Last thoughts, I promise
Our national nightmare is over.Former President Gerald Ford said this when he decided to pardon Richard Nixon. I called up my father and told him this in 1997 when I finally completed college. And now we can say this after Barry Bonds chase of Hank Aaron is done.Closing thoughts: Aaron proved to be a very classy guy in the end. His absence during this odyssey did not make him look good. After all he went through in 1973 and 1974 chasing down Babe Ruth, his absence was conspicuous, making him look resentful of Bonds legitimately or not. By appearing on the scoreboard with thoughtful words, he rose above all the controversy associated with 755 and 756. Well done, Hammer. On the other end of the spectrum, we have Commissioner Bud Selig. Youre a bum. Selig watched 755 Saturday night in San Diego. All he did was stand up and put his hand in his pockets, and then was absent for 756.Selig, as commissioner, oversaw the entire Steroid Era, and did nothing until Congress stepped in. Baseball needed pardon the expression a shot in the arm after the 1994 strike and Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa produced it with the home run chase of 1998. Ticket sales rose. TV revenues poured in. While Roger Maris single-season was obliterated twice in four years (Bonds in 2001, also) by approximately 17 percent, Selig simply watched the cash roll in.Either, he was completely ignorant of baseballs growing steroid problem or turned a blind eye until Congress started asking questions and Bonds neared Aaron. Neither is acceptable. Bud should have been in San Francisco just to watch the mess he made. Ah, the randomness of a baseball. Fans line the arcade section, the seats on top of the right field wall at AT&T Park. Kayakers patrol their specific spots in McCovey Cove, waiting for a Bonds baseball. Theres even a pair who have a floating putting green in the Cove. Not surprisingly, those two are my favorites.So naturally, 756 goes into the center-field bleachers, which are half the price of an arcade ticket, not a coincidence, people. And Matt Murphy of New York, who was just in San Francisco for the day for a layover on his way to Australia gets the ball. (By the way, San Franciscos Finest coming to drag a fan who catches a Bonds ball is standard practice. As we saw Tuesday, it gets really ugly over a ball that can bring significant payola.)This strange scenario is not unusual. The guy who caught 715 last year was actually waiting on line for beer and peanuts at a concession stand behind center field when the ball rolled off the roof of the building and into his hands. Timing is obviously everything. Bonds is human. This may be news to his detractors. It was very touching seeing him salute his father, Bobby, who died in 2003, after the homer Tuesday. There have been many retrospectives of Barry Bonds greatest moments, but I havent seen a memorable stretch in 2003 mentioned. That August, Barry left the Giants to be with Bobby, who was very ill. The Giants dropped four straight in Montreal. Barry returned to the club for a series against Atlanta in San Francisco. He hit a walk-off homer in the 10th in the series opener. In the series finale, he did it again in 10th, completing a sweep. The next day, Bobby died.When Bonds came back from mourning his father like that ever stops he faced Randy Johnson in Arizona and hit a ball that still hasnt landed. This stretch and his 7-RBI game at Dodger Stadium in 1993 are my personal top Barry moments. Giants owner Peter Magowan said he cried when Bonds hit 756. I dont blame him. Shows over, Petey. Magowan claimed earlier in the chase that Bonds pursuit of Aaron was hurting the Giants. Wrong-o. As the nation has seen in the last week or so, the Giants are just terrible. Bonds, love him or hate him, is the only reason people watch. Why do you think 43,000 people were at a game in San Francisco between the Giants and the Nationals Tuesday night? By the way, anyone notice that the Giants still lost, 8-6, Tuesday? That pretty much summed up the season Barry Zito disappoints, Bonds homers and the Giants bullpen collapses again. Doh. The good news, everyone, is that Tuesday was likely the Giants last appearance on national TV this year. Our national nightmare is truly over.Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.