April 19, 2004

Barry Bonds has hit more than 660 HRs,: but is it really that big of a deal? Tony Kornheiser, Rob Neyer, and some here don't seem to think so. What's your take?

posted by Bag Man to baseball at 02:05 PM - 32 comments

I agree with Neyer. Tremendous achievement, but stunningly overplayed by the media.

posted by jeffmshaw at 02:22 PM on April 19

it was a huge deal before he did it. but freakish late-career production, as a result of unproven but apparent steriod use, puts a taint on Bonds' achievement. Awesome hitter, too bad about the friend choice.

posted by garfield at 02:24 PM on April 19

i'll give the guy the benefit of the doubt until it's proven that he used steroids. as much as i might dislike the guy, the media has always tried to mess with bonds because of their mutual dislike of eachother. until then, i won't believe either of them until there's cold hard evidence in front of my eyes. what's interesting to me....why aren't post-season hr's, or any post-season stats for that matter, considered to be part of a players career totals? hard for me to stomach that a hr in april counts and a hr in october doesn't count toward career totals.

posted by oliver_crunk at 02:35 PM on April 19

As much as I hate Barry Bonds, I too want to give him the benefit of the doubt about the steroids. Plus, I still believe the baseballs are "juiced" and that has as much to do with things as the players being juiced. Speaking of steroids, did anyone else see how tiny Mark McGuire looked in the pictures at Busch stadium? I saw at least 1 picture in USAToday that reminded me of his rookie year. USAToday online didn't have pictures, and I haven't seen anything on Yahoo! either.

posted by scully at 02:42 PM on April 19

I would put the all-time homer record up there with the single-season homer record, so I disagree with Neyer and that pretentious blowhard whose radio show couldn't have been cancelled soon enough for my taste (let's call him Tony). Reaching third place on the list merited the wall-to-wall coverage that ESPN gave the event. The fact that Bonds now has only two people standing in his way, and could conceivably catch Babe Ruth with a monster season, is a big deal.

posted by rcade at 02:42 PM on April 19

McGwire doesn't seem particularly runty in the photos I saw.

posted by rcade at 02:44 PM on April 19

I'd put the all-time homer record up with the single-season homer record, too. That's why I think it's a big deal ... ... when someone is coming close to breaking that record. Moving into third? C'mon.

posted by jeffmshaw at 02:55 PM on April 19

why aren't post-season hr's, or any post-season stats for that matter, considered to be part of a players career totals? It would make career player totals meaningless for comparison. On topic, I think its a big story, of course, but considering the way stats have changed over they years, hard for me to care all that much.

posted by justgary at 03:21 PM on April 19

I think this is a huge deal, and for proof, here's some context: who else has gotten close enough to sniff the record? No one. Despite whatever bad stuff I might say about Bonds (and trust me, I say a lot of bad stuff about Bonds), the guy has done what just two other people in the history of baseball have been able to do pound out more than 660 home runs. Sure, there are guys out there who we think might catch Aaron one day. But people have been thinking that forever about all sorts of players (Griff Jr., are your ears ringing?). The truth is, only Bonds has made it this far, and he deserves the credit for that, no matter what you think about the self-centered, moody putz. A better question might be do you think Barry has a chance to catch Aaron? I think he does. He could easily pound out 50 more this year, which would move him right there with the Babe and just 40 behind Hank. Yeah, he's 40 ... has that made a difference so far? Speaking of steroids, did anyone else see how tiny Mark McGuire looked in the pictures at Busch stadium? I saw at least 1 picture in USA Today that reminded me of his rookie year. As for Big Mac looking small, I guess you haven't seen him in those new Hardee's ads. He still looks pretty damned big in those. There was also an interesting wrap piece in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about Big Mac Day and some of his thoughts, including his saying he hasn't watched nine full innings since he left the game, and his turning over $124K in golf winnings to a Cardinal charity for kids. Neat stuff.

posted by wfrazerjr at 04:47 PM on April 19

In soccer-type football players appear to count all 'meaningful' (that is, not firnedly) matches in stat counts though there are commonly references to different sorts of categories--club, league, international and so forth. I see no reason not to count playoff games in the US.

