Something's about to happen. I can't tell you when, but it's inevitable. In a few days, Barry Bonds will surpass Hank Aaron to become baseball's all-time homerun leader.
You don't need to be a baseball fan to know that this huge achievement is surrounded by the controversy over Bonds' suspected steroid use. This commentary has nothing to do with that issue. Well, maybe it does.
Any time a sports record is broken, we not only honor the man who sets the new standard, but we also stop, remember and pay tribute to the older athlete whose mark has just been broken. Lost in all this controversy is the historical credit due to one of the most-deserving athletes to ever to put on a uniform. There is no way to understate what Hank Aaron did 30-plus years ago. He broke more than just a home run record. In many ways, he helped shatter a racial divide in this country. He was a black athlete chasing a white athlete's record, and not just any white athlete, but Babe Ruth. And he did it from Atlanta, the heart of the south.
As he got closer to breaking the Babe's record, death threats found their way to the Braves' locker room. Bodyguards and police were forced to escort the left-fielder as he entered and exited the stadium. There was nothing easy about what Hank Aaron did, not from an athletic standpoint, and certainly not from a social perspective, and he did it without the use of performance enhancing drugs.
It doesn't matter to us what Barry Bonds does at the plate. It simply won't compare to the accomplishments of "Hammering Hank."