I've changed my mind. Bonds breaking McGwire's HR record would be great.

KeithH

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A few weeks ago, I said that I did not want Barry Bonds to break Mark McGwire's home run record. This was because I don't really like Barry Bonds and because I thought the home run race put on by Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa in 1998 was very special. However, given the tragedies suffered at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and in southwestern Pennsylvania last week, I feel Bonds setting the home run record would be great. America needs the spectacle of Barry Bonds hitting home run number 71 right now. Go Barry!
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Clinton McClure

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I, for one, am all for Bonds breaking McGwire's record. I think McGwire is one of the best players on the field today and, if Bonds can best the HR record, he will truely accomplish a great feat.
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Jeff_A

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If America needs anything right now, it sure as hell is not Barry Bonds.
WHY NOT? He is possibly the best all-around player of his generation (bar none) - not a one-year phenomenon.
Go, Barry!

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Scott Merryfield

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if Bonds can best the HR record, he will truely accomplish a great feat.
Considering how many balls are rocketing over the fences in major league baseball these days, I think breaking the home run record is not the great feat it once was considered. Before the '94 strike, a 50 home run season was considered a great accomplishment. Since the strike, a 50 HR season is no big deal -- too many guys are doing it. Until a couple years ago, only two players in history reached 60, now that number is threatened or passed every season.
You can thank a juiced ball, lousy pitching from expansion and smaller ballparks for the devaluation of the home run. MLB used more home runs to bring the fans back from the debacle of the '94 World Series cancellation. After all, you can't tell me that the hitters got that much better in just a couple of years.
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KeithH

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James, no offense, but I am a bit tired of people jumping on others for showing an interest in something other than the tragedies from last week. I think people are too quick in certain situations to label others as insensitive just because they show that at a particular moment, their full focus is not on the recent tragedies. Alloting time to other affairs does not equate with forgetting. For many, it is simply a way to go on with one's life, which we should do in my opinion. As for the intended subject of this thread, baseball is a great way to show patriotism. Baseball, after all, is America's Pastime.
The word "need" should not be taken so literally. Barry Bonds on-field heroics will not change what happened last week. That is certainly true. However, do not underestimate the power of sports, especially great on-field triumphs, to bring people together and make people feel good when everywhere we turn, little else does. All you have to do is look at the crowd at last night's Devils-Rangers pre-season hockey game or the crowds at baseball games across the nation this week to see how profound an impact, in a positive sense, sports can have on our society. It was necessary and proper for sports to take a back seat last week in the shadow of the tragedies in New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, but the media and fans alike have expressed the need for sports to resume and have openly embraced the games this week.
With all the depressing news on TV seemingly 24/7 these days, Barry Bonds gives Americans something to cheer about. Don't underestimate the good that his efforts could do.
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KeithH

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Scott, if Barry Bonds breaks Mark McGwire's home run record, I am not going to proclaim Bonds the best power hitter the game of baseball has ever seen. Nor will I necessarily deem McGwire worthy of such a title. Even if either or both breaks Hank Aaron's all-time home run record, I will not outright consider one of them the best power hitter in history.
My interest in Bonds breaking McGwire's record transcends baseball's reach. To me, Bonds hitting home run number 71 would mean more than just a baseball record. It would give Americans something to cheer about at a time when we need it most. Sports in general gives us that. Bonds is just doing it on center stage with more fans watching. Although I have never been a Barry Bonds fan, I am pulling for him.
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[Edited last by KeithH on September 20, 2001 at 10:04 PM]
 

Mitty

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He is possibly the best all-around player of his generation (bar none) - not a one-year phenomenon.
That's not exactly fair. McGwire is not a one year phenomenon either. You don't hit more than 500 career HRs by fluke. I agree with your assessment that Bonds is a better all around player though. His multiple MVP trophies are a testament to that.
 

James D S

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...but I am a bit tired of people jumping on others for showing an interest in something other than the tragedies from last week.
So am I. So why are you addressing that to me?
I just don't think Barry is good for baseball, period. Forget the tragedy, I wouldn't insult that situation by thinking Barry could have an effect on it. I just don't appreciate Barry period.
I identify with nothing about him.
So, none offense taken, sorry for the confusion.
 

