Tuesday really should’ve been a terrific day for baseball, with some wildly entertaining WBC action taking place. Sadly, the morning began with obituaries for Kirby Puckett, and continued with the latest, most detailed allegations to date about Barry Bonds’ steriod use.
I’d call Bonds a polarizing figure, but that would imply that someone other than Giants fans can stand him. Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams have flashed their journalistic chops on prior occasions, and have been quoted at length in this space more than once, so I’m not suggesting there’s anything wrong with their reporting.
But with all of that said, regardless of how sordid these revelations are (and they’re pretty harsh), there’s something just a little too predictable about pundits from Leitch to Wojciechowski proclaiming Bonds “done”, or Mike Vaccaro .
No one has produced evidence, even after today, that Bonds used performance enchancing substances prior to 1998. He had Hall Of Fame credentials prior to that point, and while I’m not going to call his (alleged) actions anything other than cheating, you might also call it leveling the playing field given the HR explosion that took place from Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa that year.
I guess Lance Armstrong and McGwire are fortunate that they come off like such likeable characters. Otherwise, their historic achievments might fall under nearly as much scrutiny as those of the Sultan. Either way, they were able to dictate the terms of their own exits.
Nice work, by the way, from the Washington Post’s Howard Bryant, placing a stack of copies of his terrific “Juicing The Game” prominently in the background while being interviewed on tonight’s “Outside The Lines”.
“Bud Selig has to decide, can we look forward without looking back?” proposed Bryant, as knowledgeable a figure on baseball’s steroid era as any. And while we can’t, Barry Bonds shouldn’t be the only guy under the microscope. He wasn’t the first player on the juice, nor the last. Just the most successful, and the least apologetic. Is Barry hated for being a fraud, or for the lack of contrition?
The Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rogers has the weirdest take of all. Rogers has deducted that Sammy Sosa is the new record holder for the most HR’s in a season (66 in ’98) based on the logic that Sammy’s not been caught nor admitted anything. Yet.