Bonds’ injury, mood may derail the race to 756

Brian Sabean, Felipe Alou, and many fantasy owners won’t be sleeping too well tonight because today was the day that the beleaguered Barry Bonds – All Star and fantasy stud extraordinaire – shocked the baseball world. Facing a bum knee and intense media scrutiny, Bonds announced on Tuesday that he may not play this season.

As the Associated Press reported, Bonds described himself as physically and mentally “done.? Blaming his knee, his age, and the pressure put on him by the media, Bonds seemed dejected and dispirited leaving many to wonder if the one of the game’s biggest stars wants to leave the spotlight of the steroid scandal and the hunt for Hank Aaron’s home run record.

The timing of Bonds’ announcement came after a tumultuous week and tumultuous off-season for the slugger. Many in the media were disappointed that Bonds did not testify in front of the Congressional committee panel last week as part of the investigation into steroids. Then, on Sunday, the news broke that Bonds’ ex-girlfriend pointed the needle at him during her grand jury testimony. Kimberly Bell apparently told the federal grand jury that Bonds had begun to use steroids in 2000.

These were just the latest developments in the steroid scandal that has enveloped Bonds and Major League Baseball seemingly since the minute after the Keith Foulke and Jason Varitek were celebrating on the mound in St. Louis last October.

To make matters worse for Bonds, he has been under intense media scrutiny over the last few months as he has begun to zero in on one of baseball’s most vaunted records. Sitting at 703 home runs, Bonds is just 11 home runs away from the Babe and 53 away from becoming the all-time home run king. As his pursuit has continued, baseball fans and media members alike have wondered if the record would be legitimate. They have often wondered if steroids were fueling the march to 756. While Bud Selig announced a no-asterisk policy, the ever-important court of public opinion is often not on Bonds’ side.

But now, the point may be moot. Bonds, who turns 41 in July, would face a steep uphill battle to reach 756 if he misses part or all of this season. History is not on his side.

Not too many players reach Bonds’ age and remain active. Even fewer – in fact, none – have reached Bonds’ age and remained as productive as he’s been since 2001. Take Hammerin’ Hank. The sport’s greatest home run hitter only hit 42 home runs from age 40 and beyond. Twenty of those came the year he turned 40. Forty-two more home runs would leave Bonds at 745. No small beans, but still, no record.

Only three players in baseball history have hit more than 53 home runs after (and including) the age of 40. Carlton Fisk slammed 72, largely because he played until he was 45; Darrell Evans slugged 67; and Dave Winfield hit 59. The record, by the way, for home runs hit by a 40-year-old is 34, and that record belongs to Evans.

Of course, these players all have one thing in common: They aren’t Barry Bonds. None of them can boast anywhere near a career slugging mark of .611. Winfield comes closest with a .475 mark. Remember, Bonds slugged .812 last year. That’s off the charts. Ted Williams, with a .540 mark, holds the record for highest slugging percentage by someone 40 and over. If anyone could break the mark despite missing their 40-year-old season to a knee injury, it would be Barry Bonds.

Now, to mix sports metaphors, the ball is in Bonds’ court. The slugger lashed out at the media for the pressure. The media wants Bonds to retire because if he were to break Aaron’s record, the integrity of the record would be in doubt as long as Bonds’ name continues to be linked to steroid use. One of the game’s most honorable records would be tarnished, and those covering the game are well aware how this could affect public perception of baseball.

Would Bonds want to deal with that pressure? Could he mentally deal with that pressure? Only Barry Bonds can answer that. If he wants to face the pressure, he has a great shot at breaking the record even if he misses 80 or 90 games this year. But if he’s fed up, it’s certainly his right to throw in the towel. The adversity is overwhelming with the BALCO cloud hanging over his head.

So as the Giants turn to Pedro Felix to fill in their left-field hole, the media frenzy over the home run chase will be on hold as baseball awaits to hear the fate of Barry Bonds. The truth is that the steroid scandal may just answer the questions that Bonds has left hanging.