posted by billsaysthis at 05:10 PM on April 19

I watched Bonds play yesterday against the Dodgers. He went 4-4 (Single, Double & 2 Homers and 5 RBIs). He proved to me that you can't pitch to him. Granted it was Jeff Weaver, but Weaver threw some very nice pitches and he hit all the spots. In fact, I think the only runs Weaver gave up all day were to Bonds. He basically handled the rest of the Giants. If I was Bonds and I was on the juice, I would have stopped at some point last year when the feds got involved, that way giving my body time to clean itself up, yet there has been zero decline in his skills. I think the guy is just a machine.

posted by usfbull at 05:22 PM on April 19

McGwire did set the record for saying "stuff" in an interview. "Well, I'm really not in touch with any of that stuff because I usually hear it from friends and stuff, and I tell them I don't want to really hear about any of that stuff," McGwire said Saturday. "I don't really have any opinion on any of that stuff. It's just very unfortunate."

posted by usfbull at 05:24 PM on April 19

Is big deal. I'm no Bonds fan (and was a detractor when he played for the Pirates: Reds fan checking in here) but you can't apply steroids to a batting average. (Or can you? Bat speed steroids? Eye sight steroids?) When anyone, regardless of the era, live balls or workout regimen approaches a record such as this it is a remarkable achievement: that someone can be in the game for twenty years in remarkable enough. Will I call him the greatest home run hitter of all time? No. But give the guy credit for the numbers. It's one of the beautiful parts of the game.

posted by Dick Paris at 05:29 PM on April 19

In soccer-type football players appear to count all 'meaningful' (that is, not firnedly) matches in stat counts though there are commonly references to different sorts of categories--club, league, international and so forth. I see no reason not to count playoff games in the US. If that was done is baseball (other any sport in the US for that matter) players who played on good teams would have an inherent and unfair advantage over player who played for worse teams. Personal records are just that, person records, and not team records.

posted by Bag Man at 05:38 PM on April 19

I'm no Bonds fan (and was a detractor when he played for the Pirates: Reds fan checking in here) but you can't apply steroids to a batting average. (Or can you? Bat speed steroids? Eye sight steroids?) Of course steroids affect bat speed. The stronger you are, the faster you can accelerate that big piece of wood. I think I read an explanation somewhere of how this can make you a more consistent hitter: Since you can get the bat to move quicker, you can wait fractionally longer until you start your swing. This gives you a small advantage when it comes to judging pitches, which over time translates to a higher batting average.

posted by molafson at 07:37 PM on April 19

i heard that steriods fucks up your eyesight though.

posted by goddam at 09:12 PM on April 19

Bag Man, as long as the game is not an exhibition, why shouldn't personal effort count towards personal records? Further, better teams generally have (on average, I suppose) better players so one would expect to see better career stats. Your argument doesn't address this at all, nor why it's accepted in the ROW but not here.

posted by billsaysthis at 10:27 PM on April 19

Bag Man, as long as the game is not an exhibition, why shouldn't personal effort count towards personal records? Further, better teams generally have (on average, I suppose) better players so one would expect to see better career stats. Your argument doesn't address this at all, nor why it's accepted in the ROW but not here. Tell that to Ryne Sandberg, Erine Banks, etc. Why should hall of fame players, no less, suffer because he played for bad teams? It's simple better teams can be in more games. More games gives you more opportunities to hit and generate stats. Than means that players on the Yankees will have an opportunity generate stats that the players on the Expos or Cubs. Would should say Sammy Sosa suffer and Jason Giambi prosper because Giambi plays for a traditionally better team? Fair just seems fair. They should rise and fall under the same or similar circumstances. How can you compare stats of two players when one player has had many more bites at the apple than another player? The records are for a season (or a career of seasons), and a post-season is a post-season.

posted by Bag Man at 02:49 PM on April 20

Wouldn't it be something if Barry Bonds never hit another homerun and was stuck on 666 forever?

posted by jasonspaceman at 03:12 PM on April 20

How can you compare stats of two players when one player has had many more bites at the apple than another player? What about injuries? Certain players get far fewer at-bats during the season (and sometimes over a career) because they're injured. How can you compare them to their peers who have remained healthy and played in more games?

