Over the weekend, news of Berry Bonds indictment of perjury, and obstruction of justice was the talk of sports networks, and radio. Even on my short weekend trip, I wasn’t able to avoid all the segments being produced. It started on Thursday night with an opening story on “Nightline,” and continued through this morning as I watched “Outside the Lines” in my hotel room.
Many of you know that I am not, nor have I ever been, a fan of Barry Bonds. Even as a kid something about him just rubbed me the wrong way. It was about three years ago when things started heating up in this, that I stated to a co-worker that if anything happened it would be for these exact charges. They’d never get him on steroid use, but he keeps changing his story, and sooner or later it was going to catch up with him.
As I sat there listening to “Outside the Lines” this morning, it got me thinking. Which is usually trouble, and often makes me mad, and then I rant. This whole thing is going to put baseball into a bad light. Stories of the Mitchell Report stating that Major League Baseball knew Bonds failed drug tests, and hid them, makes them just as much of the problem as the players using. If it’s the case, I for one, will get that queasy feeling in my stomach much like I did during the strike. I want my sports played on an even playing field. I certainly don’t want to see that the actual league is perpetuating the problem, because the all mighty dollar is far more important than the sanctity of America’s game.
Many argue that steroids don’t make a player better, to which I agree, to a certain point. They won’t take the hole out of your swing, you won’t get around on that fastball better. You will, however, feel less aches and pains, have less time injured, and picking up that 34 ounce bat three to four times a day for six months, won’t bother you as much. It might feel down right light. So yes, you are getting an edge. I can see guys like Neifi Perez doing roids, he a utility player that, let’s be honest, isn’t very good. He needs every edge he can get. But Barry, McGuire, Sosa, Palmeiro? Please. These guys were way above average players before this whole thing started to shake down. There’s no reason for it.
I guess my real gripe at this point is that it isn’t just the players that have screwed the game up. It looks like Major League Baseball has too. Illegal drugs are illegal for a reason. No player should be above the law, and no league should hide it, perpetuate it, coddle those who use them, and close their eyes when it’s rearing it’s ugly head. It took me four years to come back to watching baseball after the strike. Ironically, it was the roid induced 1998 homer fest that brought me back. Sadly, it was because I believed America was cheering on a muscle bond roid head in McGuire, and thought the poor little shoe shine boy from the Dominican Republic needed more support. Oops.
I am deathly afraid of what this Mitchell Report is going to uncover. I think Major League Baseball is in for a scary time, where the last ten years are going to be looked at in a much darker light, and some of the die hard fans may turn our backs on the sport again. I know I might. If I wanted to watch a bunch of muscle heads, I can turn on American Gladiator.