Does Barry Bonds Deserve His Record?
Baseball's in my blood. From my very first days growing up in Detroit, I watched it and played it, and covered it at levels higher than the Average Joe. It's pretty much the same story with anabolic steroids, minus the personal history. So it's not without a good deal of experience and education that I come to the subject of Barry Bonds.
Today, during a record-breaking effort of my own (a three-hour commute to New York City; see home page for details) sports talk radio was aflame with reaction to Bonds and his 756th home run. Everyone from Bob Costas to former baseball commissioner Fay Vincent to Vinny from Queens offering an opinion on where Bonds ranks on baseball's list of all-time greats, whether or not THE record was tainted by performance enhancing drugs. (BC should win an award for his analysis)
Does Bonds deserve this record? The recognition? Not now. Not ever. Never. Being one of very best leftfielders in the history of the game, a sure-fire Hall of Famer evidently just wasn't good enough for the godson of Willie Mays. So if you believe best-selling books and grand jury testimony and a raft of other detailed reports Barry is denying the undeniable. He got help – plain and simple – to shatter sport's most sacred record. If not for "The Cream" and "The Clear" and a host of other pills and potions Bonds wouldn't have come within a country mile of breaking Henry Aaron's mark. But he did.
But he didn't do it alone. If you're looking for accomplices to this crime look no further than baseball's powerful players union, which for decades built a brick wall around every attempt at drug testing; at owners who just didn't want to know, at a feel-good media and fans blinded to a game gone wrong.
Today Bonds is the poster boy ("Bar-roid") of that time. The embodiment of a steroid era in which I dare say hundreds of players were into the juice, some looking to sweeten their stats or cash in on free agency, others simply hoping to stay in the game. Which is why, at what should have been a moment of great joy I felt nothing but great sadness as No. 756 sailed deep into a San Francisco night. Sure, Bonds took the almighty swing.
But it was baseball, the greatest of games, that put that bat in his hands.
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