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The Cold Filtered Ramblings of Gene Mueller

Take It Like A Man

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        The Cubs play the Giants next week at Wrigley Field.

        How will you feel if Barry Bonds is sitting on the bench, as the Brewers try separating themselves from Chicago in the N.L. Central?

        Today's Sun-Times raises the possibility of Bonds riding the pines as he approaches Hank Aaron's all-time home run mark, in hopes of actually setting the new one in front of his San Francisco friendlies.      commissioner Bud Selig -- echoing the stance former commissioner Bowie Kuhn took in 1974 when Aaron was on the cusp of breaking Babe Ruth's record -- does not want the Giants to sit Bonds to ensure a record-breaker at home.

''I hope everybody uses their good judgment,'' Selig said Tuesday. ''You play your best players.'' The Bonds camp envisions a dream scenario. After the series against the Cubs, the Giants play three games in Milwaukee, where Bonds could tie the mark in Selig's hometown. The Giants then return home to open a seven-game home stand with a four-game series against the Atlanta Braves -- Aaron's former team -- on July 23. Bonds celebrates his 43rd birthday on July 24.

       With a mere four and a half games separating the Brewers and Cubs, I'd like to see the Giants use Bonds--he gives them their best chance of beating Chicago.         And, if Bonds is truly as worried about what's best for his team, that he really isn't all that consumed by the record (at least, that's what he told ESPN Monday night) then he should want to be in the lineup and allow the chase to run it's natural, geographic course.     Even if that means playing in Milwaukee, and perhaps, setting the new mark here.

       This isn't about winning, though.      And, it's not about letting things play out.

       Is there any doubt Bonds juiced?

       Is there any question as to why he did it?

       Is it any wonder that he doesn't want it to happen in front of a stadium packed with unfriendlies--providing a soundtrack in the key of "boo" to his magical moment, a video clip that'll play forever and ever?

       Selig should be there, wherever and whenever 756 happens.      And, Bonds should play every game he's physically capable of, be it on the road or at A-T-and-T park.       It's about doing what's best for your team.     It's about the integrity of the game.

       Isn't it, Barry?


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