I’m a pretty big baseball fan.
While the sport has taken it’s lumps the last decade or so, it’s still the best sport in the U.S. Pro football is full of monstrous egos and grossly overpaid showoffs that play for a whopping 60 minutes every week. Every time I see a player crawling around on the ground and barking like a dog after making a routine tackle I get sick to my stomach. The ridiculous hype and endless rehashing of that 60 minutes of play time is even worse. Pro basketball is full of thugs and criminals, and players who whine and quit playing hard if they feel they are being ‘disrespected’. I’ve never been into hockey, so I’ve got zero opinion on that. Pro Baseball is the one sport where you truly have to work your way up through the minor leagues and develop yourself into a major league player with hard work. That tends to keep the players humble, although the egos in baseball are getting bigger along with the paychecks. Players don’t play as hard as they used to, either. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than the rest.
And then you have Barry Bonds.
Everybody knew Bonds was going to break Hank Aaron‘s record. A lot of people are saying he doesn’t deserve the record or to be in the Hall of Fame because he cheated by using steroids. I agree with the first but not the second.
He doesn’t deserve the home run record. He has it, it can’t be taken away and it shouldn’t be taken away, but I hope in some quiet moment in the future Bonds looks in the mirror and realizes he doesn’t deserve it. He would not have it without the steroids.
I get a laugh out of the Bonds apologists who have two major arguments. The first is that steroids don’t help you hit home runs. I could take as many steroids as possible and never be able to hit 756 home runes. True, but putting an illegal exhaust system in a Ford Escort won’t make it win the Indy 500 either. Putting one in a world class race car will. A good hitter being stronger will get a few balls out of the park that would probably have been caught. That aside, the real benefit Bonds got from the steroids was extending his career and his ability to stay relatively healthy. Bonds and Aaron each had 22 seasons in the majors (Bonds may have more if he keeps playing). Arron’s home run production naturally declined in his later years, but Bonds suddenly erupted at that same time and he set the all time single season record at age 36. He could not have done that without the steroids.
The second pro-Bonds gripe is the race card, of course. People want to cheat Bonds out of the home run record because he’s black. News flash: HANK AARON IS BLACK!!!! I’m pretty sure a racist won’t care much if one black player takes a record from another black player. This is not Hank Aaron passing Babe Ruth, which saw ugly, horrible examples of racism in the 70’s. If anything, people may not want Bonds to have the record because he is an incredible jerk and asshole, and is a role model to no one. Aaron was one of the greatest role models of a generation.
Bonds has it, but he doesn’t deserve it. Its baseball’s fault for not cracking down on steroid use years ago, when it would have prevented someone like Bonds from extending his career and increasing his production long enough to get within reach. Aaron did it when steroids were in their infancy, were only a part of bodybuilding and had not reached into most other sports outside of Russia.
As far as the Hall of Fame goes, that’s a different story. Bonds would have been a Hall of Fame player without steroids. He deserves to be in the Hall, regardless. There are plenty of jerks in the Hall. You cannot take away his other accomplishments. He is a Hall of Fame player, no question.
Bring on A-rod to break the record in a few years.
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921 New profile pic courtesy of my self-caricature for the Scott Maiko penned article “Gotcha! Mug Shots of Common (but Despicable) Criminals” from MAD 550
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