Don't mourn Bonds passing Aaron

BOB ELLIOTT

, Last Updated: 7:26 AM ET

You never know what you'll find on the Internet.

Like this headline and lead in a San Bernardino Sun column the other day:

Bonds' No. 756:

A day of mourning

Hang the black crepe. Draw the blinds. Sack cloth and ashes all around, please.

Barry Bonds is about to eclipse Henry Aaron.

A cheater has prospered, and a baseball nation weeps.

Maybe we're not one-dimensional enough.

To me, Bonds passing Aaron does not qualify as a day of mourning.

How about the Virginia Tech massacre, where 32 were killed and 25 were wounded.

The Bluffton University team bus plunging off an Atlanta freeway, killing five.

Coffins arriving from Afghanistan and Iraq.

Or 9/11.

They were days of mourning.

Bonds passing Aaron is many things: Change, history; a future Hall of Famer passing a Hall of Famer; a cheater; a celebration, anything you want it to be or just another day in baseball.

Maybe you would rather have hoops:

I'll take Celtics with the points against the Lakers. Fine ... I've got the zebras.

Or the NFL.

Before Michael Vick we only thought the only animals football harmed was pigs -- to make pigskins.

The most memorable answer we ever heard concerning Bonds and steroid use came from a fan in San Francisco in 2001 at what then was known as Pac Bell Park.

"Look I came here tonight to be entertained," said one 30-year-old with a beer in one hand and a hot dog in the other.

"A few weeks ago I went to see Bruce Springsteen and I enjoyed it. A week ago I went to see Bobby De Niro in a movie and enjoyed it. I couldn't care less if they were stoned, drunk, high or on steroids.

"Like tonight I want to see Bonds hit the ball into McCovey Cove. He's not hurting me if he's cheating -- he's only hurting himself."

If you don't care about Bonds, fine. He likely doesn't care about Bonds.

History has shown us that records don't last forever.

Outfielder Harry Stovey led the majors in career home runs with 122, hitting his final homer in 1893, his final season with the Brooklyn Bride Grooms.

Stovey's position atop the career homer board lasted two seasons, until he was passed by first baseman Roger Connor of the St. Louis Browns.

Connor retired in 1897 with 138 homers to sit as top dog for 24 seasons until a converted New York Yankee lefty pitcher turned right fielder Babe Ruth.

Ruth retired from the Boston Braves in 1935 after 714 home runs, as the Bambino of the Home Run Hill for 39 seasons until April 1974, when Hank Aaron homered off Al Downing of the Dodgers on Monday Night Baseball.

Aaron, a man with the senatorial elegance of, say, Jean Beliveau, hit his 755th and final homer off Dick Drago of the California Angels in 1976, Aaron's final season, with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Now, after a 31-year reign, Bonds will be the man.

Gone are the Brooklyn Bride Grooms, the St. Louis Browns, the Boston Braves, Monday Night Baseball and the "California" from the Angels.

Our guess is Alex Rodriguez will be the next home run leader.

He has averaged 42 homers in his first 11 full seasons. The James Lincoln Ray Baseball Page projects Rodriguez finishing the 2015 season with 788 career home runs at age 40.

So, the best record in all of sports will belong to Bonds for what ... eight seasons?

The man who will be home run king will not have as long a reign as either Ruth or Aaron.

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QUICK HITS

JAYS SHORTSTOPVERY ENTERTAINING

Bob Brenly didn't play much with the Blue Jays in 1989 yet he was consistent. Seated at his locker on the road he would wait as the regulars lined up for the post-game spread after another win and bellow: "Man, you guys sure are fun to watch." Why is it we hear Brenly's voice when we watch John McDonald play?

ON TOUR

Brett Lawrie of Langley, B.C., was at Yankee Stadium working out in preparation for this weekend's East Coast Showcase at Lakeland, Fla. Lawrie hit a homer 15 rows into the seats. He also caught in the Cape Cod high school classic. After starring for the Team Canada national junior team as an infielder, he has improved his chances with a position change and is expected to be the top Canuck selected in the 2008 draft.

BIG DAWGS

Kleinburg's Randy Schwartz, of the Edenton (N.C.) Steamers, won the Rawlings Coastal Plain League player of the week honours. Schwartz, entering his junior year with the High Point University Panthers, hit .517 with 15 hits, including two doubles, two homers and six RBIs ... A week later Brad McElroy did the same, hitting .556, with a league-best 10 hits and four RBIs. The London, Ont., outfielder is entering his junior year with the Charlotte University '49ers.

DAUGHTER DEAREST

On my daughter's high school visit to Queen's University the liaison officer told us: "Come to Queen's, you'll meet lifelong friends, probably your husband, most of your bridal party and get a great degree." He said it worked that way for he and his wife. Yeaaah sure we thought. That was in 1996. Our daughter Alicia weds former Golden Gaels lineman Michael Graaf this afternoon, with the majority of the bridal party Queen's grads. Alicia and I will dance to Louis Armstrong's What a Wonderful World. Yet the No. 1 daughter-father wedding song remains John McDermott's Daughter Of Mine -- if you can dance with Kleenex in your eyes.

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THE BOOK ON ...

Blue Jays 1B/OF/DH MATT STAIRS

What a major-league scout says: "I saw Matt play for the Canadian Olympic team in 1988 when baseball was a demonstration sport at the Seoul Olympics. Back then, Matt was a quick-footed shortstop with the body control of a John McDonald. I felt at the time he would be an offensive threat as a second baseman. His body has changed as he has matured and he doesn't move like he used to but he can still hit. His best attribute was his ability to shake off bad at-bats or bad games. Matt is a competitor who can rake. He'll be a good addition to any team as a bat off the bench or as part-time player, if he clears waivers."

