Friday, May 11, 2007

Barry Bonds

I can't talk about my Ruth League Mojo Men - I have no wins against 5 losses... and am considering changing my team name to the Kansas City Nationals... my high point this year was waiving Chris Carpenter's 11.0 million and picking up 8 new players... that saga to be continued...

Instead I'll talk about Barry Bonds - you might've heard of him... and take a bold stance:

I am a Barry Bonds fan.

Ooh… I said it! I’m a Barry Bonds fan. I have been for a long time & I will be standing and applauding when he breaks Babe Ruth’s record this summer. Because he deserves it.

No, I don’t live in San Francisco & I am a white, balding, middle-aged father of 3. Why, you ask, haven’t I jumped on the “Bash Barry” bandwagon?

For a lot of reasons… first of all, I don’t take any baseball reporters seriously. I understand the duplicitous nature of beat writers and the open distrust players have of them. If you really look at the history of Barry Bonds & the sports writers, you’ll see the times that Barry has tried to be open with them & the end result. Twisted words, misquotes & the blatant lies all trying to create the story rather than report it. Barry is not alone in his open disregard for the media – and the media has no one to blame but themselves.

Reason #2 – Steroids. Did he? Probably. Is he the only one? I would venture to guess that somewhere in the vicinity of 25% of the players from 1970 to the mid 80’s tried some level of steroids. Did the owners know? Oh, hell yes. If you’ve followed what happens behind the scenes of Major League Baseball then you are aware that over 50% of players have used amphetamines to keep up with the 162 game schedule. I heard one player quoted “If they ever start testing us for uppers, they’ll have to take 2 months off the season…” You want to blame someone, blame the owners & the money they pay to the players. Steroids are out in the open – they are banned – it should be a back page story.

So why does Barry Bonds get singled out? Here is the benefit of my Philosophy elective in college. Assertion 1: Barry Bonds took steroids. Assertion 2: Steroids are the reason Barry will break 755 home runs. Assertion 3: 100’s of players took steroids.

Then where are the others? Why aren’t we looking at 50 players hitting 800 home runs? The argument that Barry is where he is because of steroids is inherently flawed. If this were the case, we’d have more players crossing this plateau – by the dozens. To me, this proves Barry Bonds is an elite player – one of the greatest of all time. He works as hard as any player in the game – and has for a long time. His hand-eye coordination & his strength have put him at the top of this game. Period.

So why the scores of baseball fans that hate him? A lot of factors, I think… because some of us buy the venom the baseball media sells – without looking at what motivates them. Because it’s easy to hate – it makes us feel superior to those we hate. It puts us on moral high ground.

The funny thing to me is – come the day this summer when Barry passes Aaron – haters & fans alike are going to be glued to the TV to see it happen. Maybe we can rise above our intolerance & give Barry the dues he deserves - as one of the best who ever played this game we love.


leehaak said...

Very interesting post. I agree with a good deal of what you say, but I definitely will NOT be cheering for Barry to break the record, although it's becoming painfully obvious that he will. Why? This has nothing to do with steriods, and everything to do with the kind of person Bonds is. I don't buy that he's a victim of an overzealous press, any more than I but that he is the victim of racism. He's a victim of his own ego and his despicable personality. It wasn't good enough for Barry to have a first ballot hall of fame career. He simply could not stand the fact that McGuire and Sosa were getting more attention than he was, so he opted to take steroids so he could break those records. He's a bully, and a punk, as many of his former teammates will attest to. And I'm sure his wife and his former mistress aren't all that enamoured with him either. On top of that, he may very well have committed multiple criminal acts.

So, while I agree with you on the issue of steriods, I cannot cheer for the man. At the same time, I find it absolutely disingenous for the press, the fans, and major league baseball to condemn Bonds steroid use while they turned a blind eye on Big Mac and Sosa because they were more 'likeable'. To pretend that we didn't know is laughable.

mikeh106 said...

Well, I will be standing and leading the cheers for Barry as he flies past Aaron. Barry's at least #5 among the greatest players ever. Is he a nice guy - I don't think so. But IO couldn't care less about that. Neither were Ty Cobb and plenty of others. He's a sure 1st-ballot HOF'er and some day will get his due from baseball historians.