Barry: It's time. Just get it over with already. Please.
Catch Hank Aaron, round the bases, enjoy the fireworks, and exit the stage quickly and safely.
|Should Barry be afraid? Well, no ... but he should keep his wits about him. (Getty Images)|
"I don't know how much you should worry," said Christian End, a sports fan behavior expert from Xavier University. "I would bet a mortgage payment nothing will happen to Bonds. But it is true that as he nears the record, he becomes more of a target."
When I see Bonds during a game, isolated in the outfield, I see a highly vulnerable person.
I cannot help but think of some recent cases involving weirdos and thugs charging the field for lesser baseball stars, let alone Bonds. I worry some hater of Bonds will slip the elaborate security net protecting him.
I think back to just five years ago when Kansas City first-base coach Tom Gamboa was attacked by two bare-chested punks who punched him in the face. They left the stands with ease and ran onto the field quickly with little obstruction.
Months later, in a series between Kansas City and Chicago, a fan ran from the stands and attacked a first base umpire. Such a thing was not supposed to happen after the Gamboa debacle. But it did. Indeed, three times earlier that night fans had run onto the field, according to accounts by the Associated Press.
I think back to 1995 when a Cubs pitcher was charged by a fan after giving up a homer. I think back to four years following that incident when a Houston outfielder was bashed in the face by a fan. I think back to last year when a fan tossed a syringe at Bonds as he walked off the field between innings.
I hear all of the rational talk and I know the chances of anyone getting to Bonds remain slim but that does not ease my nervousness. Thus I hope as Bonds gets closer to Aaron the various stadiums he plays in become fortresses.
I want police in the stands, police in helicopters, police in boats, police in space ships orbiting the ballpark. Hell, police selling popcorn and peanuts.
"I hope to God nothing happens. But as he gets closer to this record, you have to be concerned about his well-being," Calvin Wardlaw, a retired Atlanta police officer who was the bodyguard for Aaron during the early 1970s, told a website earlier this season. "This is our national pastime. It's not like Hank or Barry is at war with something or someone. This is just a game. But when you have a stadium full of people and emotions are running high, you never know. And in my line of work, you fear the unknown."
If there are fools charging mostly anonymous relievers and first-base coaches, then I fear dopes incarnate trying to encroach on Bonds' big moment.