Monday, May 14, 2007

Shocked, shocked I say!

I am shocked to learn that Barry Bonds has been cheating:

Would that Barry Bonds had retired after the 1998 season. He might be happier than he seems to be in his long trudge toward tainted glory. Certainly everyone who cares about baseball, and about the integrity of athletic competition generally, would be spared the disturbing spectacle of his unlovely approach to Henry Aaron's career record of 755 home runs.

The numbers Bonds had put up before the 1999 season were luminous enough to have guaranteed him first-ballot election to the Hall of Fame. He had 411 home runs, 445 stolen bases—he is now the only "500-500" player in history—eight All-Star selections and eight Gold Glove awards. He had won three MVP awards and should have won a fourth that was given to a lesser, but less obnoxious, player.

Since 1998, his gaudy numbers have earned him four more MVP awards. From his 1986 rookie season through 1998, he averaged a home run every 16.1 at-bats (Babe Ruth averaged one every 11.8 at-bats), and his season high was 46. Since 1999, when he turned 35, an age by which most players are past their peak production, he has averaged one every 8.9 at-bats, and in the 2001 season he hit 73. If Bonds, even as he aged, had continued to average one home run every 16.1 at-bats, he would have entered this season at age 42 with 590 home runs, not 734, and Aaron's record would have been beyond his reach.

Equally startling are these numbers: According to Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, the San Francisco Chronicle reporters who wrote "Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO, and the Steroids Scandal That Rocked Professional Sports," Mike Murphy, equipment manager of the San Francisco Giants, testified that since Bonds became a Giant in 1993, the size of his uniform jersey has gone from 42 to 52. His cap size has expanded from 7 1/8 to 7 1/4, even though while it was expanding he shaved his head. (Bonds reportedly shaved his head because his hair was falling out as a result of steroid use.) And Fainaru-Wada and Williams also say Murphy testified that Bonds's baseball shoe size has changed from 10½ to 13.

And still the apologists will say there is no actual proof. Technically of course, they will be right. There is no 'smoking gun' that proves finally, once and for all, that Barroid is a user.

These revelations from Murphy who has outfitted Bonds before games arguably thousands of times corroborate nicely what our own eyes have told us for more than a few years. So we're left to wonder, how much proof will Barry's dead-enders require?

Who will you believe? Barry and his compelling statements about not knowing what was in the cream his trainer rubbed him down with all the time or your own lying eyes?

Or will Bonds in the hospital with a failing liver one day finally prove to be the smoking gun?

No comments:

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