Bonds, Aaron, Vick, and Those Cowards at ESPN

So Barry Lamar Bonds is bringing his MHP (Most Hated Player) show to Wisconsin this weekend for a three game series with your NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers. What was a couple of days ago a big deal (think Spice Girls reunion if you have a longing for 90s nostalgia) suddenly became a much more ginormous deal (think Husker Du reunion if you grew up in the 1980s in Minneapolis) after Bonds hit two home runs Thursday in a loss (of course) to the Cubs to close to within two homers of tying Hank Aaron’s record of 755 HRs

If Bonds were to tie or break Aaron’s record at Miller Park this weekend, the historic event would carry even extra weight given the fact that it was at Milwaukee’s County Stadium that Hank Aaron — then playing for the Brewers — hit his 755th and last home run in 1976.

But ticket holders for any of the three games this weekend shouldn’t get their hopes up, nor should fans hoping to witness history take out a second mortgage on their home to purchase tickets for any of the games. Bonds is not going to break or even tie the record this weekend.

Bonds cares about Bonds. He doesn’t care about what Hank Aaron thinks, what commissioner Bud Selig thinks, or what the fans think. But he isn’t stupid nor does he lack self-awareness. He knows that Hank Aaron thinks he’s the biggest load of pond scum since Ike Turner. He knows that Bud Selig wishes he would vanish faster than Katrina and the Waves. And he knows that the fans that attend MLB games in every ballpark in the country think Bonds breaking Aaron’s home run record is the worst thing to happen to baseball since the strike in 1994.

Well, every ballpark in the country except one. Because sports fans in San Francisco — in a classic case of an “us against them” mentality — have embraced Bonds. And why not? The Giants have the worst record in the National League and aren’t going anywhere. The 49ers haven’t turned in a winning season since Ally McBeal was the hottest thing on television. Even the city’s United Soccer League’s Premier Development League team has been eliminated from the playoffs this season.

So Bonds and the Giants will do whatever it takes to prevent Bonds from breaking Aaron’s home run record this weekend in Milwaukee. I look for Bonds to sit out most of the weekend with the probable exception of Saturday’s game (FOX picked it up, and even though it’s scheduled for only 9% of the country, that’s still more exposure than the spotlight-lovin‘ Bonds gets for a regular-season game).

The fact that Milwaukee won’t be home to baseball history this weekend is just fine by me. No matter what the numbers say, Aaron will always be the Home Run King to me. I don’t want to see another number 755 hit here.

Quick takes . . .

Lest you think ESPN isn’t in the business of coddling the athletes that provide the network its only reason for existence (sorry, I don’t see the network surviving on “Dream Job” or “Around the Horn”), take a look at the jokes that ESPN cut out of host Jimmy Kimmel’s opening monologue from this year’s ESPY Award show. Certainly nothing offensive, just jokes poking fun at sports stars — Michael Vick, Ron Artest, Kobe Bryant — that more than have it coming. Nice to know ESPN is so sensitive to Michael Vick’s feelings.

Speaking of Michael Vick, he needs to be suspended. The NFL has set a precedent with its treatment of “Pacman” Jones, it needs to do the same to Vick or new commissioner Roger Goddell runs the risk of being accused of treating the league’s “star” players differently and completely destroying the credibility he has so far earned. Even though I usually find the group to be completely annoying (remember how they wanted to change the name of the “Packers” because of the name’s meat-packing connotations?), here I agree with PETA 100 percent. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to Burger King.

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