By Tim McManus
The Phanatic Magazine
Ever wonder what future generations are going to ask you about, and how you might respond?
Everybody faces those "What was it like to live through..." questions. What will be ours?
Those moments aren't always easy to identify when living it...but I'm pretty sure we're in one right now.
Philadelphia, early summer, 2007. The soon-to-be home run champion in town for three days, just 10 deep flies away from capturing the record.
The pursuer, a villain, carrying a well-established reputation as a cheat with a mean streak to match.
The greatest hitter of all time. The most tainted and scrutinized player of all time. The biggest record of all time.
What was it like to be in the seats, or down the street, or just alive as this piece of fascinating history was unfolding?
I'm afraid my answer is going to be... Eh.
The feeling I have, and the one I sense the area shares, is one of unconcentrated interest. I'm aware that Bonds is in town, the home run record in sight, and that he will leave just inches from the most celebrated achievement in baseball and beyond. I want to see his image in my park, want to know how the Philly fans will react (or, more appropriately, what level they'll raise their game to). I want to see who catches No. 747.
But I find I also have a slight repulsion to the whole spectacle, similar to staring at a bright light. If I focus on it too long I feel uneasy and blurred.
The media is treating Bonds' arrival in a similar fashion: They address it, throw in two cents on it, but don't linger on the subject.
Just a glance. Anything more, and your real feelings may come out.
You may start to look at the man, the plates of his skull protruding and his arms thick like oak, and be unable to keep that faint hope that he has been wrongly accused of doping. You may contemplate how your era will be defined, and recognize that it will have an * or a Rx next to it -- and that No. 25 will be a major reason why.
You might think of all of your parents and grandparents' heroes, and how their accomplishments were trumped because of science, not merit.
You may get angry that the supposed greatest feat in sports is about to occur before your very eyes, and yet things have been stained so badly that you can't even enjoy it.
And so we just glance, take it in but not all the way in.
We wait for it to pass.
Uneasy. The best way to describe it is uneasy.
And I hate that I'm going to have to tell my kids that.
Tim appears on this page every Thursday. You can contact him at email@example.com