Thursday, March 16, 2006

For all of the media bluster surrounding Barry Bonds this year (a reality show?), Ken Rosenthal of Sporting News seems to be the only one who has a level head about it. [full article is HERE]

“Selig can't suspend Bonds, who never has tested positive for performance
enhancers and never has admitted using them. Nor can he legislate the past and
sprinkle the record books with asterisks without knowing exactly who did what.
Some may want Selig to invoke his best-interests-of-the-game powers and make
Bonds disappear, but those powers do not give the commissioner the right to
trample due process. Credible as the book's indictment of Bonds may be, it does
not constitute proof.”
Proof. Now there’s a novel concept. You mean that the words of convicted felons and scorned mistresses doesn’t constitute proof? Many of the gravediggers are throwing words onto the pyre like “court documents” and “testimony” as if Victor Conte and Greg Anderson are scumbags and cheats, but when they talk about Bonds, they’re suddenly truth-telling saints. Please. Just because it’s said in court doesn’t mean it’s true.

Now I ain’t completely naïve. Bonds clearly used something. As did Jason Giambi, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Brady Anderson, Juan Gonzalez, Charlie Brown, and Linus. Unfortunately, because of MLB’s wink-wink policy (the sports equivalent of “Don’t ask, don’t tell”), it wasn’t against the rules… at the time.

And forget all that crap about “illegal” substances. I don’t see a lot of effort to denigrate MLB players who drank during Prohibition. Or eliminate the records of guys who took “greenies” in the 50’s and 60’s. Or checking into Roger Clemens' strikeout numbers after his transformation from skinny-legged Red Sox to barrel-legged Astro. Or blocking Gaylord Perry or Don Sutton from the Hall of Fame for throwing spitters for that matter…

Was it morally wrong? Hell yes. Was it against the rules? Hell no. The biggest problem Barry has in the entire matter is his contempt for the media. There is no way in hell Barry will get one inch of leeway from the sportswriters because Barry has treated them like shit for his entire career, a holdover attitude from his dad. This issue will continue to be visited and re-visited while writers take their potshots, relatively immune from any retribution. MLB wants the issue to go away. The Giants want the issue to go away. Bonds wants the issue to go away. The media won’t let it. Remember, the issue with Andro basically died, the issue with Sammy’s cork basically died. This is the only way Brady Anderson even gets mentioned anymore.

We’ve had three or four athletes in the Bay Area that were pretty much above reproach, Joe Montana, Steve Young, Willie McCovey, and Jerry Rice. Jerry had a brief little “problem” with a local massage parlor, but that was hushed pretty quickly. If Barry had the same type of “problem”, it would’ve been front page news for months. How many of you across the country knew that Jerry Rice had been busted at a known prostitution ring supposedly getting a “deep tissue rub”? Uh-huh, thought so.

So, let all the sportswriters write their hatchet jobs. They’ve earned the right to dance on Barry’s biceps for awhile. But don’t expect MLB to play along. If anything, they’re trying to stop the music.


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