Jewish Journal


July 17, 2007

If baseball is religion, Bonds is the devil


An article on the op-ed page of today’s LA Times has very little to do with religion. But it is written by a Jewish former sportswriter at the NY Times—yeah, that narrows the field—who this spring inspired my post about the lack of Jews in professional sports.

Gerald Eskenazi laments in his op-ed what will soon happen to baseball—the hormonal-freak Barry Bonds will hit his 756th home run and pass Hammerin’ Hank on the all-time list. You can feel the spirit being sucked out of America’s pastime as you read Eskenazi’s piece. Here are some snippets.

A lot of the great numbers already have been surpassed, and we accept that. Gone forever is 60, Babe Ruth’s single-season home-run number. Strewn among the ruins of history is 2,130, the number of consecutive games played by Lou Gehrig. The persnickety Ty Cobb lost his 96, once the single-season stolen-base record. (Perhaps the only iconic number left is 56, the number of consecutive games in which Joe DiMaggio hit safely.)

But now, a venerable number — one could argue, quite convincingly, it is baseball’s second-greatest behind Bonds’ single-season homer mark of 73 — is about to be usurped by this incredible (enhanced?) performer, and something will be gone from the game. ...

Bonds’ accomplishment will not make people happy, at least the ones who don’t live in San Francisco. And that is the really sad part, for me, about Bonds’ Homerific run. It’s one more whittling away at the game. ...

Yet here’s my confession: I will — unhappily — vote for Bonds, the anti-hero, when his Hall of Fame time comes.

I’m a Dodgers fan, so I think you know what I would do. But what about you?

(Cartoon: OC Register)

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