Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - What a night it was in Atlanta on Tuesday.
The Braves paid tribute to the great Hank Aaron on the 40th anniversary of him passing Babe Ruth to become baseball's all-time home run king. There was a "715" carved out in the grass and most of those involved in that special moment from all those years ago paid tribute to the man who has really become baseball royalty.
It was a great event.
But then it started to go to a place everyone probably assumed it would.
While Braves CEO and chairman Terry McGuirk was honoring Aaron, he had to throw this in, "You will always be the home run king of all time."
Really, Terry? The last time I checked, Barry Bonds' 762 is greater than Aaron's 755.
I am almost willing to give McGuirk and anyone else in the Braves' organization who feels that way a pass because, well, they are part of the team. If that's how they feel fine. It's wrong, but it is what it is. Kind of like when San Diego honors Trevor Hoffman and calls him the greatest closer of all-time.
We all kind of laugh behind their backs, but we get it.
But when "commissioner" Bud Selig opens his yap and spouts how he still views Aaron as the all-time home run king, then I have a problem. Why is that, Bud? Because Bonds may have used steroids during an era over which you served and turned a blind eye. That era?
You can't rewrite history here, Bud. Bonds' totals were likely inflated because of performance-enhancing drugs. But we've learned he was nowhere near the only player using.
By the way, Babe Ruth never faced a black pitcher. Should we take his home run numbers away, too?
Geez, I hate having to be put in the position of defending Bonds, but fair is fair. You can say whatever you want about him, Barry Bonds is the best player most of us will ever see. And I believe he used steroids. But you know what? A ton of other guys used them, too. I don't remember David Justice breaking any records. Bonds is just head and shoulders more talented than anyone else.
Oh, and in case McGuirk may have forgotten, Justice was named in the Mitchell Report and was on the Braves' 1995 World Series championship team. Should we vacate that title, too?
Remember Bonds won three MVP awards before he allegedly ever took a steroid. And if you read the book "Game of Shadows," the only reason he ever even got involved with them was because he was jealous of all the attention Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa received during the epic home run chase of 1998.
Bonds knew he was the best player in the game and yet everyone was so focused on these two players who were obviously cheating. Quite simply, it was, if you can't beat them, join them.
Selig and the rest of the owners all sat by and watched, collecting piles of money along the way, while numbers started to get out of control and records began to fall.
Chicks dig the long ball, right?
To Selig's credit, he is doing his best to rid the sport of PEDs as he gets ready to step down as MLB commissioner. It is probably too little, too late, but no sport has a better testing system in place at the moment than baseball. It's not a perfect system, mind you, but it's as close to perfect as there is in the four major sports.
Still, as much as Selig may want that idea to be his legacy, it will never be the case.
No. His legacy will always be the that PEDs were allowed to run rampant under his watch. In fact, ironically it is that legacy that is the exact reason why Hank Aaron is not considered the all-time home run king anymore.
Then again, that's a better legacy than being the commissioner who presided over an All-Star Game tie. Or being the one who deemed it necessary to award the All-Star winner home field advantage in the World Series.
There will be a new commissioner in place Jan. 25, 2015. It can't come soon enough for me.