Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Baseball Been Barry Barry Good To Me

I know I may be in the minority on this one, but I'll ask it anyway. Does anybody else wish that ESPN (& other sports "news" services) would get off Barry Bonds' back? I just skimmed through this article from ESPN.com's Patrick Hruby.

Where do I start? I guess with some questions: Why all the attention on Barry Bonds? Okay, that one's pretty easy - because he's hit 714 home runs and has never been friendly to the media. I don't know about you, but I don't think I'd come across as very friendly if I had strangers shoving microphones in my face after I got out of the shower everyday. Okay, okay, that goes with the territory of being a professional athlete, in particular a "superstar." But I really am surprised that more athletes don't come across as cold with the media as Bonds typically does.

Why aren't there camera crews following around other suspected steroid users daily? How come we don't hear anything about Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, or Rafael Palmeiro? Are they just "out of sight, out of mind?" McGwire admitted to taking a performance-enhancing substance (Androstenedione) that baseball subsequently placed on its banned substance list. Sosa was outspoken about wanting to be first in line to test for steroids, then berated Sports Illustrated's Rick Reilly for suggesting that he take a test on his own. Palmeiro chided Congress, wagging his finger and declaring, "I have never used steroids, period." Four and a half months later, Palmeiro was suspended for 10 days under Major League Baseball's steroid policy.

My point is not to counter Mr. Hruby's attempt at journalism by turning it around on others. I just get tired of how hard the media jumps on stories that really aren't stories. If Bonds is indeed found to have used steroids while they were banned by baseball, then he should absolutely be punished by MLB. But does anybody really think putting an asterisk next his homerun total would accomplish anything? Maybe it could be "vacated" like the NCAA does with athletic programs who violate their rules. Anybody out there remember the 1993 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship game? According to the NCAA, Michigan's Fab Five never happened, so supposedly North Carolina was unopposed in that game, right? But I'm pretty sure I've still got a tape that shows Chris Webber's time-out/technical and Donald Williams's 5-7 shooting from 3-point range.

I guess in the end my point is that this stuff all happened, whether or not it "should" have. Barry Bonds is indeed tied with Babe Ruth. The Fab Five went to two Final Fours, as freshmen and sophomores. Pete Rose is the all-time hits leader. When all is said and done, if Bonds is truly found to have cheated, let's put him & Rose in the Hall of Fame together, their plaques side-by-side. Bonds's can say "The best steroid-using home run hitter of all-time" and Rose's can say, "The best hitter to ever break the cardinal rule of baseball by gambling on it."

But until that day, I'm willing to give Bonds the benefit of the doubt.

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