Chasing First

The San Antonio Missions went into their recent home stand against the Tulsa Drillers on a six-game slide, yet still only a half-game out of first place in the Texas League's Southern Division. During the losing streak, the team was out-scored 34-12, and their frustrations finally surfaced on the diamond in the bottom of the eighth inning when, down 1-3, Missions Manager Daren Brown was ejected from the game by home-plate umpire Joe Maiden for arguing an overturned call. San Antonio went on to drop the game by a 1-5 score; subsequent contests in the three-game series yielded losses of 3-5 and 2-7. With 21 games remaining on their schedule and only one-and-a half games between them and the top spot, the Missions season is far from over. Prior to Sunday's contest, I chatted with Missions slugger and Houston native Jason Bourgeois. Our conversation soon shifted from the nine-game skid to a controversial history-chasing figure. What are your thoughts on Barry Bonds's passing Babe Ruth on the all-time home-run list and the possibility of his eventually passing Hank Aaron for most home runs ever? I think it's awesome. I hope he does it and shuts all the critics up. I respect what he does on the field even though a lot of people don't, because they say 'Oh, he's a bad guy because of steroids.' I don't know him personally, so I'm not going to criticize him. All I know is what he does on the field. It's great and I hope he gets to do it.

“Everybody has their own little thing they use
to get ahead, so to each their own.”


Why is this record so important? It's a long-standing record, first of all. It's one of the toughest-standing records in sports ... To hit a baseball and ... to hit as many as they did, Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and all those guys ... it's a great record. It seems like statistics and records seem to carry more weight in baseball than in any other sport. Why is that? Number one, it's tradition, the consistency of having this game, and the longevity. You take other sports, like football, and there's no way you can play almost 15 years. In this game, you have guys averaging 12 to 13 years, almost, from minor leagues to major leagues. It's the longevity of it; as you get older you get stronger. What do players in the Minor Leagues say about steroids in baseball? Guys have their different opinions and express them, but let `it` go. It could have been going on for years, but we don't know. That's the thing. You don't know guys personally. Guys that get caught, it's like 'Wow, that guy got caught with steroids, maybe he could have been taking them, I mean look at his body.' But you just never know, you never know. Some guys put in work ... and that's the thing that a lot of people forget. Since it's a baseball athlete and not so much of a big body-building athlete, they forget that we put in work, too. Doesn't baseball have a tradition of bending the rules, whether it's corked bats or pitchers doctoring the ball to gain an advantage? Everybody has their own little thing that they use to get ahead, so to each their own. Is there ever an instance where you think someone should have an asterisk next to their accomplishments in the record book? No, because for me it's all about what you do on the field. A lot of guys get caught up in bending the rules, and rules are rules. If you break them you deserve to get punished, don't get me wrong, but the speculation of stuff is totally different. To speculate that somebody did this and did that and then put an asterisk by his name is not right. If it's not a fact, you shouldn't do it.

There's been a lot of talk recently about Mark McGwire and the Hall of Fame.Do you think he should be allowed to go in? It's not a fact that he used steroids, so he should go. He worked hard his whole career and to do what he did with that year, with him and Sammy Sosa, he pretty much lit up baseball, got people back to watching baseball. So I think he should be allowed in.


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