Everyone here has seen the clips of Hank Aaron lifting one into the Atlanta bullpen, running around the bases, and being joined by two immortal long-hairs while rounding second. It's baseball. It's a clip you'd loop and put on a space shuttle's video screen to explain American sports to aliens. It's a clip you'd see before Mel Allen dug out his T.W.I.B. Notes. It's a clip you'd see in random places - in a movie, a ballpark scoreboard, or a different ballpark scoreboard. Alright, so maybe it didn't pop up in too many different places, but everyone knows the clip. If you didn't watch it happen, you grew up watching the replay your entire life.
So that's why it's so surreal that Barry Bonds broke the home run record. Barry Bonds. The guy who's been on the Giants for the past 14-plus seasons. Every one of the home runs added up to the record-breaker. Surreal. The home run off of Kirt Ojala was a part of last night. The showdowns with Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson were a part of last night. Bonds hit them into the upper deck of Candlestick. He hit them into the waters of McCovey Cove. They all added up to last night. Surreal.
There's a 99.9% chance of extreme punditing today, followed by violent gusts of bloviation. That's a shame. The debates are tired. Every baseball fan should have had one tiny part of their brain telling them to enjoy last night. The dude has hit more home runs than anyone who has played the game. Soak it up. Enjoy it.
The transition from child to adult is punctuated by a series of benchmarks. You turn 16, and you get the freedom to drive. You turn 18, and you officially become an adult. You turn 21, and you get the freedom to drink alcohol. Each subsequent age...not so much. Your cells start dying. Your body breaks down. Is that a gray hair? One more breath `til death...one more breath `til death...one more breath `til death. My god, is it hot in here? The walls are closing in! The walls are closing in!
That's the best way to describe the Giants of this season and future seasons. The beginning of the season was for the 16-year-old in us; with that much freedom, anything could happen. Heck, the Cardinals lucked their way into a World Series ring. Why not us? We have super-ace Barry Zito, and Rich Aurilia's going to hit .300 again, and Ray Durham's second-half power was for real, and.... We could have gone anywhere.
The All-Star Game was for the 18-year-old in us; it was more of a formality, but danged if it didn't mean something. It turned out to be something worth anticipating. It was as if Mays Field was making the transition from a new park to a classic park in front of us, and it was as exciting as all get out. We also got to vote Barry Bonds into the game. That doesn't really have anything to do with the metaphor, but it would have been weak to mention turning 18 without a gratuitous voting reference.
This home run was the 21st-birthday of our 2007 Giants fandom. Pandemonium. Breathless recounting of the story to anyone who would listen the next day. Good memories. Good...less-than-memories. Things happened quickly, even though it took so long to get to that point. It will only happen once, and it was amazing.
When the September call-ups come up, that'll be like turning 25 and being able to rent a car, or something.
After that: A slow decline into adult diapers. Actually, it'll probably be real quick. Actually, there is some fantastic incontinence going on right now if you'd care to pay attention. Would you like to pay atte....no? I don't blame you. Welcome to the rest of your life, or, at least, the rest of your franchise's extended period of misfortune.
For right now, though, let's keep the lampshade on our collective head for as long as we can. Congratulations, Barry. Congratulations, Giants fans. Congratulations, baseball.