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I can't stand Barry Bonds Apologists

This is a cross-post from my blog  I think it's some of the best stuff I've written and I'm sharing it with AN for an appreciation from a wider audience...and I'm promoting my own blog, sorry, but I think this is warranted.

This turned out to be five pages (holy crap) on MSWord, single spaced, it's a hell of a rant.  Without further ado...

The War of the Blogs link

(Alternate title: Why I Really Really Hate Barry Bonds)

Much earlier today the San Francisco Chronicle broke a story that Sports Illustrated will print an excerpt of a book by Chronicle investigative reporters (the same guys who broke the BALCO story) detailing Barry Bonds' use of steroids.  This is probably the closest thing to a "smoking gun" we'll ever get to see about Barry Bonds.

Soon after that, At Home Plate's very own Giants blogger wrote his rebuttal and I'm going to provide you with an excerpt:

Who gives a damn really? Does this change anything? The haters will continue to hate. Those of us who support him will continue to support him. Those who don't like him but respect him as a player will continue to not like him as a player but respect him as a player.

Soon after than I threw in my own two cents:

I highly reccomend double spacing your paragraphs, makes thing (I know it's "makes things," I'm a horrible speller when I'm typing on the fly) much easier to read.

Bonds will pass Ruth, but will Bonds pass Aaron? I don't know. But I can't see how one can so blindly follow some guy just because he hits home runs.

When I was a kid I loved Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco, I downright idolized them. Now we all know they were roiders. When Giambi was still with Oakland I liked that guy too, but when he sold out to the Yankees, I couldn't follow that guy anymore. My warm fuzzy recollections of those men don't seem so warm and fuzzy because they were cheaters.

Don't get me wrong, I hate Bonds for many other reasons beside steroids. But hey, I guess with Barry, it ain't called cheating if you don't get caught. Also Bonds will never beat the all time professional record in home runs, which held by Sadauharu Oh.

And then, the claws came out.  He came back at me with a point by point rebuttal, I'm going do the same now.

In response to my current revulsion of sorts to my childhood heroes, the Bash Brothers:

How were they cheaters? They used an at the time legal substance, not banned by MLB, that there is no proof even makes a difference. So by your standards, anything that an athlete puts into their body that has a chance of making a difference in their performance be cheating?

The only big name steroid user that actually cheated was Rafael Palmeiro, as he did it after it was made illegal by the government and banned by MLB.

You got me there, what the Bash Brothers did was legal at the time.  But just because something is "legal," that doesn't mean it is "right."  It is still wrong to do steroids.  Doing steroids or anything else that gives athletes an unfair advantage to their compeititors is wrong.  In sports there is a concept called "sportsmanship," let me define it for you:

sports·man·ship
n.

   1. The fact or practice of participating in sports or a sport.
   2. Conduct and attitude considered as befitting participants in sports, especially fair play, courtesy, striving spirit, and grace in losing.

-dictionary.com

Let's look at fair play here, how is it "fair play" if Player A is better than Player B because of the "clear" and the "cream?"  This is real sports, not fake wrestling (basically a soap opera for guys) where everybody can 'roid up.  Even in NASCAR there are restrictions on what you can and cannot do to the cars, thus maintaining a level playing field.  The outcome of a fair game is supposed to be determined by skill and talent, not modifications you've done to yourselves to get better.

Barry Bonds, violated this precept of sportsmanship and so did Rafael Palmiero, Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco and even those skiers in the Olympics.  Bonds and the others may not have cheated, but they still did something which I consider to be a cardinal sin in sports.  Legality is no excuse.

I hate to bring politics into this (mostly) sports blog but I will in this instance.  In this country it is legal (although some may dispute this legality) to hold somebody against their will, without any charges pressed against them and denied access to legal representation and due process rights that many of us take for granted because we live in a free country.  They say it's a special circumstance because we're in a state of war, I've always believed that if you were captured in a war, that would make you a "Prisoner of War," but I might be wrong.  What the government is doing is ostensibly legal, but is it right?

Rant over and I have totally outed myself as a bleeding heart liberal, next point.

