I was working late last night but I arrived home just in time to view Barry Bonds' record-breaking homer live. For the sports fan, there is always something cool about seeing a big moment in real time, and so I guess I am grateful for that part of the experience. And while I have to admit the ESPN cameraman got some great shots of Barry rounding the bases with the fireworks going off in the background, the whole thing had an odd staged feeling about it that sort of fit in with the mixed emotions the #756* made one feel.
First of all, the game itself was stopped for a good fifteen minutes, not only for a speech by Bonds but a recorded tribute by the former record-holder Hank Aaron on the stadium jumbletron. I admire Aaron for the effort, for he has long made it known that he wanted no part of the record-breaking proceedings, so for him to instead take the high road and beem in a classy, if politically-correct speech, shows what a good role model he truly is. Still, everything, from Bonds hugging his kids to Bonds' godfather Willie Mays handing Barry a microphone, seemed so set up that you almost wonder if Bonds was tipped off about what pitch was coming, and later whether the actual game between two mediocre second division teams was even going to continue. In the end, it had the feeling of a mega-church service filled with well-off Christians listening to a charismatic minister preaching the gospel of health and wealth. Entertaining and well-staged, the positive messages seemed to be swallowed up by the tainted nature of the Bonds achievement that Hank Aaron had just asked our youth to dream about.