Glenn Dickey's column "Bonds/Steroids: Much Ado About Nothing" (click here), dismissing as insignificant the upcoming book about Bonds is predictably misguided.
Somone at AN called Dickey's piece "measured analysis." Now that's funny.
Every point he makes is specious in some way--a red herring, a false dilemma, an absurd analogy.
In order, let's take his arguments apart:
1. Giants fans cheer for Bonds anyway.
All sorts of people who should still be subject to criticism and examination get cheered for by partisans. How is that a defense? Why does that mean it's okay that he cheated? Or that his cheating doesn't matter?
2. Those who oppose Bonds now, always did.
I didn't. Others didn't. We enjoyed his achievements and admired his monumental talent. But the more it's become clear he cheated, the less we admire him. We're not just bitter or envious; we care about baseball, about the integrity of its play and the meaning of its history.
3. Bonds numbers went up with steroids, but Larry Walker's numbers went up in Colorado.
What point is he even making with this? It's nonsense. It undermines his own argument. He's trying to show that it takes more than a bandbox or steroids to be truly great. That Walker, and Helton after him, do in Colorado what other Rockies don't. And by extension, Bonds does on steroids what other juicers don't. Yes, we get that. But Bonds is still cheating. He did what un-juiced Bonds never could. It's more damning that he started near the top and then rose far beyond others to the position of singular prominence in the game. It's not a point in Bonds favor. And, as for Larry Walker. His numbers DON'T carry that much weight because we know they're a product of the park in large part. Same for Bonds: He's a product of the juice and his numbers thus don't and shouldn't mean much. They're an illusion, a shadow. Not the real thing.
4. Bonds' behavior doesn't really affect high school kids.
Because, Dickey points out, it's their parents' job, not Bonds' to guide them on the path of life. Well, yeah, it is their parents' job; we know that, Glenn. But Bonds and other athletes have an effect, too. Both things can be true at once. Dickey honestly doesn't understand this, that sometimes two things can both matter. That one doesn't rule out the other.
5. Steroids aren't as bad as crack cocaine or heroin and Bonds isn't taking crack cocaine or heroin.
That one is just funny. Yes, and baseball isn't as important as the Middle East, but we still spend time caring about it and its integrity. I get that Bonds hasn't committed a crime against humanity. How exactly does that exonerate him from the charge that he cheated?
6. This is a case of the press imposing its values on people.
Yes, and the Congress tried to impose values on Nixon in the early 70s. Was that a bad thing? I'd say that integrity and fairness are good values--essential values--to try to impose on baseball. Does anyone disagree with me?
It would be easy to go on, as it would with anything Dickey writes. There's a reason he's widely disregarded by other sportswriters and works on the fringes of the internet.
In the end, It's irresponsible of him to say that a comprehensive documentation of Bonds' cheating on the part of two reporters--something he'd be wholly incapable of--is not really news. Of course it is very important news. We should be grateful that somebody in the sycophantic world of sports reporting took it upon themselves to thoroughly dig into the biggest cheating scandal of our time and document its most significant cheater.
We owe those two guys thanks. Not a smug dismissal.