SportsProf

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Bud's Dilemma

To go or not to go, that is the question.

Bud Selig hasn't indicated whether he'll be present when Barry Bonds breaks Hank Aaron's all-time home run record.

Here are the reasons not to go: you've taken a big stand against steroids, you're conducting an investigation headed by the former Majority Leader of the United States Senate, no one's cooperating, and you are a born-again righteous "purity of the game" person and don't want this alleged transgressor getting the adulation that Henry Aaron rightfully deserved.

Here are the reasons to go: if you don't go, you're a hypocrite, because you, your then fellow-owners, the writers who can act as toadies, managers, general managers, the players' union -- everyone close to the game, in fact -- took a powder after the damaging, season-ending strike of 1994 and for many seasons thereafter fell in love with smaller parks and the giant men who were bashing the ball out of them. All of a sudden many parks had a carnival-like atmosphere, and guys like McGwire, Sosa and Bonds were the featured attractions. Baseball rebuilt its image and the owners for whom you front cashed in, big time. And where were you and the boys when all this was taking place? Counting the money. Another reason, not well articulated on ESPN Radio by Peter Gammons (who is very knowledgeable about the game but just dead wrong on this point and sounds terrible making his case, like someone who isn't taking the problem seriously -- Gammons doesn't even apologize for it and sounds like the septuagenarian roving minor league catching instructor who scratches his crotch in public) this morning, is that you'd be dishonoring the game if you didn't go or that every era had problems -- gambling, spit balls, alcohol, pep pills, you name it. So, why single this particular guy out and urinate on what should otherwise be a celebration?

Helluva choice, huh?

Jim Bouton's epochal words from "Ball Four" ring true: "If a pitcher could take a pill that would guarantee him a 20-win season even if it would take five years off his life, he would do it." And home run hitters would do so for the analagous 50 home-run season. All while the Lords of Baseball,Knights of the Keyboard and Squires of the Screen said absolutely nothing, even if the average size of a baseballer increased markedly from '94 on (just look at films from the '80's to see how much bigger players have gotten, and don't just say it's because of the nation-wide obesity epidemic or because of the hormones found in cows and chickens and therefore in our meals). There was something more to it.

So what do you do, Bud?

If you go, you won't look happy, and you think you're a hypocrite because you're not taking a stand against the Darth Vader of the Evil Empire of Steroids.

If you don't go, you'll look like a grudge-bearing sourpuss who is fighting over something that so far hasn't been proven.

Or, you'll look like someone who is taking a stand for something he believes in.

What would you do? What would you have Bud Selig do?

Pray that A-Rod goes on a home-run hitting tear and breaks Bonds' record within the next five to seven years. . . and that Barry Bonds goes away.

Or send Jose Canseco in your place.

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