Wednesday, February 23, 2005


Barry Bonds has managed to make headlines for the wrong reasons yet again this week with an ill advised press conference in which he was asked, to no one's great surprise, many questions about Balco, Giambi, Canseco, and steroids.

And, in typical Barry Bonds fashion, he added another brick to the already near impervious "Great Wall of Barry" he has put between himself and everyone else on planet Earth.

You can't say Bonds ever disappoints, both on and off the field. On the field, he has been, quite simply, the best outfielder in the history of baseball, and arguably the greatest player ever. Off the field, he's just been a jerk. If you haven't come to grips with who Bonds is as a person by this point, than you're either a hopeless optimist or you're just not paying attention (although some would say that's the same thing).

Bonds is never going to be the Babe... he's never going to be friendly with the public or hand out toys to children. He is never going to be loved by the public because he's just never going to interact with the fans the way the beloved players of the game did.

But the debate about whether steroids will "cloud his legacy" is, to me, pointless. People like to pretend that baseball is the one sport where you can legitmately compare the numbers from one era to another. This is a ridiculous notion. The pitching is better and more specialized. The players are faster and stronger. There are more teams, resulting in the talent being more widely distributed. All of these variables combine to make today's game different from yesterday's.

Now with the tightened scrutiny on steroids, tomorrow's game will be different than today's.

As for who's to blame... well, everybody. The players are to blame for using steroids in the first place. The owners are to blame for doing nothing about it. Heck, why would they complain when the longball brings them more gate? The media is to blame for glorifying the home run on one hand while remaining suspiciously silent on steroids on the other. Seriously, you can't tell me that nobody in the media the last twenty years hasn't known about steroid use.

Even the fans are culpable. We all joked about how huge guys like Sosa and Bonds (and yes, even Big Mac) had gotten, but we were quietly okay with it because we liked watching them sock those dingers.

I'm glad people are finally talking about steroids and that baseball is trying to do something about it, but for me, this changes nothing about the game. Asterisks are unnecessary because every era of baseball is different, and the new "steroids aware" era of baseball to come will be different as well.


aham23 said...

It is "Steroids Use" era! Not aware. Nobody gets that big and that good that late in his career. Not anyone in anyone sport has ever done it. Plus, he had a personal trainer who has admitted to being the MLB steroid dealer. He cheats, he lies, he plays the race card, and all that is not "pointless." His legacy does not even see the light of day. Later.

robustyoungsoul said...

I can think of a few guys that got "that big and that good" late in their career.. but they're all suspected of using performance enhancing drugs.

Also, for clarity, I never said that Barry Bonds cheating, lying (both currently alleged.. but who are we really kidding), and playing of the race card are "pointless". I said that the debate regarding the validity of the numbers during the "Steroids Use" era vs. any other era is pointless.