Bonding with Greatness

Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants has become an American giant by breaking baseball's home-run record. And he did it by hitting 73 in one season, two more than necessary to win baseball's ultimate crown.

The fact that Mr. Bonds broke the record so soon after Mark McGwire, along with talk that Bonds has a hard time connecting with the press and the fans, may have contributed to a sort of "ho-hum" attitude about his prodigious slugging. And, like so much of ordinary life in America since Sept. 11, even extraordinary events have taken a back seat to the need to confront terrorism.

But Sinclair Lewis wrote of the "eternal importance" of baseball, and it would be sad to think that as American athletes shatter sports records in ever-shorter time frames, the nation could possibly lose interest in their remarkable achievements.

In truth, there's nothing ho-hum about Bonds's incredible batting feat.

Also nearly overlooked last week was a fond farewell to a retiring Baltimore Oriole near-immortal, Cal Ripken, after playing 3,001 games. His stamina and constancy as a top player may be just the model for Americans in a long struggle against terrorism.

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