This is one of a few posts from my old blog that I’m re-posting to ASF. This particular post was originally written March 8, 2006–
With as much talk as there has been surrounding the Barry Bonds steroids conversation, I’ve kept relatively quiet. I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, regardless of the person or accusation. I, like every other male in my general age vicinity, has Barry Bonds’ rookie baseball cards. We all have photographic evidence of him possessing a near bulimic figure, barely eclipsing 200 lbs, if even reaching that mark at all, while with the Pirates. We all remember him being a consistently good, sometimes–sometimes–great ballplayer with the Giants. We also remember him taking on the physique of Meatloaf in the late ’90’s, which was somewhat lost in the shuffle between Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, et al.
It is painfully obvious to everyone but his most staunch supporters that he has ballooned in size over the last 7-8 years, as his stats have escalated at a similar rate. Now, I don’t know that he takes, or has ever taken, steroids. I have never personally seen footage of him ingesting or injecting himself with a performance-enhancing substance. However, it’s pretty obvious what’s been happening.
But to me, that is not even the issue. One of the side effects of steroids is that your body will eventually break down at an alarming rate, which is what I believe his body is doing now–three surgeries on his knee in less than 8 months? Are you kidding?–so, in a way, he is getting his due punishment. Here is the real issue: members of the media, and other baseball observers claim that “steroids or no steroids, he’s still the best player I’ve ever seen.”
There are numerous flaws to this argument…
“Steroids or no steroids, he’s still the best player I’ve ever seen”
Really? So, a guy that averaged, from 1986-1997 (the year before he became Meatloaf) 31 HR, 91 RBI, and .288 BA is the BEST player you’ve ever seen? REALLY? That is, in effect, what people are saying when they make this assertion. Hall of Famer? Sure…a lock. But best EVER? I don’t think so. What about his teams’ successes? Not too many. One World Series, a few playoff appearances here and there…not to mention his horrible individual postseason stats: 151 ABs, 9 HRs, 24 RBIs, .245 BA. And this is the best ever…right.
I heard Dan Lebatard today on ESPN Radio say almost the exact quote as mentioned above. He even added “I mean, c’mon! The guy won 3 MVP awards before he ‘allegedly’ began taking steroids!!” Dale Murphy has 2 MVP awards. Does that make him the second-best player ever? He’s not even in the Hall of Fame!!!!
Maybe the media is just getting tired of Barry Bonds Steroids stories. Maybe they’re just trying to creatively come up with a new angle on the saga, to reinvigorate themselves and make it seem like they’re not reliving 2003 every year for the rest of their lives. I don’t know. But let’s be realistic. The guy is 17 times as big as he was in 1997. There is ever-mounting evidence that he took numerous steroids. He is PROBABLY guilty of steroid use. But, just as no one can yet confirm his guilt, we also cannot anoint him as the “best player ever.” We can, however, anoint him “best player ever with shriveled, non-working nuts, back acne, and roid rage.” So, at least he’s got that going for him.