Join Date: Jun 2004
As a native San Franciscan and a Giants fan, I tend to disagree with people who despise Barry Bonds and his quest for the home run title. Seriously, you cannot say that he cheated. He's never tested positive for steroids. He said that he did not know what he was taking. In the court of law, this would be circumstantial evidence to PROVE that he did not use steroids. In the court of public opinion, people are usually proven guilty before their innocence, and even when they are proven innocent, most people have trouble getting over their first impressions.
At any rate, I have my doubts as to whether Bonds took steroids. For me, it doesn't really matter. People have been getting on Bonds' case for many things--including his truculence and ire for the media. (And don't tell me that that doesn't affect how sportswriters write articles about him; if he doesn't like sportswriters, then who's the one writer who would support him?) And because we don't really have much else to go on except for some lousy books and whatever articles that many journalists write (whose opinions are certainly not impartial, and certainly have something to say against Bonds), then our own opinions--as secondary as they are in knowledge--do not stand pat in truest sense of our judgment.
I agree with Hasselbrad that things have changed, and the sports have evolved. But think of this: we look back at Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth, and we think they are legends. We forgive them for every fault and human error, and because they did it first, they deserve the credit. Sorry for Barry Bonds for being belated, and living in a time when competition in professional sports is so fierce, that even a great player like Bonds may succumb to the temptations of steroid use. And think about the racial issue at stake here: how many people wondered about the change in Mark McGwire's size when he was with the Athletics to the Cardinals? NO ONE. So he used androstendione. So what, said the majority public. After all, he's a good All-American boy, does nothing wrong, and everyone praised him--from the top down--for beating Maris.
So in comes Bonds, who is surlier and more gruff in attitude, and he comes and completely eclipses McGwire. Suddenly the public is on him like a cheap suit, and deriding him for possible use of steroids. What? Don't tell me we have a double standard working in sports. And Sammy Sosa? Well, he had a corked bat, so obviously his home runs are somewhat a sham, too.
(And remember the hearings on steroids: Mark McGwire was not absolutely vilified for his testimony. Indeed, instead of being hated, he's now simply ignored. The same with Rafael Palmeiro. I think, what it comes down to, is that baseball is too steeped in tradition--and so are the other major professional sports. This is not to say that I condone steroid use, but the fact remains that Barry Bonds is NOT THE ONLY ONE who may have used them. So you point the finger at Bonds for breaking Aaron's record; it's only a record, and records were meant to be broken. If it comes to the fact that Bonds used steroids, then hell, one should make the case that we tone down all our conditioning and training, and bring it back to the style of the deadball era. That certainly sounds like fun...)
I do hope that Bonds will eclipse Aaron, and possibly even reach 800. He has nothing much left to play for (since the Giants suck big-time this year), and to see a gruff man like him smile for a change, it's rather rewarding for a fan.
One more thing: Barry Bonds, by the very definition of his roots, is a baseball legend. You cannot, and will not, take that away from him, no matter what he does or has not done, what he has chosen or refused to do or say. He was already one of the 50 greatest players before 2001, and he will probably go down as THE greatest baseball player (until A-Rod comes and beats every record known). I sound as if I am aggrandizing him, but then again, everyone else vilifies him. At least one person has to stand up for the man. But then again, the guy thrives on being disliked and booed. So do it some more; it'll push him even harder.
"I like refried beans. That's why I want to try fried beans, because maybe they're just as good, and we're just wasting time." - Mitch Hedberg (1968-2005)
"Football is about if you want to run and fight for each other, if you really want to play that killer ball." - Robin van Persie, Arsenal FC