A Sad Day for Baseball

Tuesday, March 7, 2006, was a sad day for baseball. It was the day the story hit the wires that Sports Illustrated would print a detailed story of Bobby Bonds illegal use of steroids and other illegal agents the next day - excerpts from a book to be soon published.

The story will not shock anybody. But the extent of the details will forever tarnish Bonds, for the homers he has hit since 1998 and those he may still hit.

The story is apparently so documented there surely will be a clamor for baseball to take some action - before Congress does.

Bonds' is sure to sue the magazine and just as surely the magazine, knowing this in advance of publication, will defend itself. A lawsuit will probably last longer than Bonds' remaining career - if he isn't suspended.

Beyond what happens to Bonds himself, the length and breadth of the story will undoubtedly call for some decision to be made on the record he has accumulated - and rightly so.

All baseball will be the losers in this. The fans who believed Bonds, the fans who now will question all records chalked up (or juiced up) in the steroids era. The commissioner's office will be tarnished, as it should be, for the lack of action it took before forced to do something by the first Congressional hearings.

The Bonds story now makes Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson look like penny ante miscreants. Sadly, Barry Bonds would have made the Hall of Fame without needing a single injection. Now he may not make it at all.

The glare of publicity this story will ignite may make Bonds hang em up now. If he persists in playing, he had better buy the best pair of earplugs on the market for every game on the road.

The Bonds' story was sure to grab all sports headlines on Wednesday, putting the Kirby Puckett death on the inside pages.

The real story of the day was overshadowed, the clobbering the Dominican Republic team put on Venezuela (11-5) in the World Baseball Classic in Orlando. For those baseball fans who watched on ESPN, it was hard to miss the enthusiastic play of both teams. Baseball guru Peter Gammons was in the dugout to get the flavor.

The game elevated the WBC to the real thing and makes Yankees owner George Steinbrenner look like a grouch. The classic is good for baseball at a time when baseball needs good things.

And, unfortunately, the Barry Bonds' story and perhaps Barry Bonds himself, are not good for baseball.

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