Bonds Critics Disingenuous

Hank Aaron's 755 home runs might be the most important statistical record in all of sports. It is the most recognized stat in the most statistic-oriented sport of all. It's also a number that is about to be passed by one of the most unlikable guys in recent memory. Barry Bonds has very few redeeming human qualities.

He is selfish, rude, sullen, arrogant, obnoxious, insulting and condescending. And those are some of the nicer words you can use to describe him.

Still, Bonds is one of the greatest players the game has ever seen and the nation-wide pooh-poohing of him becoming the All-Time Home Run Leader is starting to get annoying. No, I'm not rooting for Bonds to pass Aaron's record, but I'm not rooting against it either. Records are, literally made to be broken and while I rarely take sides in the pursuit I always applaud the accomplishment.

As a lifelong Yankees fan I saw Aaron pass Babe Ruth and cheered. I saw Cal Ripken Jr. surpass Lou Gehrig and was standing and applauding. Yeah, I was in my living room, but it's the thought that counts. When Barry Bonds hits number 756 I will give him his due as well, and then I'll check Alex Rodriguez' total and try to project the future.

Steroids a Shared Taint

Virtually anyone with a brain cell has long since concluded that while you may not be able to prove it in court; Barry Bonds took steroids for several years in the 1999-2005 range. Bonds resented the love and acclaim that went to far inferior players Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa during their assault on the single season home run record in 1998. He did something about it, and from 2000-2004 he hit 258 homers, an average of 51.6 a season.

Baseball had no rule against the use of steroids then and for purely selfish reasons. Owners knew that "chicks dig the long ball" and the prodigious homers from McGuire, Sosa and others were helping set records at the turnstiles. The MLB Players Association had no interest in creating problems for its members and the media loved the story. So EVERYONE looked the other way. For anyone in any of those categories to feign righteous indignation at this point is pure hypocrisy. Kinda like the people who build homes in the suburbs and then protest every other development proposal that follows.

We'll never know how many players took steroids or some steroid precursor (i.e.: andro) during that time. A number of current and former players have been connected to it and many more may soon be joining them. The bottom line is that it was wide spread throughout the game and the game itself was complicit in letting it happen. Bonds may have broken some laws along the way, but he broke no rules of the game and the whining and backbiting ought to stop.

Another thing we need to consider, many baseball books have documented that during the fifties through the seventies amphetamines were rampant in major league baseball. Travel was not nearly so luxurious and day games far more common place so a pick me up helped guys play on short rest. I am not accusing anyone of anything, just pointing out that we don't know who took what and under what circumstances.

As for the Hall of Fame, well that's another issue as the writers and eventually veteran's committee must decide how to handle the guys we've mentioned today among with Rafael Palmeiro, Gary Sheffield and Jason Giambi. We'll take a stand on that issue with Bonds and the others at a date in the not too distant future.


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