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Joe Nelson - Blogs

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756, FINALLY.

By Joe Nelson
Posted 08/08/2007 at 06:00 PM

Congratulations to Barry Bonds for surpassing one of baseball's great records. Although the controversy surrounding the pursuit of the record is not about to go away completely, there should be a bit less saturation in the media which is good thing for all. No matter your take on the issues, it is awfully impressive to hit that many home runs, especially considering how far you have to hit the ball to barely clear the wall in center field at AT&T Park.

It is a bit humorous how fans can be so hard on Bonds yet indifferent to the many other players that would likely be under the same implications if their accomplishments were worthy of such scrutiny. For example a few weeks back when the Giants played in Milwaukee, fans gave a standing ovation to Derrick Turnbow after he struck out Bonds in a key spot in one game. Turnbow was among the first players caught and suspended for a banned performance enhancing substance under the new MLB rules a few years back in the Angels organization. The stigma that went with the infraction allowed the Brewers to get him cheap and turn in him into an All-Star reliever (not lately however). Bonds of course, never was caught by MLB, but no one is going to pretend they believe he is completely clean.

Bonds is a polarizing figure in baseball and his personality and his public remarks in many instances have not helped his cause to endear himself to most fans but he has done a lot of great things for baseball on and off the field. I'm glad he was able to hit the key home run at home and I'm glad the San Francisco fans have stood behind him. It was also nice to see the classy video message from Hank Aaron. Some are already passing the throne to A-Rod, but 256 more home runs don't just get hit themselves. I'm guessing the record (whatever it reaches) will stand longer than most people think, so if you are an adamant Bonds opposer, you're just going to have to deal with it. No one is happy that the 'steroids era' and all the surrounding distractions and controversies exist, but it does not help anything to sit and speculate and cast questioning eyes. Now that the record has been passed, let's move on and enjoy the game.

Speaking of the Giants from a wagering perspective, I will be looking to play against San Francisco in the coming weeks. If the team could not play better with the great fan support in home games leading up to the chase they probably won't do much better without it. True there is some pressure and attention lifted off the team and the chase has absolutely been a distraction, but there are bigger problems for the Giants.

San Francisco is scoring less than four runs per game over the last ten games and the pitching staff could be in trouble if Noah Lowry misses time. Lowry and Lincecum have been the only starters that can keep the Giants in games lately. Upcoming games against Washington and Pittsburgh lineups that have been surprisingly productive of late won't help and upcoming games against out-of-division contenders Atlanta, Chicago, and Milwaukee will present challenges. The NL West is such a tough division with both Arizona and Colorado playing great ball lately that there simply won't be many chances for the Giants to salvage much of anything out of this season.

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756, finally.