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Bonds keeping the throne warm for A-Rod

There is only one thing on this planet that can make me an Alex Rodriguez fan. That would be Barry Bonds.

For 33 years, Henry Aaron was a benevolent home run king. He held the position with grace, dignity and respect. Now, Bonds has seized the throne. It's a little like the point in Gladiator where after Marcus Aurelius' um, somewhat suspicious death, Commodus seizes the role of Caesar and, well, the whole empire is compromised. Bonds, Joaquin Phoenix: One and the same.

Quick admission, though: Gotta admit, the Bonds hatred has died off just a little in the last couple of days. When you've got (allegedly) game-fixing refs running around the NBA and (allegedly) dog-fighting quarterbacks running around the NFL -- and those are only the latest heinous allegations to rock those leagues -- the taint to Bonds, his cream, his clear and his record doesn't seem nearly as severe.

Rank the crimes against the sport anyway you want, but the sooner Bonds' homer record is gone, the sooner the steroid era will be wiped clean away from the record books.

Which means now all we have to do is, um, well, OK, we've got to get behind A-Rod.

Rodriguez may be a plastic, empty shell of a personality and he may have his own demons, but everybody seems to be pretty much in agreement that he's hit his home runs the natural way.

With any luck, A-Rod will be at 510 or higher by the end of this season. So let's go to the chalkboard. He hits a homer every 14.32 at-bats and averages about 41 homers per season. Assuming he carries on that average for another six years and that would put him right at 756 at the end of 2013. But I'm also assuming Bonds isn't going to call it quits with 756, so let's put the record at a nice round 800 (kind of equal to Bonds' hat size). A-Rod could pass that either in 2014 or early in 2015.

Ah, that would mean less than a decade of having Bonds in the books. Now, all we've got to do is ensure that baseball and A-Rod take the necessary steps to ensure he breaks it. Here are a few hand hints to help that happen:

Next stop: Philly. If Rodriguez opts out of his contract this season, the bandbox in Philadelphia has to be his next home. No park is more homer-friendly. Maybe he could average 50 a year for a couple of seasons and accelerate the pace. Alternatives: Colorado, Chicago White Sox and Baltimore. Texas would be a possibility, but he's already been there, done that.

No sliding or chasing pop-ups. Ken Griffey Jr. was destined to be the clean-living home run champ until he let effort get in the way. Griffey tore up his ankle a couple of times and has had numerous hamstring issues lately. He's not played in more than 130 games since 2000 and he's played in more than 111 just once. As a result, Junior will be lucky to get to 700 and he's not going to pass Bonds, Aaron or Babe Ruth. Griffey should be a cautionary tale for A-Rod: Unless you are in the batter's box with a piece of wood, stop trying!

No more groupies. Strippers, dancers or the like -- stay away. A-Rod has already had been, um, exposed to that environment once. He does not need something like a messy divorce taking his concentration off the field. Let him write his children's books and live a happy life filled with home runs.

A no-trade clause. Allow Rodriguez the ability to veto any trade that would make Bartolo Colon, David Wells or Ramon Ortiz his teammate. He needs to keep facing these guys. He's hit eight homers off each, his most against any opponent. Jamie Moyer, Jeff Suppan, Tim Wakefield and Sidney Ponson (wherever you are), don't expect to be A-Rod buddies either. You've each surrendered six homers apiece to the man. Keep chucking, guys.

And, finally, more money. Hey, it motivates the guy. He's already got one $252 million contract in his back pocket. Can somebody top that to keep the guy happy?

Now get to work. The record is in the hands of Barry Bonds. Every day it stays there strips the dignity away just a little bit more.


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