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Achorn: a graceful baseball observer

N4N always looks forward to reading Edward Achorn's Tuesday op-ed column in the ProJo. While I don't agree with everything he says, his writing is clean, sharply focused, and he always has a strong point of view. Maybe I'm imagining it, but he seems to have focused more criticism on President Bush and other Republicans after, as part of a 2005 profile, I rapped him for being too single-minded in his criticism of Dems. (The piece is no longer online, but thanks to the Way Back Machine, you can read the first part here.)

Anyway, more than one liberal has expressed a wish that Achorn stick to writing about baseball, a topic where he displays keen knowledge and an obvious love of the game. This week's column, about Barry Bonds' pursuit of the all-time home run record, is no exception:

In another age — as flawed and filled with prejudice as it was — baseball had the gumption to defend its reputation. After several Chicago “Black Sox” players were found innocent in a court of law of defrauding the public by throwing the 1919 World Series, Kennesaw Mountain Landis, the new baseball commissioner, banished the men from baseball for life. He didn’t care what the court said. He cared about sending a message: Baseball will be honest.

Mr. Selig could have thrown Mr. Bonds out of baseball the same way, and fought hard in the court of public opinion when the players union screamed. But that would have pulled on a thread, unravelling the corruption now woven into the game. So instead, Bud is standing by, collecting ad revenues, while this disgraceful clown claims the most prestigious record in sports.

Mr. Aaron’s extraordinarily dismissive statement — that he may be playing golf that day — puts the record in perspective. It is something to be ignored, not honored and joyfully shared by the community of those who revere the game of baseball.

By the way, Howard Bryant's Juicing the Game is an incisive account of baseball in the steroids era

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