Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Random Thoughts on Bonds, Steroids and Mutations

Thanks to the excerpts from Book of Shadows, I now know what the mutagen used on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles consists of. For the longest time I could not put my finger on who or what Barry Bonds looked like. Finally I know, it's Michelangelo sans nunchucks. With that question put to bed, on to more thoughts and questions about this mess.

-Barry Bonds claimed steroids don’t make you a better hitter. He's right, steroids wouldn’t help me hit home runs, because I can’t hit home runs on a softball field with a 270ft porch. Administered to a world class athlete however, and performance will increase. They help you recover quicker, build muscle, turn warning track flyouts into homers, and apparently improve your sight. If you put nitro boosters on a school bus it may help a little bit. If you put them on a Corvette, you’ll see a big difference.

-To label Bonds’ achievements as tainted is too soft. Everyone knew he took steroids and growth hormone to some degree. Now that we know how scientific and calculated it was, there is no other word than blatant cheating.

-I don't care if it was against baseball rules or not. He took illegal substances and cheated. MLB's ignorance is irrelevant in this case. If George Steinbrenner conspired to kidnap David Ortiz and Curt Schilling for the 2004 playoffs that would greatly alter the outcome. There are no MLB rules against kidnapping. MLB deserves blame for this debacle, but not in place of Bonds or other offenders.

-Where is Bud Selig? He wants to wait for the book to pass judgement. It is pretty clear what the book will say. I doubt there will be a trap door on the last page discrediting the whole matter. Selig needs to address this, not just Bonds specifically, but to take some kind of stand or responsibility.

-In light of this latest evidence, no argument for Bonds as a Hall of Famer is justified. It is clear he took copious amounts of steroids for at least five to six years. Regardless of his previous numbers, he cheated for a significant period of time. There is no way to separate the clean years from the “clear” years. It is Barry Bonds’ career as a whole.

- Bonds was a 3 time MVP before he allegedly began using steroids. This fact makes it even sadder. In 1998 he was a first ballot Hall of Fame choice. He sacrificed not only his Cooperstown ticket, but his credibility, hair, sex life and long term health. My guess is Bonds doesn’t see 55. If he does, it will be in physical and mental wreckage.

-If a detailed expose targeted a more popular player like Mark McGwire, I think the tone would be much different. I think the fact that Barry Bonds is an antagonistic jerk gives many people greater license to unload on him. Not that it is wrong, but lots of players took (take?) steroids. I am not sure the reaction would be so severe.

-By my count at least 8 players accounting for 12 MVP trophies have rumored links or solid proof to steroids. That number could climb higher before this is all settled.

-Going forward, people will question any player with a sudden rise in power numbers. Or a sharp decline. Or sudden nagging injuries. Fair or not, every player will have to accept this scrutiny.

-If not for an anonymous whistle-blower, drug officials still might not know about many of these drugs.Baseball is taking the whipping for steroids because they didn’t have a drug policy. Focusing on tougher testing policies does nothing if you are looking for invisible drugs. Of course Bonds never failed a test.

-To that point, baseball is not on an island. If sprinters, cyclists and baseball players dope, why wouldn’t football players? Considering the violent nature and non-guaranteed contracts, performance enhancing drugs in football makes even more sense. I refuse to believe Bill Romanowski and Todd Sauerbrun are isolated incidents. At some point the muck will surface in the NFL too.