Elmhurst Pub Roundtable

Where the beer is cold and the conversation loud...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Barry Bonds...again

I was giving everyone some time to respond to this, but since I'm on my lunch break here I thought since no one else has taken the reigns that I'd say something. Everyone here understands my undying love for the game of baseball. I read box scores with the same intensity others read mystery novels. If there's a game on, I'll watch it. There is nothing about baseball that I don't find utterly enthralling. Most people see the slow pace, I sit and enjoy the strategy of the game - from positioning of infielders, to whether or not to bunt, to the individual pitches called. While other fans don't necessarily care about the effect of steroids and amphetamines on the integrity and the history of the game, it is something that bothers me to no end. Each record broken by a modern player needs to be called in to question, which is not something any sport should be proud of. Every towering home run hit, even now, has to be met with a certain level of skepticism. Players have shown up for training camps over the past two years smaller and smaller, claiming to have cut fatty foods from their diets. Passing the eyeball test for some of these guys wasn't even possible.

And now we have the revelations coming from the book entitled Game of Shadows by columnists at the San Francisco Chronicle detailing, to nearly daily remedies, how Barry Bonds took steroids and gained this massive amount of muscle. The authors use unsealed court documents, affidavits from BALCO employees, interviews with witnesses, and multiple other sources to compile what basically is a timeline of usage beginning back in 1998. It's hard to believe that all of this is untrue, given the excruciating detail with which they go over the exact regimen Bonds was taking, the cycles, the calendars, and the conversations. And the reason: apparent jealousy over the McGwire coverage and the home run chase. The book even details the way Bonds was avoiding paying taxes on memorabilia sales and autographed merchandise. At best, he's been evading taxes. At worst, he's done that, perjured himself in court, and destroyed any reputation he had left while ruining the sanctity of the game of baseball. The excerpts alone hurt to read (they can be found on cnnsi.com). If you look at the pictures from the time Bonds broke into the majors in 1986 to now, the change is astounding. You can add 20-30 pounds of muscle when you're in your twenties, not in your mid to late thirties, which is what Bonds did. The injuries Bonds piled up from 1998-2005 also lead down the trail to question his honesty about illegal supplements. Add all this together as well as the integrity of the data compiled in the book and you have guilt...at least in the court of public opinion.

All this comes on the heels of last year's New York Times article detailing the regimen Mark McGwire was taking down to the exact amounts. All coming from an FBI source. Call me crazy, but that's credible enough for me. Problem is, we don't know the time frame involved here and when McGwire started. This is a guy, after all, that hit 49 homers as a rookie with Oakland. What's worse, some people at ESPN STILL say they would be willing to vote for Bonds and the Hall of Fame!! What more proof do these people need??

But what do you do with all of this? How should the commissioner react and how should baseball move forward? It's not as black and white as expunging his statistics from the record books, or McGwire's for that matter. Bonds, contrary to belied, was not a Hall of Famer prior to 1998. He was ON HIS WAY to becoming one. His stats through those 12 years, outside of stolen bases, compare favorably with a guy who actually isn't in the Hall of Fame, one Jim Rice. You can make the case that steroids made him a Hall of Famer. May not be entirely accurate, but it's an arguable point. What I say you do with anyone found guilty of having used illegal performance enhancing drugs, especially to this length, is banned from baseball in the way Pete Rose was. Leave the stats there, because that era leaves open the debate for who actually was or wasn't using. But put an asterisk next to them with a note, "Guilty of Using Performance Enhancing Drugs." Now, you can argue that there were others who weren't caught and you're right. But I can't do anything with people who I can't prove are guilty. I wish I could, because guys like Pudge Rodriguez certainly are on my list. So, for me, McGwire, Palmeiro, Bonds, and anyone else who tests positive for substances like this don't deserve to grace a baseball diamond ever again. I don't care if you're a minor leaguer or a star like this, you have no right to be considered a Hall of Fame player. Some might say this is harsh. It probably is, but anabolic steroids and amphetamines, these true performance enhancers need to be removed from all sports, not just baseball. As for the other major player, Sammy Sosa, well he's never been caught. That's about all you can say and his career should be judged as such.

That said, these three players should kiss the Hall of Fame good bye. Just as Rose destroyed the integrity of the game through his gambling (as a manager), these players destroyed the on-field reputation of the game of baseball and should be banned for life. They would never get my vote.


Blogger koz said...

Let me pull up a chair and join in this discussion. Would the idiot that didnt believe Barry was on the steriods please stand up. Just what I thought, Giant fans are the only ones standing. And worse of all, they are the only ones that dont care about it. I do feel bad for the owner of the Giants, he doesnt want this but whats he gonna do, say no to the guy who puts the cash in his pocket??

Barry did the most horribe thing he could, even worse then gambling by Pete "Please let me back" Rose. Now the true debate, does Barry belong in the Hall?? To play devil's advocate here, Ill take the arguement of yes he does.

The book says Barry didnt start using and abusing till 1999 season. That means that his numbers before that are legit. This means, he had 411 (give or take a couple) home runs. Dam, thats pretty dam good. Lets also count the 3 MVP awards, and 5 Gold glove awards. He was also a regular as an All Star.

If you take away 30 percent of his numbers even from 1999 and on, he still has quality years. Barry is an idiot. He got jealous of Mark "Andro" McGuire. Barry is a player who would play the race card every chance he gets. Idont think he will break Hanks record or even try to. He will break Babe Ruth's just because Babe is white.

Is Barry a a first ballot Hall of Famer, hellz no. Should he be in, yes, with a big sign saying cheater in bright lights above his plaque. Will he be voted in by the writers, maybe in his 12th chance, there are no rules that he broke, just morals being shattered. If he is not voted in by the writers, no complaint here, then he should have many things in about his younger career. He has the numbers and resume from before the steriods. He went from great to legendary and now to the black eye of baseball.

I do not want him in, but you can make the arguement for him to be in.

10:25 PM  
Blogger cwhager527 said...

Alright, let's assume Bonds started using before 1999. Let's take a look at his first 13 seasons then. Let me expound on my Jim Rice theory. His stats compare almost number for number with Rice if you take stolen bases out of the equation. Both were MVP's, both perennial All-Stars. Check out the numbers:

HR's: 411 vs. 363
RBI's: 1216 vs. 1338
Hits: 1917 vs. 2257
AVG.: .289 vs. .303

And Rice in that time made 2 World Series appearances, Bonds made zero. Not that it's a deciding factor, but it's something to note. Bonds didn't appear in his first Series until 2002. Rice only won one MVP award, but finished top 5 on 5 other occasions.

I like your point on taking 30% of his stats, but take a look at the way some players fall off dramatically after a certain age. There's no saying Bonds would have still even been in the league had it not been for his enhancements. But as for your point on it not being illegal, steroids and enhancements were made illegal in the MLB in 1991, they just were never tested for. Big difference. Check out the 1991 drug policy Fay Vincent issued at this website, towards the bottom...


8:54 AM  

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