|05-27-2007, 11:31 AM||#1|
Box of Frogs
Join Date: Mar 2006
Lupica on Griffey/Bonds
Great article from today's NY Daily News.
Barry easy to forget Junior
Sunday, May 27th 2007, 4:00 AM
He hit another one Friday night, got a little closer to a magic home run number, got closer at the same time to passing one of the most famous home run hitters in all of baseball history. It is 19 seasons for him now in the big leagues, and he is not what he was. But he is still something to see, especially when he connects the way he did against Paul Maholm of the Pirates. Not Barry Bonds doing that. Ken Griffey Jr.
Of course you know it wasn't supposed to be Bonds trying to pass the great Henry Aaron. It was supposed to be Junior.
The one he hit on Friday night was No. 574 for his career. Griffey passed Harmon Killebrew on the all-time home run list and next comes Mark McGwire at 583, McGwire the one who was first to No. 62, which meant the first to pass Roger Maris for the single-season home run record, McGwire being the first to hit 70 home runs in a baseball season.
After that, if Griffey stays healthy, and that is always an "if" with him, maybe he can get to 600 this season. And maybe he can still get to 700.
Once we thought he had to be the first of the modern players to get to 600, 700, maybe even 800. There was a time, before the injuries started to come with Griffey, when we thought he would be the one to get to 60 again, he would be the one to pass Ruth and Maris and even Aaron eventually. It never happened that way. Now all the famous home run seasons and home run records belong to others and it is the same with Griffey as it was with Mickey Mantle, because of the way Mantle's body betrayed him, and there is no way to talk about either career without all the might-have-beens.
It was supposed to be Junior Griffey doing this. Bonds, before his body changed and his career changed, used to call him "the golden child." Bonds said it didn't bother him, the other guy being the golden child, even though it clearly did, even though it was clear that Bonds thought he was a better ballplayer, even before the power surge, than Griffey.
Then it bothered him that two more guys, McGwire and Sammy Sosa - who he didn't think were in his class - had become the home run kings of baseball.
And if you believe "Game of Shadows," Bonds decided to start using what he felt they were using and his body changed and his career changed and then he had 73 home runs and then he was passing Ruth and now he comes into New York this week and Shea Stadium, a handful of home runs behind Aaron. It will be a joyless spectacle, the way it is all spectacle now with Bonds.
You never know when his body will break down for good, so these three games this week, if Bonds plays them all, might be the last chance New York gets to see him. He started out hot this season, 10 home runs real fast, and lately has been in decline, and even his manager, Bruce Bochy, was quoted this week about how fast old age can come up on you in baseball. He was quick to point out that he still thinks Bonds can hit them out of sight.
Still: Bonds is coming up on 43. Maybe there is nothing he or anybody else can take that can make him young forever.
But then, you never know.
Through the 1999 season, Bonds having three more seasons in the big leagues than Griffey in the books, he had 445 career home runs.
Griffey had 398. Now it is all this time later and Griffey hasn't played 130 games in a season since 2000 and Bonds went on the five-year tear during which he hit 258 home runs and now he was the home run king of baseball, he was the headliner of all the suspected drug users, the heavyweight of the division.
Not because he was black. Or because he treated people badly for so much of his career. Because he was suddenly having a career, after the age of 35, that didn't look like the one he'd had before 35, the way he himself didn't look like that guy. The idea that Bonds has ever been some kind of victim, even a victim of life's circumstances, has always been a bad joke.
Can I tell you with certainty that any big player in baseball is clean, not a suspect in any way? Of course not. There is no way of knowing. Again: You either believe the reporting in "Game of Shadows" or not. And if the authors of the book made it all up, then ask yourself a question:
Where are the lawyers?
Bonds comes to New York this week, and he continues his chase of what is supposed to be the most glamorous record in sports. It is another occasion to wonder how this all could have been different, if it had been somebody else, if it had been the home run king we thought we were getting 10 years ago, when Junior was still young.
* * *
The NBA draft lottery is dumber than that guy Paul who teed up Rudy Giuliani in the last Republican debate.
All things considered, I thought my daughter took Blake not winning "American Idol" reasonably well.
You know why I can't wait for Roger Clemens to become one of those Yankee starting pitchers?
Because then I don't have to read about one more of his bullpen sessions in Houston.
As expensive as those sessions are.
How come we only hear about the Yankees wanting to void Jason Giambi's contract when he's 2-for-30?
Sometimes it seems like it's been much longer than five months since everybody wanted to let the air out of Eli Manning's tires.
Oh boy, boy oh boy, we can call off the hunger strike now that George Steinbrenner issued the kind of statement everybody still wants him to release.
But somebody needs to explain to me what a "big hook" is.
In my world, that's always been a ball off the fifth tee that just won't stop going left.
Speaking of golf: I am starting to hear that if Tiger Woods doesn't win your U.S. Open at Oakmont next month, that his new swing coach, Hank Haney, might not make it out of the summer.
Especially if Phil Mickelson continues to show early speed under his new coach, and Tiger's old guy, Butch Harmon.
I asked a golf pro the other day just how good Harmon is and the guy laughed.
"Put it this way," he said. "Nobody ever gets worse."
After all the years and all the miles - and even taking into consideration that the hitters he was facing were Florida Marlins - El Duque was still something to see on Friday night going through 17 guys in a row.
I asked Keith Hernandez the other day who was the Hernandez on this Mets team and he didn't even hesitate:
"Lo Duca" was the answer.
If you can get far enough out on the LIE to pick up the signal, WEHM (96.9 FM) is one of the great rock stations of all time.
Jack Cafferty, after such a fine career in television, has finally found his best part, which means he's like the H.L. Mencken of cable news.
If I'm drafting high in this NBA draft once Oden and Durant are gone, I jump at the chance to get Mike Conley of Ohio State, who is going to be one of those point guards, and for a long time.
Somebody needs to explain to me, in the current sports landscape, why I am still supposed to think David Stern has insights into running a professional sports league that nobody else could possibly have.
If the Spurs win again, which means that Tim Duncan gets his fourth NBA title, how can you not say that he has been the most dominant player of his time?
When I heard Keith Richards was going to be in the new "Pirates" movie, my first thought was whether that meant vertical, or horizontal?
Okay, here's the deal, and it pains me to say this:
As he got deeper into the game, Jack Bauer faded on "24" like a Yankee starting pitcher.
|05-27-2007, 12:24 PM||#2|
Greatness In The Making
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Re: Lupica on Griffey/Bonds
"I could watch video of Griffey swinging all day. It's like baseball porn." - C. Trent Rosecrans
2008 Reds Record When I Attend: 9W - 5L
2009 Reds Record When I Attend: 1W - 2L
2010 Reds Record When I Attend: 1W - 0L
2011 Reds Record When I Attend: 0W - 1L
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