2007 NEWS

2007 News > 5/29/07

TOM DELIVERS ON BARRY

By Adam Rubin, NY Daily News

Barry Bonds may be resting on the bench during tonight's series opener between the Mets and Giants, but the Flushing faithful are expected to let Bonds hear their thoughts on his pursuit of Hank Aaron's record regardless.

Bonds hit his first homer in 15 games on Sunday, blasting No.746 off Colorado's Taylor Buchholz to move within nine of matching Aaron's mark. The Giants slugger's previous homer had come in San Francisco on May 8 off Tom Glavine.

Glavine, five wins from his own milestone of 300, spoke in Miami on Sunday about the atmosphere surrounding Bonds' pursuit of the record. The southpaw faces San Francisco's Barry Zito tomorrow. In his career against Glavine, Bonds is hitting .329 (27-for-82) with four homers, 16 walks and one hit by pitch.

DN: As someone who appreciates the history of the sport, does the baggage attached to the pursuit of the record bother you?
TG:
Of course. I'm not going to get into whether it's legitimate or illegitimate or how I feel about that, because I have a ton of mixed emotions about that. Just from a pure baseball standpoint, being a fan of the game, sure you have to be saddened by everything in this era that connects itself to steroids. No question about it. If you care about the game at all, you can't help but notice that and not like that. Certainly for this record being arguably one of the most, if not the most prestigious record in sports, it is sad or unfortunate - whatever word you want to use - that there's so much baggage attached to it.

DN: Why is this record getting so much of the scrutiny?
TG:
I think a large part is it's the whole home-run thing and the power thing. It's remarkable to people. So much of this game, I think people sometimes feel like, 'Oh, I can do that.' If I had a dollar for every time somebody in the stands said, 'Aw, I can hit you Glavine.' People think they can get out there and do pretty much everything we do. But when you start talking about hitting home runs like that, I think that's a little more out of the realm of people thinking they can reach that or do that when it comes to this game.

Part of the prestige of the record is - no disrespect to Hank, because obviously Hank had a great career and he's the home-run king - but so much of this game is identified by Babe Ruth. And Babe Ruth is such a different figure than pretty much any other sports figure you can think of that I think people have a different identity with it because of that. That adds to the allure of the record. It just seems to be one of those records everybody knows about regardless of what sport you're a big fan of.

DN: How should fans react at Shea to Bonds?
TG:
However they want to. He's no different than anybody else. Obviously you hope that it doesn't go over the line and become violent or harmful to anybody else on the field - whether it's his teammates or us. But I think people have a right to react however they want to react.

DN: Would fans cheer Bonds at Shea if he were a Met?
TG:
Of course they would. I think wherever he was a player at home, that city would root for him. No question about it. I don't think you could be the least bit surprised by the reaction he gets in his hometown or by the reaction he gets anywhere on the road.

DN: Should Bud Selig attend the record-breaker?
TG:
It's not too hard to figure out that most people think there's something there. But it's like we've talked about, and I've talked about, so much - suspicions of something and proving something are two different things. At the end of the day I think that's what Bud is going to have to think about is, 'Well, do we act on our suspicions or do we act on the proof we do or do not have?' I don't know. I guess my mindset would be he'd have to be there. Unless and until something were proven otherwise, I think he'd have to be there.

DN: How would the record be treated if something irrefutable came out after the fact?
TG:
If it ever came out that something was taking place, then absolutely I think the record would be viewed differently. How? I don't know. Who would decide how to view it? How would they decide how to view it? I don't know. But I don't think there's any question in my mind that there would be a distinction drawn between Hank Aaron and Barry.

DN: Are you upset that your entire generation, including yourself, falls under a cloud of suspicion?
TG:
No, honestly, because I know in my mind and in my heart I haven't done anything wrong. There's nothing for me to be all that (ticked) off about. I don't like the whole, 'You're guilty until you prove you're innocent.' Why we're all guilty by association - I don't like that aspect of it. But not to the point where it bothers me on a daily basis or anything like that. I don't have time to worry about it. You spend so much time worrying about your own individual things that you're trying to do, that you're trying to stay on top of. I honestly don't have a whole lot of time to worry about that aspect of it. I guess because I know I haven't done anything, and because I'm pretty certain 99.9% of the people who follow this game know I've never done anything, I've never really worried about it.