Advertisements

RSS River Ave. Blues

  • The Rest of the AL East [2017 Season Preview] March 30, 2017
    There has been an interesting bit of parity in the AL East this decade, as every team has won the division crown in the last seven years. The Red Sox appear to be the standard-bearer, with both ZiPS and PECOTA projecting them to repeat as division champs – but both also have at least four […] The post The Rest of the AL East [2017 Season Preview] appeared fi […]
    Domenic Lanza
  • Spring Training Game Thread: Final Grapefruit League Game March 30, 2017
    This afternoon the Yankees are playing their final Grapefruit League game of the year. They still have one exhibition game remaining, tomorrow night at the brand new SunTrust Field in Atlanta, but this is the final game in Florida. Well, at least until the Yankees come back to play the first series of the regular […] The post Spring Training Game Thread: Fin […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Yankees finalize Opening Day roster; Holder, Mitchell, and Shreve make the bullpen March 30, 2017
    Earlier this morning, Joe Girardi informally announced the Yankees’ 25-man Opening Day roster. Aaron Judge will be the right fielder and Luis Severino will be the fourth starter, and the decision to option out Rob Refsnyder means Pete Kozma will be the utility infielder. Also, Girardi told Bryan Hoch that Bryan Mitchell, Jonathan Holder, and […] The post Yan […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Girardi on Aaron Judge: “He’s our right fielder” March 30, 2017
    Common sense prevails! Joe Girardi announced this morning Aaron Judge will be the Yankees’ starting right fielder this season, according to Erik Boland. “He’s our right fielder,” said Girardi. The club was reportedly considering sending Judge to Triple-A as recently as yesterday. Judge, 24, is hitting .345/.406/.569 with three homers so far this spring. He’s […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Rob Refsnyder Optioned to Triple-A March 30, 2017
    Earlier today, the Yankees announced that Rob Refsnyder had been optioned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The 26-year-old was batting just .209/.314/.349 in 43 at-bats, and was openly put on the trading block three weeks ago. There was some talk that he could have a shot at heading north in a bench role on the heels of the […] The post Rob Refsnyder Optioned to Tr […]
    Domenic Lanza
  • Passan: Yankees will use Luis Severino as fourth starter March 30, 2017
    According to Jeff Passan, right-hander Luis Severino has made the Opening Day roster and the Yankees will use him as their fourth starter. Neither Joe Girardi nor anyone with the team has announced anything yet, however. Still, all signs point in this direction. This isn’t exactly a surprise. Severino, 23, has allowed six runs in […] The post Passan: Yankees […]
    Mike Axisa
  • There are many pros and only a few cons to signing Sanchez to a long-term contract March 30, 2017
    February and March make up extension season in baseball. Most pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players hammer out their contracts for the upcoming season this time of year, and inevitably some strike long-term deals with their teams. In recent weeks Tim Anderson, Rougned Odor, Jose Ramirez (the hitter, not the pitcher), Kevin Kiermaier, and Carlos Ma […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Open Thread: March 29th Camp Notes March 29, 2017
    Your browser does not support iframes.The Yankees are officially Spring Training champions. They clinched baseball’s best record this spring with their win this afternoon. Neat. The Yankees are now 23-8-1 while the second place Cardinals are 20-8-4. Both teams have two games to play. Aaron Judge had two singles this afternoon and he even stole […] The post O […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Poll: The 2017 RAB Prospect Watch March 29, 2017
    One of our longest running features — I hesitate to call it a feature, but whatever — here at RAB is our annual Prospect Watch. We pick a prospect and track his progress throughout the season in the sidebar. Simple, right? Also kinda silly, but hey, people seem to like it, so it continues. Think […] The post Poll: The 2017 RAB Prospect Watch appeared first o […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Brian Cashman and the 2017 trade deadline [2017 Season Preview] March 29, 2017
    Welcome to another contract year for Brian Cashman. Don’t worry: Cashman has enough job security that he isn’t about to trade the farm for some short-sighted fix that harms the Yankees’ future. He’s acquitted himself quite well over the last two decades and it’s hard to imagine anyone else in the job right now. It […] The post Brian Cashman and the 2017 trad […]
    Steven Tydings

Blog Stats

  • 62,328 hits

%d bloggers like this: