(Long Island, NY) Barry Bonds has been raked over the coals with the pending release of a ‘tell all’ book on his steroid use. Some may say that this is the ‘smoking gun’ we have been waiting for to finally incriminate him. But in reality, do we even need proof that Bonds divulged in some kind of performance enhancing drug?
All the signs have been there for years. Even the casual baseball fan can see that something is different about Bonds from his early days. But even a player that has never been accused of steroid use has many of the same qualities. Roger Clemens has also improved with age and was arguably the best pitcher in the game last season in his 40’s. He has lost nothing off his fastball, which is out of the ordinary. Am I trying to say that Clemens has joined the juice club? No, but he is an interesting possibility.
People have screamed that Bonds is bigger and better than ever at his age and questioned how. He has not helped his cause with his BALCO testimony about never “intentionally” using steroids. And he has not denied the charges in the new book, either.
Has Bonds ‘cheated’ the way that everyone is convinced Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Raphael Palmiero has? That is a question that may never have a definitive answer. Whatever the outcome, the sport will survive.
Baseball has had its scandals of the past that have hurt the game, but not have torn the stitching off the ball. Pete Rose was one of the best, if not the best, pure hitters of all time. He had all the individual awards and the championships on more than one team. His gambling charges as a manager after his playing career ended have resulted in a lifetime ban from baseball and he may never see the Hall of Fame without purchasing a ticket.
The 1919 “Black Sox” scandal took place in a different era but proved that greed can overtake competitiveness. The eight Chicago White Sox players were thrown out of baseball for conspiring with gamblers to lose the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds.
These infamous situations have caused players such as Rose and “Shoeless” Joe Jackson to be remembered for their troubles as opposed to their accomplishments. Maybe the penance that Bonds will have to pay will be fans recalling him as a ‘juice monkey’ and not the player with the season home run record.