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On The Record

With Barry Bonds passing Hank Aaron on the home run list, possibly the most famous mark in sports has become easily the most controversial. Here are some reactions from those around the game.Her son sees big picture

August 08, 2007|KATHY SENA

Our dog, Charlie, has a middle name: "Bonds." Bestowed upon him by my son, Matthew, when Matt was in third grade, it is fitting. After all, Charlie sleeps in Matt's room, with walls adorned with a San Francisco Giants pennant and a Barry Bonds pennant, not to mention a Rich Aurilia bobblehead doll.

You might say Matt is a fan. While we live in Southern California, he and I inherited the Giants. I did it by marrying Randy, who grew up in the Bay Area, going to Giants games at Candlestick Park. Matt became a Giants fan by blood. Who doesn't want to root for the team his Dad loves?

Matt has already paid a price for his loyalty. When you're in grade school and all the boys around you are bleeding Dodger blue, it's tough to stand tall for the black and orange. But he wears his Giants cap proudly. A Little League player since T-ball, Matt waited patiently every spring to learn what team he would be on, always hoping to wear that Giants uniform. In third grade, he got his wish. No player ever wore the uniform more proudly.

Today, as Matt is about to enter middle school, he's old enough to understand the controversy surrounding Barry Bonds' home run No. 756 and the breaking of Hank Aaron's record. And as Rick Reilly put it so well in his Sports Illustrated column recently, "So how do you commemorate a dishonest moment produced by a man who has denied using performance-enhancers despite a silo of evidence to the contrary?"

I can sympathize with baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, who hemmed and hawed for weeks about whether to be at the ballpark when Bonds hit the big one. He finally decided that he would. I'm not sure I'd have wanted to be there either. As Reilly noted, this celebration is fake. This number is fake. And this feat is fake. And a whole bunch of kids like Matthew have watched, and cheered -- and probably felt in their guts that something has been stolen from the game they love.

In our family, sports has been a great way to teach Matt some important life lessons. About fairness and sportsmanship and supporting your teammates. About sticking with your team through thick and thin.

Well, Barry, Matthew still has your pennant pinned on his bedroom wall. And he hasn't renamed his dog. But when I asked him how he feels about No. 756, he said, "I like the home runs for the Giants, but I don't really respect Bonds anymore. And I don't care if he gets into the Hall of Fame."


Kathy Sena is a freelance writer and essayist.

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