Rating out of five: 3

AVG. HR RBI

.277 14 40

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MADE IN CANADA

Lansing Lugnuts outfielder JONATHAN BAKSH

Baksh, of Mississauga, hit .538 (7-for-13) for the week with three RBIs for class-A Lansing (Blue Jays) to top the 111 Canucks in the minors. Runners-up: Cole Armstrong of Surrey, B.C., and his .524 average (11-for-21) at class-A Winston Salem (White Sox); Rene Tosoni, of Coquitlam, B.C., who hit .467 with three RBIs for class-A Elizabethton (Twins); Victoria's Kyle Orr with a .462 mark and three RBIs for rookie-class Gulf Coast Dodgers; Pete Laforest, of Hull, Que., who hit .409 with two homers and four RBIs at triple-A Portland; and Richmond Hill's Joel Collins, who hit .400 with three homers and five RBIs for rookie-class Gulf Coast Jays.

AVG. HR RBI

.273 1 12

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FARM REPORT

WIDEMAN WINS 11TH, 12TH OF '07

A.J. Wideman had a two-win week pitching for class-A Dunedin. First the Mississauga lefty beat Sarasota 3-1 as he pitched seven innings, allowing one run on five hits and two walks. He fanned six. And five days later, he beat Lakeland 8-3, again working seven innings. This time he allowed two runs on nine hits and one walk, with five strikeouts. Wideman is 9-3 at Dunedin and on the season the former Ontario Blue Jay is 12-3, with a 3.65 ERA in 20 starts, after opening the season at class-A Lansing. He has walked 26 and struck out 79 in 1181/3 innings.

MOVING SLOWLY

Lefty David Purcey remains in Dunedin, rehabbing his elbow. Chosen 16th overall in the 2004 draft, he started the season at double-A New Hampshire. Purcey injured his elbow pitching winter ball in Puerto Rico. After going 3-5 with a 5.37 ERA, he was sent to Florida after his final outing June 6. In 62 innings, he walked 16 and struck out 55, while trying to pitch through a tender elbow.

GOING DEEPER

Joel Collins hit 10 homers in 233 plate appearances for the University of South Alabama Jaguars this season. In his first 22 at-bats of pro ball for the rookie-class Gulf Coast Jays, the Richmond Hill catcher has five homers and 10 RBIs, while hitting .429. Collins was selected in the 10th round. Meanwhile, second baseman John Tolisano, the Florida high schooler the Jays took in the second round, is hitting .204 with five homers and 16 RBIs.

ANOTHER DOWN

Reliever Sean Stidfole's bedroom is full of Harrisburg Senators memorabilia. Now someone is collecting his mementos. Roughly 24 friends and family saw the former Penn State Nittany Lion and New Bloomfield, Pa., resident made his home debut as a pro. Stidfole pitched two innings for double-A New Hampshire in a 10-1 loss to Harrisburg. Selected in the 14th round in the 2005 draft, he pitched at class-A Auburn, Lansing and Dunedin. After struggling at Lansing, he is concentrating on life as a reliever.

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MY GREATEST DAY ...

In-limbo shortstop ROYCE CLAYTON recalls a shining moment on the diamond

Royce Clayton is in his 17th season in the majors, appearing in 2,099 games.

His best day in baseball?

(It certainly wasn't Thursday as Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi announced on the FAN that Clayton would be designated the next day.)

"It was the day (Sept. 20, 1991) I was promoted to the big leagues," Clayton says. "We'd won the double-A Texas League championship at Shreveport a few days before, I wasn't called up and was at home in Los Angeles enjoying the start of my off-season.

"The phone rings and a guy says: 'Al Rosen here, congratulations you're going to the majors,' so of course I hung up."

What's that old saying you don't hang up on the San Francisco Giants general manager twice?

"Rosen phones back and says: 'Hang up again, I'm not calling back. Now get your bags packed and drive to San Diego for tomorrow" Clayton remembers.

"So, there I am in L.A., celebrating by myself with (my) Chinese Chow dog, Rip. I put some stuff in a bag and drove the two hours to San Diego."

Clayton had one hit in his debut game, a double off Jeremy Hernandez in a 10-5 loss to the Padres.

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HOT PROSPECT

Carolina SS REX RUNDGREN

AB H AVG. HR RBI

178 39 .219 1 13

If we had a dollar for every big leaguer who said he's dreamed of being a rock and roll singer, we'd be a rich. Rundgren, of double-A Carolina (Marlins) is the son of singer- songwriter Todd Rundgren and a half-brother of actress Liv Tyler. He had only 39 hits this season in 56 games before being injured but he's a smooth fielder with a strong arm.

Rating out of five: 2

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.435 -- July average for Phillies left fielder Pat Burrell, who hit .129 in June. Burrell had six home runs, 22 RBIs, a .768 slugging percentage and a .564 on-base percentage last month.

4 1/2 -- Innings home plate umpire Kerwin Danley worked with his fly open on Tuesday night in Seattle. This wardrobe malfunction was spotted on TV broadcasts every time Danley crouched for a pitch.

140 -- Value of eight-year deal, in millions of US dollars, which Mark Teixeira turned down from Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks, before being dealt to the Atlanta Braves. Teixeira, represented by Scott Boras, can become a free agent after the 2008 season.


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