Breaking News: Hank Aaron Congratulates Barry Bonds (Again)
Last night during its broadcast of the Braves-Phillies game, ESPN cut into the action with a mid-inning replay of the congratulatory speech that Hank Aaron made after Barry Bonds hit his 756th home run.
The video and audio of Aaron was the only thing on the screen for about one minute of game action in the 7th inning. And it was somehow very fitting that while ESPN was re-airing that speech, Braves second baseman Martin Prado doubled into the left center field gap to score Brian McCann and cut the Phillies’ lead to one.
It was fitting in part because it was a perfect emblem for all of the exciting baseball that unnecessarily took a backseat to Bonds’ anticlimactic, horribly tainted chase over the past weeks and months.
And secondly, Prado’s double being missed entirely during the re-broadcast of Aaron’s speech made some sort of strange sense because in a way, that speech is all about what you can’t see. Namely, you can’t see the gun that’s (figuratively speaking) being held to Hank Aaron’s head just off camera. Because there’s absolutely no way that those congratulations to Bonds could truly be heartfelt. It’s just not possible. Even if Hank didn’t think that Barry had cheated – which you have to believe Hank does – he still wouldn’t be particularly pleased. But to think that he was really feeling anywhere close to gracious at that moment is absolutely absurd.
For the record, when the tape of the speech was over and the broadcast returned to live action (with the score suddenly and inexplicably 4-3 instead of 4-2), play-by-play man Jon Miller acknowledged Prado’s double, but didn’t issue anything even remotely resembling an apology – as if completely cutting out run-scoring hits in a close game is routine practice when it comes to talking about something that infuriates a large majority of baseball fans in the first place.
Of course the ESPN broadcast team didn’t intend to miss Prado’s hit, and no doubt everyone involved was pretty unhappy when that hit coincided with the one-minute window when Aaron’s speech was airing.
But that’s beside the point. The point is that the Barry Bonds consumption and obsession has gone too far. He hit his “historic” homer; now it needs to immediately be put in the past. We all have to deal with that dubious record however we want to deal with it and move on to things that are happening right now.
Such as that run-scoring double that just soared into the left center field gap.