SportsProf

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Sunday, May 07, 2006

Live-Blogging Phillies-Giants -- Stupidity from Joe Morgan and Peter Gammons

I am watching the ESPN telecast and have come away with two thoughts: 1) Joe Morgan is out to lunch on Barry Bonds, and 2) Peter Gammons still is too close to the subject matter and can't assess Barry Bonds critically. Gentlemen, the guy in all likelihood used banned substances, might have lied to a grand jury and seemingly, from most accounts, isn't a good guy. He's brought this mess upon himself. Those points, I think, are not in dispute.

So Joe Morgan comes up with the gem tonight that the fans just can't root for anyone who is chasing the home run records of someone (Babe Ruth) who was bigger than the game at the time he played it. Morgan in essence said that the fans found reasons to root against Roger Maris and Hank Aaron, and now they're finding reasons to root against Barry Bonds. Well, the circumstances today are different, aren't they? It wasn't right that the fans weren't as joyous about either Maris's or Aaron's exploits, but does that mean that they aren't right about Bonds' chase? The reasons are totally different, aren't they? Maris and Aaron weren't villains; they just happened to be chasing a record of the best player in the history of the game. Bonds, on the other hand, not only had the temerity to challenge a titan, but the chutzpah to play with chemistry to do so. As the sign at Citizens Bank Park said so eloquently on Friday night, "Babe Ruth did it on hot dogs and beer." If there is enmity at Bonds, it's because of the means, which the end -- breaking the record -- does not justify. C'mon Joe, let's take the blinders off when it comes to Bonds. Yes, it's sad that there isn't joy in this record chase, but Barry Bonds has brought it upon himself.

As for Gammons, he had access to Bonds tonight (and perhaps was the only member of the media to do have it), and remarked that Bonds is disappointed because his chase of the record is so joyless. Gammons reported this in a matter-of-fact fashion, perhaps as an objective reporter, or perhaps as someone who still doesn't get it -- that he and all other baseball writers missed a huge story and whiffed with the bases loaded on the biggest story of their careers. To me, it sounded like Gammons (and Morgan, for that matter) had pity for Bonds.

But where's their concern for the average fan, for the kids who looked at the home run feats of Bonds, McGwire, Palmeiro and Sosa the way they like "Star Wars" and "Harry Potter" only to be told that even the baseball heroics weren't real? Who is standing up for them?

Say it ain't so, Joe!

Dig a little deeper, Peter.

For the sake of the fans and the game.

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