My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


A Tale Of Two Athletes

In the middle of the afternoon today I had a choice of athletic events to watch: I could watch the San Fransisco/Oakland baseball game, or I could watch the Preakness Stakes.

On the one hand, there was the possibility of Barry Bonds hitting a home run that would tie him in second place all time with Babe Ruth at 714.

On the other hand, there was the possibility of seeing Barbaro win the second leg of the Triple Crown.

My choice, as a lifelong baseball fan who played the game for several years, coached the game for a couple years, and loves the game, chose to watch . . .

a horse race.

Mind you, I know next to nothing about horse racing; I am not a gambling man, so there's no hook there; and one fast horse seems very much like another to me.

So why choose the horse race? Because, given the choice, I thought the chances of history being made at Pimlico was much better than in the Bay. And not that I didn't think Bonds would homer today--he has a pretty good shot every day.

It's just that what he has done does not, to me, smack much of history. It smacks of a grand tribute to pharmacology.

And so I watched what turned out to be a tragic event which had little actual interest for me instead of a milestone event which should have had a great deal of interest for me, . . .

but only spoke to the tragedy of modern professional sport.

Perhaps Ruth was a womanizing, drunken, brawling, overblown ass; but he hit 714 home runs in a time when 40 in a year might be a total for an entire team, and let's not forget he also won more than 100 games as a pitcher. He remains a larger than life figure that, in many ways, represents both the grandiosity and the boorishness that is America, capable of magnanimity and accomplishment on a scale never before seen on earth;

and also capable of cheap, brazen, gluttonous gestures like Hollywood, Brittany Spears . . .

and hitting home runs while "enhanced" to the point of almost constant physical breakdown, off of pitchers who are also "enhanced" to the point of rarely being able to throw a ball for more than five seasons without ripping their arm apart, into bleachers filled with fans so cynical about the state of the game that Congress (speaking of boorishness) has had to get involved in oversight of the nation's pasttime.

Yes, I chose to watch a horse race. And on that inevitable day in the not very distant future when Barry Bonds has a chance to break Hank Aaron's all-time home run hitting record, I'll probably choose to mow the lawn, instead.

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