- The Washington Times - Monday, April 23, 2007

Bud Selig is stuck between a rock and Barry Bonds’ enlarged head. The commissioner remains noncommittal on whether he will attend any San Francisco Giants games as Bonds closes in on Hank Aaron’s all-time home run record.

Bonds is up to 740 home runs, 15 short of Aaron’s record 755. Eclipsing Aaron’s record is no longer a possibility. It’s an inevitability.

In a perfect world, Selig would relish Bonds’ home run chase and follow him intently. Or he would hold a press conference and say he thinks Bonds is a steroid user and a cheat.

Unfortunately, he must operate in a gray area.

He doesn’t have enough evidence on Bonds to go trial, but he doesn’t want to throw a parade for him either.

He is beholden to the Giants because they are one of the 30 teams he works for. He also is beholden to baseball to honor what is right.

Selig has taken a similarly nebulous, blind-eye approach to steroids. He says they are bad for the game, but he knows they mean big business for the game.

Before the season, Selig compared Bonds’ chase of baseball’s most beloved record to a pitcher reaching 300 career wins.

“I wasn’t there when Roger Clemens won this 300th game,” he said. “That’s a matter I’ll determine at some point in the future. Let me say it, and I’m not going to say anymore. That’s it.”

Of course, Selig was in attendance for Mark McGwire’s 62nd home run, the one that broke Roger Maris’ single-season record. Selig basked in the glow of McGwire and Sosa during the feel-good summer of 1998.

Baseball was back.

Then in 2005, Selig was grilled by a congressional committee on steroid use in baseball. On the same panel, McGwire, when asked about his own involvement in steroids, said: “I’m not here to discuss the past.”

On the issue of Bonds, Selig is either being hypocritical or he doesn’t want to get burned the way he was by McGwire.

Bonds has no support from Aaron either.

“Uh-uh. No, no. I’m not going to be around,” Aaron said last month of his attendance when Bonds breaks his record.

“I just want to be at peace with myself. I don’t want to answer questions. It’s going to be a no-win situation for me anyway,” he said.

Maybe Selig will take a cue from Aaron, a close friend of many years. Aaron added to his home run record with the Selig-owned Milwaukee Brewers in 1975 and 1976.

Maybe Selig is ashamed that baseball’s steroids era directly coincides with the Selig era.

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