Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Winners Never Cheat, but Cheaters Set Home Run Records

Today, while my emotions are still on the raw side of center, I'd like to pay tribute to our brand new career all time home run leader, Barry Bonds. Last night the chemically altered behemoth slugged home run number 756*. By doing so, Bonds has now hit more round trippers than any other player in the history of major league baseball. Normally this feat would be celebrated with honor and admiration. However this is not a story of personal honor, but of personal dishonor.

Barry Bonds began his major league career in baseball as a thin 21 year old with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1986. His listed weight was 185. In 1993, the year he signed a lucrative free agent contract with the San Francisco Giants, the now 28 year old Bonds wore a size 10.5 shoe, a 7 1/8 cap and size 42 uniform top. When Bonds set the single season record for home runs a mere eight years later, he wore a size 13 shoe, a 7 1/4 cap and size 52 uniform top. His weight increased from the thin 185 pounder to a rather robust 275 pounder. I'm certain an individual can spend eight years mastering the fine art of becoming a donut eating, couch potato and add 90 pounds of fat, but would your head and foot size increase at a rate of a youngster growing during puberty? Babe Ruth wasn't exactly the picture of health either, but at least his home runs were fueled by hot dogs and beer, not by body altering chemicals.

There are countless heavily researched articles specifically building an undeniable case that Bonds was a frequent steroid user. People have gone to prison for their involvement in Bonds' steroid use. Bonds personal trainer, Greg Anderson, has spent the past year in prison for refusing to testify before a grand jury. Bonds himself is now being investigated by a grand jury impaneled in connection with BALCO, the company that provided steroids and growth hormones to many well know athletes. Former US Senator George Mitchell is currently heading an investigation looking into widespread steroid use in major league baseball.

While all this goes on, Barry Bonds just kept working out and hitting home run after home run and on August 7, 2007 (another date that will live in infamy) he drove Washington Nationals lefthander Mike Bacsik's fifth inning 3 - 2 fastball over the right-center field wall to make history. Bonds continues to steadfastly insist he never took steroids. He claims his growth was due to clean living and flaxseed oil. Bonds has never sued one of the countless people who have written articles, spoke at length on tv and radio, or asked him in person why he won't admit his steroid use. It has to make you wonder why this self centered egomaniac hasn't done just that? The only thing that comes to my mind, and everybody else's mind who ponders this question is, it's the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Barry, the record is yours. Big deal. Now it's time for you to take your bat and ball, and go away. I seriously doubt anyone will miss you or even notice you're gone. The sad denouement of this regrettable chapter in American Sports is that cheaters do sometimes win, but at least their celebration is someplace where we don't have to see it or care about it.......

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