Homer chase strikes out

TED WYMAN

, Last Updated: 1:37 PM ET

Well, it will happen any month now.

Barry Bonds is on a home-run hitting tear and his dogged pursuit of a sacred sports record is in full swing. Much to the chagrin of the baseball world, Bighead Barry could pass the legendary Hank Aaron before it's even officially summer.

Baseball purists and sports journalists have their asterisks at the ready as a player who many people believe is a cheater inches closer to becoming the greatest home run hitter in baseball history.

Aaron, a class act who endured more personal pain than anyone deserves while pursuing a white man's record in his day, doesn't plan to be there when another African American breaks his mark. Baseball commissioner Bud Selig isn't sure whether he'll show either.

What that says is they don't consider Bonds' numbers to be real. They appear to have been steroid-induced in the later stages of his career when he started putting up better power numbers than Manitoba Hydro.

It's a sad indictment on the game of baseball when the sport's most prolific record -- a mark that should be celebrated like no other -- has been hijacked by a product of the chemical generation.

Over the next couple of months, the Bonds record pursuit will get tons of media attention, but for all the wrong reasons. The question will be posed thousands of times whether or not it is a legitmate record and the answer will be yes and no.

Yes, because he's never tested positive for using steroids during a game and because even without chemistry he would have been one of baseball's 10 greatest players of all time. No, because in the eyes of fans, he used ill-gotten means to achieve his feats.

As the fateful day approaches, fans will boo Bonds everywhere he goes outside of San Francisco and he won't care because he is used to thumbing his nose at the establishment by now.

This a record he dearly covets, perhaps because it will prove to the world that you don't have to be a nice guy, or even a stand-up guy, to be the greatest of all time.

Meanwhile, for a majority of sports fans, it's a record that will forever make them cringe.

SHORT-LIVED? Bighead Barry better keep pounding them out after he breaks the mark because his record won't likely last as long as Aaron's did. Alex Rodriguez could easily have 800 home runs by the time he is 40 if he stays healthy. A-Rod has 478 homers now and will likely break the 500-homer mark this year at age 31. He's already in his 14th season despite still being a young man in the prime of his career. At an average of 37 homers a year, A-Rod would have more than 300 more homers by the time he hits 40. A-Rod's not that popular either, but as far as anyone knows, his power numbers are legit. Anyway, even if he falters, there's always hope in the form of Albert Pujols.

JUST DUCKY: Hard not to like the Anaheim Ducks to win the Stanley Cup. With the skill and leadership of Teemu Selanne, twin towers Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer on the blue-line and two solid goaltenders, Randy Carlyle's team looks ready to bring Stanley to Disneyland. No doubt a lot of Winnipeggers would like to see Selanne and Carlyle (not to mention Winkler's Dustin Penner) win the Cup, even if they have to oust one of two remaining Canadian teams to do so. Truth be told, an Anaheim-Buffalo final wouldn't be a ratings winner, but it would sure be fun to watch.

PUT A SOCK IN IT: Some people have tried to suggest recently that Curt Schilling's infamous blood-soaked sock from the 2004 World Series was a hoax. Surprisingly the allegation came from Baltimore and not New York, where they are still trying to prove that the entire 2004 season was a hoax ... Mike Penner, a regular Hit Parade contributor who writes about sports for the Los Angeles Times, has announced that he is transsexual and will now be known as Christine Daniels. Not that there's anything wrong with that but whoever heard of a sportswriter switching teams before? Aren't they supposed to be neutral and impartial? Kinda like It's Pat.


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