Regarding my hatred of Barry and my "well he won't pass Sadaharu Oh in career home runs" quote:

It's one thing to hate Barry, but you still have to respect him for what he's done...and like I said, how can using a legal substance that many (and likely most) players used be cheating?
Also, while they didn't record enough stats back then to have an accurate number, Josh Gibson hit more homers than Sadaharu Oh, so he's the all time record holder (also the Negro Leagues were probably on the same level as MLB, while the Japanese leagues were/ aren't)

The problem with records is, you have to keep records for the records to count.  That's the true tragedy about the Negro Leagues; the wrongs of segregation were eventually righted but the accomplishments of the Negro Leaguers fade away due to shoddy recordkeeping.  Josh Gibson's home run totals are subject to hearsay and conjecture, so is Sadaharu Oh's talent level.  In the 70's, when the MLB All-Stars came to Japan for a few exhibition games the major leaguers raved about Oh and said that he could fit in well in the states.  Gibson may have been the best home run hitter ever, but the record still goes to Sadaharu Oh.

Let me go more in depth about Bonds.  I hate him, I think he is the embodiment of all that is wrong in baseball.  He is overpaid, he is a bad influence in the clubhouse.  I'm sorry, just bacuse he was willing to dress up as a woman that doesn't erase all the bad things he did to upset clubhouse chemistry.  He is selfish to the point where his own team doesn't know what is going on with him unless they visit his website.  He is mean to the media and worst of all he ungrateful to those who provide him with his largess.  I'm talking about us, the fans.

There are many documented cases where he has been surly to fans, mostly those seeking an autograph.  Although he can get away with it, that doesn't make it right either.  It's the fans showing up to games, watching them on TV, buying their merchandise which makes professional baseball possible.  It's the fans that also make corporate sponsorship in baseball possible.  He is literally biting the hand that feeds him, I find that to be fundamentaly wrong.  But that's just my opinion.

My last beef with him is that he never hesitates to play the race card.  During the steroid brouhaha last year he came out and said the media hate him because he's black.  I find that very disrespectful to the other black players who came before him.  If I was Hank Aaron I would have slapped him silly.

About thirty years ago Hank Aaron was just like Barry Bonds, pursuing a record.  The differences were major:

  • One, it was thirty years ago...

  • Two, he did it in the South...thirty years ago.

  • I remember going to the Hall of Fame exhibit they held in the Oakland Museum a few months ago when baseball season was over.  I read some of hate mail addressed to Aaron as a part of that exibit.  That man and his family were subject to racial bigotry and death threats.  Knowing what Aaron went through increased my respect for him.

Look, there are many valid criticisms that black athletes have in regards to how the media portrays them, but to play the race card repeatedly and saying that all this negativity is just because they're "black" is just wrong.  I think it's disrespectful to all of the black athletes that came before them who had to endure much worse.

I am professional musician and I have major beef on how the entertainment industry views and employs Asian Americans.  But I never, ever say that I have it hard because I'm Chinese.  A hundred or so years ago, my forebears had it much worse.  And like me, they were also in California.  They were barely treated as human beings, confined to ghettos (and that's what Chinatowns were before they turned into tourist traps), were scapegoats for America's ills and were denied many of the rights I take for granted today.  They worked hard to put me where I am today and for that, I will always be grateful.

Second rant over, and let's bring it home:

How about this: if Bonds' records don't count or if he doesn't get into the hall, then the A's should be stripped of their 89 world series title and have it awarded to the Giants (i'd be willing to bet that every world series champion since then had at least one key player that used steroids)

OK, I never said that steroid-aided records are invalid.  In the big picture, you must look at records in the context of the era.  When you look at the recent history of baseball there are many things to factor in; new workout regimens for players, new bat and ball technology, new ballparks, new medical treatment, new strategies for baseball teams (pitch counts, anybody?) .  Steroids is only one of a whole host of factors.

Besides, this probabbly won't affect Bond's eventual recognition by the Hall of Fame.  That storied hall has allowed racists and cheaters in its ranks.  Right?  Ty Cobb?  Gaylord Perry?

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