Barry Bonds finally did it.

On Saturday, the 41-year-old slugger tied the great Babe Ruth when he took Oakland pitcher Brad Halsey deep for homerun No. 714.

It was his first homerun since hitting No. 713 nine games ago.

Regardless of whether you think Bonds has been “juicing” it up with steroids or just think he is a spoiled, cry-baby athlete — 714 homeruns is a lot of homeruns and is an achievement that should be celebrated.

I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t wrote the nicest things about Bonds during his chase to catch the “Bambino,” but if nothing else it’s kept me interested in watching baseball during the early part of the season.

Although I love the game of baseball and it is my all-time favorite sport, paying attention to Major League Baseball for the entire 162-game season can get a little boring.

I usually don’t start watching the standings and statistics until August when the games really start to count. Bonds’ assault on the all-time homerun record has not only had me checking ESPN every five minutes to see if Bonds had hit another homerun, but also has had me paying attention to what else is going on around the league.

I can honestly say I haven’t watched baseball this intently since Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa made their respective runs at the single-season homerun record in 1998.

No matter what side of the baseball steroid fence you sit on, night in and night out players seem to be playing with a purpose, which is making early season games more fun to watch. It’s almost as if every game is a playoff game and that’s the way baseball should be.

Don’t be surprised if you start hearing people talking about the 2006 season being one that we will remember for a long time to come.

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