August 6, 2007, - 11:49 am

And the Moral of the Barry Bonds Story is . . .

By Debbie Schlussel
**** SCROLL DOWN FOR UPDATE ****
. . . No-one cares that he hit 755 Homers while on steroids. Well, almost no-one. Yes, there were a few fans holding up asterisk signs in the the stadium in San Diego and Bud Selig, while gracing Bonds with his presence, then tried to send a mixed message by not clapping.
But, really most people, frankly, don’t care. They care more about home run races and records, not the substances someone was on when he achieved them.
Sorry, but the steroids hysteria isn’t. It’s a media-created story. And even President Bush mentioning it in his State of the Union Address–where it really didn’t belong–won’t change that.

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Who is the Real Home Run King?:

Hank Aaron v. Steroidal Barry Bonds

There are a lot of things that were different in the days of “Hank” Henry Aaron. They didn’t have the nutrition coaches, the fitness consultants, the vitamins. Some fields were set farther back. They drank, smoke, and caroused all night (much more than they do now). All of these things–not just the lack of use of steroids (which some say some baseball players used even back then and before)–made it much harder to “hit one out of the ballpark.” Although, some might even say that the added muscle mass from steroids negatively affects a players’ swing, making hits harder.
Things are different now. But one thing isn’t:
Baseball fans don’t care that Barry Bonds is on steroids. They only care about #755 and, soon, #756.
Yup, steroids is cheating. And illegal. But it’s only one more thing that makes Bonds’ accomplishment different from the days of Aaron.
And no-one noticed. They don’t care if the “juice” you’re on isn’t Florida Orange Juice.
My friend, USA Today sports columnist (and boxing connoisseur extraordinaire) has a different take:
Thanks to Bonds, 755 Doesn’t Mean What it Used To.”
Oh, and BTW, Ty Cobb was a drunk when imbibing alcohol was illegal. Not that it helped his game or anything. But no asterisks there.
PREVIOUS: “Home-Run King Racial Divide: “Our Black vs. Your Black
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**** UPDATE: Reader Ari writes:

Bonds may have been on steroids, but many many players back in Aaron’s time were on “greenies” according to Jim Bouton. Greenies, of course were amphetimines. I don’t know if Aaron took them, but they were VERY common, and they were performance enhancing.

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14 Responses

I’m a huge baseball fan, and I will actually applaud Barry Bonds. I’ve been saying for years that baseball players have numerous advantages over players in the past when it comes to the physical aspects of the games, besides steroids. Debbie mentioned these. This is a media hype story which annoys me. They want to think that all baseball players use roids (and they may have). However, the only people that actually tested positive, were Raphael Palmero and a few guys in Triple A that weren’t going to the majors anyway.
ESPN just wants to create controversy and make sports a social cause. Barry Bonds is no role model when it comes to his personal life, but looking back, neither was Babe Ruth or Ty Cobb. Unfortunately, ESPN promotes these guys off the field, by showing their houses, money, and women. Young baseball players should immitate Bonds on the field, because he could hit the ball. No one should ever try to immitate these athletes off the field, with the exception of a few like David Robinson or Pat Tillman.
Sports writers are just as liberal as the rest of the media. ESPN and other sports media don’t actually report stats or other important things when it comes to sports. The network shows poker 6 hours a day for crying out loud. I mean you have to watch 3/4 of Sportscenter just to know who won the Cubs game. Much of the show is sports writers giving opinions about what they think. Either that or they show dunks and fights at games. It’s killing sports.
Look at what they did to Pete Rose. For 15 years, the media kept telling him to apologize and admit he gambled. They told him if he did this, all would be forgiven, he would enter the Hall of Fame and get a job in baseball as a coach or manager. Well, he did it, but they said it wasn’t good enough. I never thought Rose should be allowed into the HOF, but its the principal that ESPN kept this charade up for 15 years. They will do the same thing to Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire.
Then they ran a special on Title IX, which was so biased it made it seem that women’s sports were on the same playing field. Colleges hemorrhage money on these sports because they can’t generate revenue on their own, while football and basketball make the money, and other men’s sports get cut, just to meet Title IX requirements.
Sorry to vent, but sports media is a joke. Sports like movies or music is entertainment, its not meant to create roll models or improve society. This whole baseball season just shows how sports media has created hype and tried to make sports a social engineering project.

ebarnes9 on August 6, 2007 at 12:48 pm

Media Hype or not, you don’t reward someone for excellence when they get their the wrong way. If your assumption is correct Debbie about nobody really caring, then we have another problem.