Patrick_S

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You can thank a juiced ball, lousy pitching from expansion and smaller ballparks for the devaluation of the home run.
While I'm not going to debate the pitching and expansion issues I will take exception to the "smaller ballparks" statement.
If you look at a lot of the parks that Ruth and even Aaron played in you'll see that over all parks really haven't gotten smaller.
The main reason players are hitting more home runs is that they are bigger, stronger and quicker then the players of the past.
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DavidY

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IMO, Barry Bonds is a big-time jerk and primo donna...just ask his teammates, I sure that they would agree for the most part. Like the old saying goes, there is no "I" in team. Although he is definately one of the best players in baseball, he may also be the biggest jerk in sports today.
Just my opinion, of course. YMMV.
Dave
 

KeithH

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David,
I don't like Barry Bonds either. I will always remember him for the fight he had with Jim Leyland during spring training while with the Pirates years ago. Honestly, he tried to charge not only his manager, but a then-60+ year old man. I also remember the time he was on ESPN some years ago while in the midst of contract negotiations and said he would play for $1 because he loves baseball so much. I don't recall if he was still with the Pirates or not, but the team he was negotiating with should have taken him up on it. Too bad baseball has a minimum salary.

You said,
quote: there is no "I" in team[/quote]
Yes, but there is "me" in team. I think Barry Bonds knows that.

Again, I don't like Bonds, but a lot of fans will be at Giants games the remainder of the season cheering him on, and I think a player hitting no. 71 would be great right now, even if it is Bonds. It should be noted that even with his ego, Bonds attacked a member of the press a few days ago when asked about the significance of baseball in light of last week's events. His attitude was refreshing. I feel we need sports now, but it's nice to see a professional athlete, especially Bonds, not self-absorbed for a change.
James,
I too am sorry for the misunderstanding. No problem here.

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[Edited last by KeithH on September 21, 2001 at 02:05 PM]
 

Brian Perry

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quote: The main reason players are hitting more home runs is that they are bigger, stronger and quicker then the players of the past.[/quote]
Not true. You think Luis Gonzalez is stronger than Mickey Mantle? Quicker than Willie Mays? If it were just a matter of players being stronger, shouldn't pitchers be stronger (and better) as well?
In addition to the horrendous pitching we are seeing these days, there are many aspects of ballpark design contributing to obscene offensive numbers. Smaller overall dimensions, more parks at high altitudes, and a big loss of foul territory all factor into advantages for the hitter.
Remember, Barry Bonds has been around awhile and has never neared this type of production. His slugging percentage this year is 255 points (!) or almost 50% above his career numbers and is threatening Babe Ruth's all-time record. There's a clear explanation for it, and it's called Pac Bell Park.
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[Edited last by Brian Perry on September 21, 2001 at 07:32 AM]
 

Scott Merryfield

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The main reason players are hitting more home runs is that they are bigger, stronger and quicker then the players of the past.
I have to disagee, too, Patrick. Players did not suddenly become bigger, stronger and quicker from 1991 to 1998. When Cecil Fielder reached the 50 HR mark in '91, he was the first major leaguer to do so in 14 years. Now guys that would not have been able to hit 20 HR's in the 70's or 80's are reaching the 50 mark. And as Brian stated, Barry Bonds did not get bigger, faster and stronger miraculously this year.
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Mark Pfeiffer

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I could really care less. The way homers have been flying the last few years, I think they have become devalued. It was exciting when McGwire and Sosa were chasing the record because it hadn't been glimpsed in a long time. Now it seems like a challenger rises every year. Clemens' 20-1 record is more impressive to me than some of this season's home run totals.
Plus, Bonds has singlehandedly helped kick my a** in fantasy baseball.

