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Respect Is Due
2005-09-23 14:05
by Will Carroll


Perhaps not wrong in that Barry Bonds may not hit 35 homers but wrong in the reasons why. I think the reason Barry might not reach Aaron's record is that he simply might not want to. Simple as that.

Claiming that Bonds' knee is likely to break down again under the load or that any other number of maladies could occur is folly. Bonds had a discreet event to a weakened part of his body with a complication. I'll wager that we had fifty athletes have their knees scoped this year and that one other had the complication that Bonds did. I'd just have to find him -- small sample sizes hurt all kinds of statistics.

Where this writer misses it is that Bonds is hitting a lot of homers. His normal career rate of 1 per 11 AB or so is down (again, small sample size) to 1 in 5 or so. This is a pattern that Clay Davenport found last year - older players that are losing speed and/or have leg problems increase their home run rate as they age. Aaron did it himself. Players that can hit homers and jog around the bases have a tendency to do so. It's efficient and I don't think anyone will argue that Bonds -- in a weakened state - isn't good enough to do this.

The other thing to note is that this is not Bonds at his best. His knee is still problematic. An offseason workout program and weight loss (yes, I know what you think, but the first advice any person gets before knee surgery is lose weight and strength the quad) should give Bonds an added boost, at least equivalent to the wear and tear.

The final worry is the at-bats themselves. Managers and pitchers might go into a stall offense, walking him and costing him time, the one commodity his talent can't affect. Given 400 ABs, Bonds is likely to test the 35 HR barrier. My guess is that PECOTA will spit out something a lot like his 99 season for 2006. He's not reversing time - it was an off year.

Once we get past the statistical racism and chemical McCarthyism that surrounds Bonds, we're left with this -- Bonds will pass Aaron if he wants.

2005-09-23 14:45:55
1.   RickM
He's spent significant time on the DL in past years and kept up his pace. If his HR rate declined, I think we underestimate the athlete and his drive. He desperately wants to pass the Babe. I think he'll hang on to do so. Aaron would be icing on the cake, but isn't necessary. I think it's just silly to say he won't pass Ruth. Has anybody counted how many HRs he's hit since he came back?
2005-09-26 10:00:42
2.   nickb
It's great to see a "Will" post again! And I totally agree with the racism/McCarthyism comment. The guy knows how to punish a baseball. Period.

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