Doug T on August 6, 2007 at 1:05 pm

Also in Aaron’s day there was not the watered down version of ballplayers in the bigs like there is today.

TheOmegaMan on August 6, 2007 at 1:05 pm

Debbie,
You are so dead wrong when you state, “Baseball fans don’t care that Barry Bonds is on steroids. They only care about #755 and, soon, #756. “Yup, steroids is cheating. And illegal. But it’s only one more thing that makes Bonds’ accomplishment different from the days of Aaron. “And no-one noticed. They don’t care if the “juice” you’re on isn’t Florida Orange Juice.”
Oh really? What planet are you from? What poll have you taken? Have you not been watching all the protests all over the nation’s ballparks?
Of course we care. Get a clue!
I’VE TAKEN NO POLLS. I JUST HAVEN’T REALLY SEEN ANY LARGE-SCALE OUTRAGE OVER IT, EVEN IN THE UNIVERSE OF SPORTS, OR BASEBALL, FANS. THAT’S ALL.
DEBBIE SCHLUSSEL

Cosmoguy on August 6, 2007 at 1:09 pm

Hank is still the king!

1shot1kill on August 6, 2007 at 1:31 pm

Someone please explain to me how steroids are any different from any other advantage modern day players have over those that played in previous generations. Todays players without steroids, have better bats, smaller parks, nutritionists, computer programs and videos that help with evaluating pitchers and the hitters swing, better work out facilities, and diluted talent.
So by everyone’s logic, every record broken today should have an asterick by it.
Moreover, if roid use is so widespread, it should even out. Pitchers on steroids have a huge advantage since their arm wear and tear can recover quicker.

ebarnes9 on August 6, 2007 at 1:49 pm

Most baseball fans do care about the steroid issue. Most baseball fans follow their teams and favorite player stats. That is why they are in the paper. And stats are more important to baseball fans than any other sport. What is the all-time single season record for points in the NBA, yards in a season in the NFL, or goals scored in the NHL? For most fans those records are not on the tip of their tongues, but everybody knows 755. To see these revered achievements passed by a blimped-up, human growth hormone-fueled, tax cheat like Bonds is disgusting.
People know the difference between the boost from amphetamines and steroids and HGH. Steroids took solid major league players like Jason Giambi and Ken Camminiti and made them mega-star MVPs. Likewise, steroids took an MVP star like Bonds and made him the best of all time—-in his late 30s. Every baseball fan I know cares about it, it is not a media created frenzy, and no one that I know outside of San Francisco is rooting for Bonds.
There is a saying that you might be a better athlete than I am, but you will not outwork me. But if you are law-abiding, you can be outworked by someone on the juice. Most people (not just sports fans) have recognized this since Ben Johnson and his bloated face won the Olympics in 1988 on the juice. The guy was barely a world-class sprinter, and then on the juice he suddenly is the best. Same thing with Flo-Jo, soft and running a 10.9 one year, hard and running a 10.47 the next. No one else has ever come close then or since to her time.
Baseball may not be hurt by this now in terms of attendance, but all this contribute to its decline in ratings, where the real money is. People donít want to watch phonies and liars in sports, they get enough of that in politics.
BTW, steroids wouldnít give a pitcher an advantage in wear and tear on the arm, they donít work that way in recovery. Pitching requires more muscle endurance than arm explosiveness. Pitchers can work on their legs to increase drive and explosion off of the mound though. However, that is nothing compared to the increased bat speed and mass behind it for these blimped-up steroid users. Look at how the games of guys like Brett Boon collapsed and the literal deflation of someone like Giambi after they started testing. I have been around steroid users in gyms for years and you can tell who is on it. Plus, pitchers like Tom Glavine and Greg Maddox canít bench-press 300 lbs between them, but they each have that number of wins.
Steroids ARE DIFFERENT than other things players benefit from today (supplements, training, smaller ball parks, weaker pitching) , because you have to break the law to employ them. If you donít want to do that, then you are at a disadvantage.
Bottom line is this: Bonds is a greedy, lying jerk. He was already on pace to go down as one of the greatest outfielders of all time. Maybe the best all around combination of speed, power and fielding ever, BEFORE he went on the juice. But he wanted it all. But there is one thing he will never have, respect. That might not be important for him though, since he has none for himself.

