Barry Bonds surpasses Hank Aaron, hits 756.
At approximately 8:51 pm, Pacific Standard Time, Barry Bonds turned on an inside fastball from Mike Bacsik, an occasional major league starter since 2001 whose time with the Dodgers in '07 is his first MLB experience since 2004. Bonds lifted his arms and watched as the ball's arc ended somewhere in the right-center field seats, and began the home run trot to end all home run trots.
The home run broke a 4-4 tie.
With the Twins scuffling in mediocrity, Tuesday night's record-making swing will be everywhere when we wake up on Wednesday morning. Sports talk radio, the front page of the sports section of any newspaper you read, the water cooler, over lunch, Good Morning America, yada yada yada. Bonds and/or the home run record have been discussed at length enough to induce vomit, and now that the record has finally been broken it doesn't mean the talk is going to cease. In fact, now the debate will begin in earnest. Asterisks, queries, suspicions, technicalities; everyone and their aunt's mother's grand-son's dog's owner's third cousin will have their take.
No matter what you think of Bonds or The Record, it was a big night in the world of baseball. Already an elite player of his generation, the second-generation baseball great...the godson of Willie Mays...will begin to re-set baseball's most hallowed record every time he launches another ball into the stratosphere.
Congratulations, Mr. Bonds.
Career Home Run Totals
Barry Bonds 756
Hank Aaron 755
Babe Ruth 714
Willie Mays 660
Sammy Sosa 604
Meanwhile, somewhere in Los Angeles...
...the next man on that list will watch highlights of the new home run champion. He'll watch Bonds raise his arms, over and over again; he'll hear the announcer's call time after time...BONDS...hits it high...hits it DEEEEEEEP...it iiss...OUT OF HERE!!!!!; he'll inevitably wonder where he would be right now if things had turned out differently.
On August third, Ken Griffey Jr. hit the 589th home run of his career. At 37 years old, The Kid has a decent chance of ending this season on the over side of 600 home runs. This year he's sporting a .901 OPS, 26 long-balls and his best BB:K ratio since 1993.
Between 2001 and 2006, Griffey played in only 60% of the Reds' games. Missing 418 games in that span, had he been able to remain healthy it's very likely that we'd be talking about him passing Aaron's 755 in 2009 at age 39.
Even if Griffey didn't have all those heart-wrenching injuries, he'd still be chasing Bonds in 2009 if he was able to catch Aaron. But this isn't what I'm thinking about. After Bud Selig's awkward silence in regards to the record, after his lip-service comments and appearances in regards to Bonds' chase of The Record, after the baseball public's general disinterest in the drama that culminated in Tuesday's home run, consider everything that this scenario has involved; including the person of Barry Bonds.
Then ask: What if it had been Ken Griffey Jr. looking to break the record?