Sweetness And LightSweetness And Light The Score On Sports With Frank Deford

MLB Officials Can't Ignore Bonds, Can They?

San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds is edging closer to Henry Aaron's career home-run record. That poses a delicate problem for baseball officials, who might be expected to be on hand to witness the achievement.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Before long, another pro athlete will likely celebrate another triumph that some fans consider tainted by allegations of doping.

Barry Bonds stands just 11 homeruns away from breaking the career record set by Henry Aaron, and that poses a problem for Major League Baseball. So commentator Frank Deford is offering a solution.

FRANK DEFORD: Baseball, well sport, has never before had such a tricky problem of etiquette. Where is Emily Post when we need her? Calling Ms. Manners: Just how are we supposed to behave when Barry Bonds breaks Henry Aaron's record? The issue is particularly sensitive for Mr. Aaron, Mr. Bud Selig, commissioner of baseball, and Mr. Donald Fehr, esquire, head of the players' union.

When his bigheaded excellency, Mr. Bonds, ties the career homerun record at 755, should the aforementioned principals give up their lives and start to travel with the San Francisco Giants so that they might be in attendance, there to hold their noses and congratulate Mr. Bonds when he slugs number 756.

Aaron has already decided that he has other fish to fry on that particular occasion. Sorry, can't make it. Or as we say in baseball, I'll take a rain check. But what of the owner's boss and the union boss? Well, yours truly is going to make it easy for them.

I'm going to invite them both to a party so they can send big head their regrets and say they'd really liked to come, they really would, but they're already otherwise occupied. Herewith is how I get the dignitaries off the hook. Mr. Frank Deford requests the pleasure of your company at a joyful soiree to be held the evening after Barry Bonds ties Henry Aaron's homerun record. The favor of a reply is requested. Black tie.

Furthermore, I would propose that the way for all you fans everywhere to handle the delicate situation is for you too to throw party at that time when Bonds is about to break the record. But listen now. Not a party to celebrate the tainted feat, but a party to divert ourselves to salute something else in life, anything to something that is joyous. Whatever makes you happy, whatever makes you laugh, whatever makes you smile, every party will be B-Y-O-J - bring your own joy. Laugh, drink, dance and make merry.

Bonds is proof that more is not always better. Never mind that he is so widely suspected of cheating with drugs of some nature and may very well be indicted, he is just so terribly surly and disagreeable.

So we will simply close our eyes when he takes the record away from the admirable and esteemed Henry Aaron and celebrate other finer things that make us happy. Come to my party, Mr. Selig. Hey, commish, have another mojito. And you, counselor Fehr, put on that lampshade again and do another break-dance.

Then, when our festive carnival, our summer bacchanalia is over, I suggest we all do one other thing: Start rooting for Alex Rodriguez to hit more homeruns. He's only 31 years old now and already has almost 500 homers. With luck, A-Rod can eclipse Bonds' record sometime during the second administration of Barack Obama.

In the meantime, make those party plans now so we can ignore Bonds' record. After all, remember what your mother told you: If you can't say something nice about someone, don't say anything at all.

INSKEEP: Advice from your personal party planner, Frank Deford. His new novel is "The Entitled," the story of baseball and celebrity and scandal. He joins us each Wednesday from member station WSHU in Fairfield, Connecticut.

You hear him on MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

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Sweetness And LightSweetness And Light The Score On Sports With Frank Deford