It was the second night of the three-game series between the Dodgers and Giants and everybody was waiting breathlessly for Barry Bonds of the Giant to "not" break the all-time home run record.
As most everyone is well-aware, Barry Bonds isn't the most likeable guy in the world. The haughty, surly, smirking, aloof, drug-suspected athlete may go in the record books for homers hit, but not for being a nice guy, and certainly not a personality for young fans and future baseball players to emulate.
To add a little more venom to the mix, there's the rivalry between the Dodgers and the Giants. So, there we were gathered in front of the TV rooting for Bonds to be walked at every plate appearance, not wanting him to tie Hank Aaron's 755 lifetime home runs in L.A., even if it meant walking over the winning run.
It was better, in my mind for us to lose, than to have a Dodger pitcher take the fall for giving up that 755th homer.
Apparently, there were 52,000 fans in the stands who felt the same way, or there was a helluvah love-hate relationship between the fans and Bonds going on.
Only in L.A. could you have baseball fans give a player a standing "boovation," while at the same time snapping off hundred of pictures from their lofty perches in the stands.
Although Barry Bonds has allegedly broken the all-time home run record, I stand by my theory that nobody has broken George Herman "Babe" Ruth's career record. Ruth had a 714 homers during his career, and in 1927 one amazing achievement of 60 homes in a single season.
That was back in the day when the baseball season was far shorter. For that reason, no one can ever top Ruth's record unless they do it in the same number of games as The Babe or in as many at bats.
You can move the goal post and say yards rushing is the same, or change the height of the basket and have free throws records stand.
To say that a record is broken when the rules have change just isn't right, and is comparing apples to avocados. A runner couldn't break Roger Bannister's four-minute mile if suddenly a mile was changed from 5,280 feet to 4,280 feet.
Gertrude Ederly's record swim of the English Channel couldn't be broken if good old Mom Nature took a hand and narrowed the channel. It's ridiculous. Nor can you compare Ederly's swim to Florence Chadwick's, since Ederly swam the channel in one direction, while Chadwick did it both ways.
Then came Vinnie, riding in on the airwaves to vindicate my theory. They say there are lies, damn lies and then there are statistics. In all the years Scully's been in L.A. broadcasting games, I don't think there's a person who could ever accusing him of telling a lie -- not even a teensy-weensy fib. Scully is the man Diogenes was looking for.
The Dodgers statisticians decided to compare the apples and avocados. Using the number of "at bats" as the standard, they came up with numbers that say any hitter would have to hit well over a thousand homers to even approach Ruth's record.
So far nobody's done it. Not Roger Maris, Mickey Mantel, Hank Aaron, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGuire, and certainly not Barry Bonds...none of them.
Sorry guys -- and I'm a huge fan of some of you -- none of you have done it.
Some of the above mentioned players have been accused of taking steroids or other body-enhancing chemicals. We'll never know unless they make deathbed confessions. The drug controversy is just one more stain on the aging record book.
If the powers that be are going to call these "non-records," "records," then every one of them must have big black asterisks after them.
We do know that the only things Ruth had to fortify him were fast women, late nights, booze, nicotine and doughnuts.
If Ruth were playing today, he'd be in the Valley hitting all the nightspots and playing the next day with doughnuts stuffed in his pockets, and Vinnie would be there telling us Ruth has done it again.
That ball is outta here and on its way to Pasadena.
Babe Ruth. The Sultan of Swat. Vive le Sultan!