Location: Vienna, Virginia, United States

A graduate of Dartmouth College (2005) and Washington and Lee University School of Law (2010). These are my personal blogs, and the musings expressed on them do not reflect the positions of my employer. They do reflect my readings, thoughts, and aspirations, which I figure is good enough.

Sunday, February 27, 2005


All this hype over Barry Bonds and steroids. And for what? The integrity of the game? Keeping it clean?

Not really. It can all be summed up in three numbers. 7. 5. 5. As Barry gets closer to Hammerin' Hank's record, everyone is up in arms about the purity of the game, about the now endangered significance of Hank Aaron beating Babe Ruth's record and Barry assuming the position, for all intents and purposes, as the greatest home run hitter ever. (We can get into the fact that Barry is a black man that no one likes, while Aaron was a charismatic icon, but that's another blog for another day.)

Let's just say that if Wilton Guerrero was suddenly exposed as a juicer, you wouldn't hear another word about it. This is all about juicing, and the supposed results of said juicing. Juice Juice Juice.

I thought that was OJ Simpson. Nevermind.

Barry's record will taint baseball. At least that's what we're supposed to think. He taints it like he taints a media session. Taint taint taint.

He used something that's for sure. The clear? Check. The cream? Check. Clomid? Maybe. HGH? You never know. Uncle Vic's Testicle-Shrinking, Undetectable, Muscle-building Elixir? Probably. What's it mean though?

Enough apparently for our Social Security Privatizing, White House Press Credential Dropping, War-Loving Government to threaten involvement. Don't make me laugh.

I'm not convinced we need to worry. That there is, or ever was, anything to worry about. The way the game is going right now, Barry's record will stand for another 15 years. No more. We have Alex "Slappy" Rodriguez on a pace to break 800 in 12 years. If A-Rod can play until he's forty, he'll pass Barry. It's pure speculation at this point, but has anyone done as much as quickly? Maybe Albert Pujols. Miguel Cabrera should reach 150 before he's 25 at the rate he's going. The point is that it's not just Barry. And steroids doesn't explain all of it either.

Better conditioning, tighter balls (no, not the scrotal kind, the baseballs), smaller parks, the DH, etc. etc. Everything about today's game encourages increased offense, performance enhancing steroids or not. Even the way we analyze and rate players. No one cares if Adam Dunn strikes out 195 times. What matters are his OBP and his home runs.

So I say let Jose Canseco enjoy his last ten seconds in the spotlight. I think steroids are dangerous, and the MLB should be ashamed for ignoring it, but I don't think there needs to be a witch hunt, starting and ending with The Talented Jerk, Barry Bonds.

Let Barry have his day. Let him hit another 65 or so in the next two years, end up with around 770. The way things are going, his reign will last a decade or so.

That said, we shouldn't be writing Bonds off so fast. Sure, his head looks a few sizes larger now than it did when he was a scrawny kid working his groovy in the Pirates organization, but shave off some of these home runs, and Barry is still the only member of the 500 HR 500 steal club. Pretty elite company there. What with Barry and . . . Barry. One can make a good case on the numbers that he's the best baseball player ever, steroids or no.

Ruth was the greatest because when he started hitting home runs, he hit more than entire teams. Now I can't say Bonds ever did that, but his production over the past 20 years has been absolutely unparalleled by another other batter. That's a debate to be had over a couple of nice beers though, not an issue that needs to be at the center of everyone's attention as we approach the 2005 season.

Of course, that's what it's all about. Pure numbers are superficial, but an easy way to compare. Always has been that way, always will be. That's why there was an asterisk around Roger Maris' 61. That's why people wondered about placing one next to Ichiro's hits total last year. Nevermind the fact that you can't compare Ichiro to Sisler, just like you can't compare Barry to Ruth, or even Aaron. The game is different, it changes, whether its a dead ball era or a live ball era, or the spitball is legal or not, etc etc, and any sportswriter that would have you believe otherwise is trying to make an extra buck off of nostalgia and purity.

As for me, I'll continue watching the game that grown men play for millions a year, that make grown men on and off the field act like idiots, and sometimes rejoice in that idiocy. I'll enjoy watching Juan Pierre lay down a nice bunt, and David Ortiz launching a home runs over the Coke Bottle above the Green Monster. I'll enjoy each Ichiro hit as he chases .400 this year, each Manny Ramirez fielding hiccup in left field, and each base Carl Crawford steals.

I'll enjoy Greg Maddux's consistency, Randy Johnson's freak of nature intimidation, Rick Ankiel's backstop strikes and Barry Zito's curveballs. I'll watch Zack Grienke or some other young pitcher make everyone that says that there will never be another 300 game winner after Glavine eat their socks.

I'll continune writing about this game because I like writing about it, about what I see, about what I like and don't like. But I'll let the BBWA worry about Hall of Fame credentials and whatnot. The Hall of Fame is a piece of crap anyway. Abner Doubleday? Give me a break. I'll take a nice doubleheader anyday over a tour of the Hall.


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