ESPN/MLB who saved the steroids PSA until the top of the eighth inning. Willie Mays, the devoted godfather.
And Barry, who seemed genuinely ecstatic and respectful of the accomplishment - who doted over Willie, smiled genuinely at the Hank Aaron tribute and almost broke down at the hint of his father Bobby's name crossing his lips.
"When I saw Hank Aaron that made everything. We've always loved him. He's always the home run king."
He's a jerk. He's a juicer. But he's a baseball hero. It's over now. Barry Lamar Bonds is the home run king. No more debate. It is what it is. Just enjoy it.