posted by rocketman at 03:27 PM on April 20

And on-topic, I think 660 is a big deal, but not that much of a big deal. Remember back in '98, when television stations would interrupt normal programming for Mark McGwire's at-bats? Now, *that* was a big deal.

posted by rocketman at 03:30 PM on April 20

What about injuries? Certain players get far fewer at-bats during the season (and sometimes over a career) because they're injured. How can you compare them to their peers who have remained healthy and played in more games? Injuries are part of game and they seem to affect players on good teams and bad teams regardless of the how good the team is.

posted by Bag Man at 03:44 PM on April 20

Bag Man, counting playoffs towards career records would not change the single season records and we already count career postseason stats in most sports I am aware of. Further, these days at least, most good players on bad teams could easily change that by taking a lower salary if that is the barrier keeping them from a better team. Sorry but I cannot argree with you.

posted by billsaysthis at 07:08 PM on April 20

Professional basketball, football and hockey don't count their stats toward career totals.

posted by wfrazerjr at 07:32 PM on April 20

Bag Man, counting playoffs towards career records would not change the single season records and we already count career postseason stats in most sports I am aware of. Further, these days at least, most good players on bad teams could easily change that by taking a lower salary if that is the barrier keeping them from a better team. Sorry but I cannot argree with you. Then what's your beef? All you want is the official tally to include playoff stats? Can't you just use a calculator to get total stats? There is a bright line between playoff and regular season and the stats tally merely reflects that. I feel your regime is grossly unfair. Under the your proposed solution would bias teams that are already good even more. I don't want the Yankee to rule a 1000 year dynasty while all other teams are left behind. Such a solution would make things worse, not better. I'm sorry that I cannot justify a unfair world-view that artificially perpetuates continued dominance of a few teams to the detriment of the game.

posted by Bag Man at 07:48 PM on April 20

Bag Man, if what you said would actually come to pass we would see it in footy and that's not the case. Since this is a subjective argument I don't see either of us convincing the other at this point, eh?

posted by billsaysthis at 08:44 PM on April 20

Bag Man, if what you said would actually come to pass we would see it in footy and that's not the case. Free agency in baseball, and other American sports, allows for greater and freer player movement than the transfer fee system of European football. That's likely why it has not come to pass as much in footy. Regardless, I just feel that your regime is simply unfair.

posted by Bag Man at 10:09 AM on April 21

Career records would be meaningless if playoffs were counted. Regardless of how players moved around to maximize their chances of being in the playoffs (something that was impossible prior to free agency), there would still be inequities in the number of playoff games played by two comparable athletes with otherwise comparable careers. Also, there's a huge disparity between today's expanded playoffs and the much smaller number of games played in the past. Derek Jeter has played in 99 postseason games in eight years. Babe Ruth played in 41 his entire career.

posted by rcade at 10:14 AM on April 21

I would like to interrupt this thread to say that, although it has only been 14 games, Barry Bonds is hitting .514/.673/1.378. .514/.673/1.378! That's amazing. He's still a douchebag.

posted by corpse at 11:00 AM on April 21

corpse, don't forget to mention that his eight dingers in seven games is a new NL record though of course no one else on the Giants can get on base so the team is 3-5 over the last eight.

posted by billsaysthis at 11:10 AM on April 21

i haven't been that tuned in to baseball yet but when i noticed A-rod was hitting .196/.304/.589 i thought that was pretty amazing too.

posted by gspm at 11:23 AM on April 21

I'm a continent away from him, but from where I stand, this is a huge deal. Baseball is more stat-driven than any other "major" sport anywhere, and so third place would matter here more than anywhere else, especially when it's as high-profile a record as career homers. Yes, he needs a ring to cap it all off, and this doesn't look like his year for that, but he's still hitting 'em out, and he can't be currently juicing, at least not in any measurable way. He's a freak of nature, and it's fun to watch him swing a bat. I wouldn't want to have to interview him every night, but they pay other guys to do that, so there you go.

posted by chicobangs at 05:36 PM on April 21

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