Staypositive on August 6, 2007 at 4:32 pm

I am bothered by the sports arena not being harsh and tough on drugs. Their pathetic hand slaps tell me that the organization doesn’t care and I’ve lost interest really in seeing these highly paid, drug infested deniers play games. I used to go to baseball games 4 or 5 times a year, now…never. I would rather go to see a local neighborhood/city game if I want to be entertained.
When this first broke, I actually gave bonds the benefit of the doubt. Then I saw his bawl baby bitter asshole interview with the press and I saw his eyes..which to me are a window to the soul…and I saw a ton of guilt. Ever since then, more and more has come out about him. So bonds, pretend all you want, your little pathetic whiny interview sent a good enough message…you don’t fool me any more.

Highrise on August 6, 2007 at 6:09 pm

Not only do they not care about the steroids, they don’t care about his illegal elbow mechanical device. O.K., a few care, but most don’t.
As for baseball, most people think it is barely above wrestling. Until someone dies, no one will care.

Mark L. Jackson on August 6, 2007 at 6:41 pm

Everyone’s ignoring the real issue here:
Is this good for the Tigers?

LibertarianBulbasaur on August 6, 2007 at 9:54 pm

I think HA represented a very important milestone in this countries continuous healing in race relations. How is it possible that “the black community” has allowed a fraud to overshadow, diminish, trivialize such an important figure in black history. Why isn’t the congressional black caucus hauling BB in front of them and forcing him to clear his name before he besmirches HA’s name? Why aren’t the professional black athletes and professional black baseball players in outrage over witnessing this fraud being committed? If they don’t care then we don’t care.

hdg40502 on August 7, 2007 at 9:06 am

I wonder why there is so much outage voiced towards Bonds, and so little directed towards Lance Armstrong, one of the most corrupt, juiced up athletes in the history of sport?
http://www.arpuerta.com/040917.html

No Pasaran! on August 7, 2007 at 3:26 pm

Reason 1) Cycling is a joke and all of its top riders seem to be implicated in doping. Many of Bonds contemporaries (like Ken Griffey, Alex Rodriguez) are not dopers and their records are diminished by Bonds cheating.
Reason 2) Bonds is confirmed to have used steroids (he claims unknowingly) when he took the cream and the clear, substances since positively identified as steroids. He has been accused of HGH use, and the increase in his head size attests to that.
Reason 3) Lance Armstrong nearly died from cancer. A sympathetic figure, while Bonds is an obnoxious jerk.
Reason 4) Bonds broke the record of a cultural icon and revered figure, Henry Aaron. No one in the U.S. cares about Lance breaking the records of Miguel Indurain. If they even know who he was.
Reason 5) The cortisone issue when Lance tested positive was from a cream used to treat saddle sores. Whatever Lance was using, if anything, they have never detected it.
Reason 6) If Lance is ever exposed as a cheater (which I think he is), no one in the U.S. will care except for cycling fans, all five of them .

Staypositive on August 8, 2007 at 12:08 pm

“Reason 3) Lance Armstrong nearly died from cancer. A sympathetic figure, while Bonds is an obnoxious jerk.”
Well never having met Bonds (never actually having even heard of him before this week) I don’t know if he’s a jerk or not. But having once had cancer does not make a cheat into ‘a sympathetic figure’ in my book.
**
“Reason 4) Bonds broke the record of a cultural icon and revered figure, Henry Aaron. No one in the U.S. cares about Lance breaking the records of Miguel Indurain. If they even know who he was.”
Why should we care what anyone in the US thinks about Miguel Indurain? Lance did his cheating in Europe.
**
“Reason 5) The cortisone issue when Lance tested positive was from a cream used to treat saddle sores. Whatever Lance was using, if anything, they have never detected it.”
Yeah, so you are happy to believe Lance’s idiotic invented story (see the link I posted earlier) but reject Bonds’ out of hand. Double standards again.
Secondly EPO WAS detected in Armstrong’s blood.
**
“Reason 6) If Lance is ever exposed as a cheater (which I think he is), no one in the U.S. will care except for cycling fans, all five of them .”
Well you see, the USA doesn’t own cycling, there are many millions of cycling fans world wide, and in Europe in particular. They care very much that Lance is a cheat and a hypocrit. Europe’s baseball fans – all five of them – won’t care much that Bonds once took steroids.

No Pasaran! on August 9, 2007 at 9:03 am

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