March 7, 2006

Sammy Sosa? Eh. Barry Bonds? How sad...

let's set some context first. i have long been an admirer of barry bonds as a baseball player. this is no rafael palmeiro or sammy sosa, fringe players that suddenly exploded into stars after a few years of mediocrity at the major league level and a few placed ass-shots of steroids. no, barry is not like them. barry bonds is, without a doubt, one of the most talented baseball players of any generation. just take a quick look at his awards before any notion of steroids (1998). you don't win 3 MVP's (and get robbed of another by writers who hate you) and 7 gold gloves (all before 1998) without tremendous ability. having said that, today's news of the new book detailing his steroid use is beyond damaging. my first thoughts upon hearing the news: "it's sad that barry bonds will forever be remembered as the guy who broke the home run records by cheating." and, really, that's all that i can think about him today. i'm not surprised or shocked by the developments. it would be hard to be when you've seen barry up close, compared his body to his early days, and used some common sense. only the most die-hard and unrealistic barry bonds fans could have been more than 10% sure of his innocence before today. i find it hard to make judgement on any OTHER baseball player around the steroids saga. honestly, for the ken caminitis and jose cansecos of the world, can you pass judgement on their weakness in morals? by all accounts, "everyone" was taking steroids and nobody seemed to care. they saw opportunities to go from good players to great, multi-million dollars a year players. would i have done what they did? i'd like to say no. but given an opportunity, your only opportunity, to make millions of dollars, would you pass? i think i saw an espn poll last year where 50% of americans said they wouldn't. even looking at mark mcgwire, who probably took steroids when he broke the home run record, i can see why he would do it. mashing home runs was his only opportunity to stand out from the hoards of baseball players in major league lore. desperate for recognition and a place in history, he juiced up. ok. despicable, but understandable. but barry bonds? if what the book details is true (that he started taking 'roids in 1998), then i just have to feel sad. here was a man whose place in baseball history was established. a man who was a shoe-in first-ballot hall-of-famer. a man who was one of the top five outfielders of all-time, already. a man who was already rich. a man who was one of the greatest left-handed hitters to ever play the game. and a man who would always be the prototype of the "five-tool" baseball player. instead of playing out the late-prime of his career to universal fanfare and recognition, spurring debates about "barry bonds: is he the greatest ever?" he decided to get bigger. maybe he wanted to end those debates before they would even start. and for what? some extra home runs for a player who was always much more than a home run hitter? some extra applause on the road? some extra "holy shit" moments? for any other baseball player, i would have a multitude of opinions today. for barry bonds, i'm just left with the question of why he would taint his legacy. how sad.

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1 Comments:

At 3/08/2006 07:22:00 AM, Anonymous Montecore the Tiger said...

MLB needs to realize that unless it implements a drug-testing policy that isn't a joke, all players are guilty.

 

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