I think that baseball in general deserves an asterisk.
After 4 years, plenty of speculation, and the realization by everyone that performance enhancing sports are prevalent in all sports, the poster boy for all that is wrong in baseball was indicted by a federal grand jury. While he hasn’t been found guilty, it sure doesn’t look good. Somehow the government has found enough evidence to take this trial. I think it’s good that this has gotten to this point.
That said, I don’t think it’s fair that he’s the only one being indicted. Baseball has benefited because of steroids; attendance went up, they’re making more money than ever – it’s been a great time to own a baseball team. Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa have had their whispers, but Sammy is back, and while there is disappointment with McGwire, there is none of the venom that Bonds has experienced. A lot of people, me included, think race is involved in the public reaction to Barry Bonds – it seems as if when black athletes go wrong, the public seems to go wild demanding not just justice, but vengeance. I hate to bring race into it because I don’t believe it has anything to do with whether or not he did wrong. He deserves to be punished if he lied, and I think he did. I also think that unfortunately, the high profile offenders are all black: Pacman Jones, Michael Vick, Tank Jones, etc. And of course most of the media, the management, and fans are white. It shouldn’t matter, but it’s there and won’t go away.
There’s talk of striking his records – will they strike Giambi’s? I think over the past 25 years there has been rampant cheating in baseball and everyone in the game turned a blind eye; to say otherwise is disingenuous. To single out one or two players out is simply not right. I think every record that took place from 1995 through 2003 should be marked as occurring in the “steroid era” and for Major League Baseball to take some responsibility for the mess that occurred. They were in charge and I don’t believe they couldn’t have done anything.
Of course there’s the fact that Bonds is an asshole to the media and the publics view of him is based on what we read in the papers on see in the news. Ask yourself why do people hate him so much? What basis do we have for this hatred? Do you know him personally? The public feelings about Bonds is directly related to how he is portrayed in the press. With so many rumors, how could you not hate him?
Baseball has wanted closure on this embarrassment, and it looks like they’ll get it. Bonds will never play again and he’ll won’t get into the Hall of Fame, and I think those things are somewhat deserved. But the fact is baseball was rotten to the core, but as of today the mantra will be: it was all Barry’s fault.