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Allen Hirsch

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Brian-
you're way off base with your attribution of Bonds' power surge to PacBell Park.
PacBell may be the ONLY fair park built in the past 10+ years (fair as in it's pitching and hitting neutral) - ALL the other new parks - Coors, Enron, etc. are hitters' parks, except Comerica, which is a pitchers' park.
I have Giants season tickets, and I can assure you, those HRs Barry has hit at PacBell have NOT been cheapies - most of 'em land in McCovey Cove, which is at least 400 ft. in RF. In fact, the DEEPEST part of the park is right-center, which is 421 ft. - that's deeper than all but one or two MLB parks, I believe. (It is only 309 ft. down the RF line at PacBell, but Barry has hit no more than one or two screaming line drives all season that took advantage of that - and the wall is about 20 ft. high there, so it's no cheapie to hit one that actually clears that wall.) Let's put it this way - there have been 16 HRs hit into McCovey Cove on the fly out of PacBell in 2 seasons. 15 of those 16 have been hit by Barry. If PacBell were so damn easy to hit HRs out of - wouldn't Barry's percentage be more like 40-50%, rather than 94%??
After all that disagreement about PacBell, I will agree that OTHER ballparks are more hitter-friendly, on balance, in the last decade's new design. Expansion has also diluted the pitching. It also seems more young pitchers with great stuff "learn" to pitch at the MLB baseball level, instead of in the minors. The ball probably is juiced from pre-'94, as well - that's why 60+ HR now is what 50+ used to be, IMHO.
I could also write an essay about Barry as a player and person, but I'll save that for another time
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Patrick_S

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quote: In addition to the horrendous pitching we are seeing these days, there are many aspects of ballpark design contributing to obscene offensive numbers. Smaller overall dimensions, more parks at high altitudes, and a big loss of foul territory all factor into advantages for the hitter.[/quote]
A swing and a MISS! Sorry could not help avoid the baseball reference.
Brain you need to do some research. If you compare the vast majority of ballparks that Ruth played in to the newer parks being built today you would find that pre-multipurpose parks also had very small foul territories. As for the over all dimensions they are pretty much the same.
So in fact, today’s new parks are getting back to baseball's roots.
Also your comparison of Luis Gonzalez to Mantle and Mays is a straw man argument. You picked two out of the thousands who have played and compared them Luis. To be more accurate if you were to compare Gonzalez to the majority of players that played in the fifties and sixties you would find that Luis is indeed stronger and better conditioned then most. By the way when I was talking about speed I was referring to bat speed.
I will say this, which almost every baseball will agree with: Is Gonzalez in better over all condition then Mantle and Mays? YES. While Mantle and Mays were great players, they like must players in their times didn't work that hard on conditioning.
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[Edited last by Patrick_S on September 21, 2001 at 12:25 PM]
 

Brian Perry

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quote: As for the over all dimensions they are pretty much the same.[/quote]
I'll have to do some more research, but I doubt that is true. Practically all stadiums today have a center field wall at or near the minimum permitted by the rules, which is 400 feet. Yankee Stadium was an absolute cavern in left and center field before they brought in the fences. Most changes aren't as dramatic, but a change of even five feet makes a big difference. There are virtually no recent examples of fences being moved farther out.
quote: I will say this, which almost every baseball will agree with: Is Gonzalez in better over all condition then Mantle and Mays? YES. While Mantle and Mays were great players, they like must players in their times didn't work that hard on conditioning.[/quote]
How are you measuring overall condition? If you think that Gonzalez is stronger, or faster, or has a quicker bat than Mantle had, you're crazy. Mantle hit the ball farther than anyone EVER and was the fastest player in baseball (until his knees gave out). Maybe Gonzalez has less body fat, but for baseball-related skills, there is no comparison.
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[Edited last by Brian Perry on September 21, 2001 at 01:47 PM]
 

KeithH

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The home run has devalued so much over the last few years, I don't think any serious baseball fan puts much stock in the record now, anyway.
Serious or not, fans are cramming into parks to see Bonds hit. When it comes to baseball, ESPN can't stop talking about Bonds either. I won't disagree with the idea that the home run has become devalued, but there certainly is interest in what Bonds is doing.
Brian, I'm sure Luis Gonzalez wouldn't put himself in Mickey Mantle's class either.

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DaveBB

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Remember; McGwire had to make his record hitting playing home games in Busch Stadium and road games in big parks like the Astrodome and Pac Bell Park. If McGwire played his home games in San Fran and had a few more games in the far-too-small Enron Field his record would have been 75 or 80.
Bonds record will not mean as much because of the new smaller baseball stadiums.
 

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