Tuesday, May 09, 2006
714. Dan Patrick says it's the most recognizable number in all of sports. 714. It's the number of home runs that Babe Ruth hit. Nobody remembers the exact number of games Cal Ripken played (a lot!). And who remembers the number of hits that Pete Rose had? Or how many wins Nolan Ryan recorded. But 714 homers for the bambino. We all remember that (even though Hank Aaron eclipsed it over three decades ago). And now Barry Bonds is soon to pass the Babe as well. But does it count? Should Bonds receive the accolades even though his dingers were produced, in part, because of steroids? A fan in Philly waved a great banner last week: Babe Ruth did it on Hot Dogs and Beer.
Fort Wayne sportswriter Ben Smith says that Bud Selig is making the right call by not recognizing Bonds' "achievement" when it happens. I think he's right. Maybe nobody will fuss too much about Bonds passing the Babe, but if/when he starts to get close to Hank, it's gonna get ugly.