Monday, September 25, 2006

Of Bonds, records, baseball and aikido

Over the past weekend, Barry Bonds tied and passed Hank Aaron’s National League record of 733 home runs. Aaron hit his last 22 as a designated hitter in the American League for the then AL Milwaukee Brewers. It is ironic that Bonds tied and broke the NL his career(with the Milwaukee Brewers).

Because of the controversy currently surrounding Bonds, I believe this has been greatly underplayed nationally. Personally, I am proud that Barry broke this record as a Giant. I was a great fan of his god-father, Willie Mays, and I was very sad when Aaron passed Mays and went on to set the all-time record. I had hoped Willie would be the all-time record holder. So on a personal level, I am happy that Bonds has brought the all-time NL
Home run record back to the Giants. It was previously held by Mel Ott(511) and Willie Mays(646). Mays went on to hit 660, but finished well behind Aaron. Personally, I am rooting for Barry to play another year and to pass Aaron’s all time mark of 755. Remember, this would leave Barry still well behind Sadaharu Oh’s world mark of 868. Barry would probably have to play into his 50’s to break that mark.

Bonds’s recent batting surge has been quite remarkable at age 42. One need only look at the home run numbers for both Aaron and Mays at that age to realize how remarkable it is for Bonds to hit the 26 needed to pass Aaron this year.. According to Andrea Mallis (
) Barry had Saturn in his sun sign of Leo and later Saturn was opposing his moon. Saturn is the planet of limitations and can teach us how to endure and be patient. Saturn is like a traffic cop that is hanging around you when you feel the need to speed. Currently Saturn is in my 5th house(relationships) and that has been very slow. So in addition to age and his right knee surgery, Bonds has also been battling the astrological energies of the planets. When I asked Andrea about Bonds’s recent revival, she replied that Saturn had obviously moved on. This probably bodes well for him, if he plays, to break the all-time mark next year.
Bonds has had to make adjustments. His home runs are now to right and left center as well as to the opposite field. To date he has had only one shot into McCovey cove this year. I believe earlier in the year he was having trouble shifting the weight of his center(the aikido one point) onto his surgically repaired right (front) leg. According to Oh this is all important for a hitter. Just as in aikido, the batter must extend his arms and swing through the ball as the weight of his center is transferred onto his front leg. I believe earlier in the year Bonds’s front leg was bothering him to the extent that he would “lose” his center when he attempted this shift. Some people have noticed that Bonds now appears off-balance when he hits home runs. I believe he has adjusted by keeping his center back and generating torque in this manner and is thus able to retain his center for his swing. After contact and follow through to his front leg he appears and might be off balance. But for the moment when bat meets ball, Bonds again has his center supporting his swing.

For aikido there are no records. There is no won/loss. The Founder achieved a level of being and awareness that are not likely to be surpassed. “Golden Vapors” anyone?


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