Are we easing up on Bonds?


Art Spander of RealClearSports currently has a piece up concerning Barry Bonds’ status amidst reports of David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez using steroids. Spander feels the public is beginning to evenly spread their disgust towards all steroid users in baseball instead of just focusing on Bonds.

Bonds now is insignificant. We went after him and his silent partner, Greg Anderson, the trainer, so long ago it’s almost ancient history. Mark Fainaru-Wada and his then San Francisco Chronicle colleague Lance Williams left no syringe unturned. We acted like the sky was falling then shrugged.

What’s falling now are other names into place, the latest of those Ortiz and Manny, who in 2004 combined to help the Red Sox win their first World Series in 86 years. And just an aside, you think any of those self-righteous Boston fans would give back the title because like the Bonds homers they yelped about it might be tainted?

Barry Bonds has a different problem. He’s being hounded by the government on charges of perjury, the U.S. claiming he lied under oath when in December 2003 Barry said he never used the stuff.

But the guess is Barry never will come to trial. And who cares anymore. He took his grief.

He was the Lone Ranger, the one who stood alone until it seems there was no room left on the list for all players who were guilty. The line forms to the right.

For the most part, I agree with Spander. Still, I think the only reason people seem to hate Bonds less is because he’s been forced to retreat from the public eye. You never hear about his whereabouts other than when he shows up at a Giants game. And rightfully so. Spander points out that Bonds received the brunt of the blame while Sosa and McGwire received much less. Look, I don’t like any of those three guys, but the main reason Bonds was cast as the scapegoat was because he actively pursued two of baseball’s most prized records. Since Barry Bonds was so jealous, as Spander claims, he used the remainder of his career to surpass Hank Aaron’s all-time home run record. While Sosa and McGwire retired, Bonds stayed in the game for the sole reason of earning the recognition he felt he deserved. That is his greatest sin. He knew the Giants weren’t going to win a championship, but but he cheated his way into the record books while he still could.

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Selig upset with steroid leaks

According to Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune, baseball commissioner Bud Selig is upset that names from the 2003 list of players who tested positive for banned substances are being leaked to the media.

Apparently Selig and others around Major League Baseball believe that a lawyer with the U.S. Attorney’s office (either past or present) ignored a court seal in order to give Sammy Sosa’s name to Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Daily News, who reported yesterday that the slugger was on the ’03 list.

I don’t blame Selig for being peeved that someone is leaking names that were supposed to be kept anonymous. After all, the only reason the player’s union agreed to the ’03 drug testing was because the players who tested positive wouldn’t be punished and because their names would never be released.

That said – give…me…a…break. If Selig wants to be upset with anything, how about he get upset with himself, the owners and the player’s union that allowed us to get to this point. He turned a blind eye to the steroid issue and now he wants to play victim. I guess he has to put on this little front about being mad about the leaks in efforts to settle down the player’s union, but he has nobody to blame but himself for this mess.

What Selig should do is go back on his word to the player’s union and release the rest of the 104 names on that 2003 list before the media does. A-Rod and Sosa’s names have already been released – how much longer until more names are announced? If Selig thinks that the media is going to stop digging, he has another thing coming. He may anger the players and the union by releasing the names, but it’s well past time for people to start taking responsibility for what has happened to the game of baseball.

Justice: Tejada only regrets getting caught

Miguel Tejada was sentenced to one year of probation for misleading Congress about the use of performance-enhancing drugs. Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle writes that Tejada only regrets getting caught.

Nice going, Miggy. Way to represent The Good Guys.

Incidentally, who decided a $5,000 fine was any way to punish a guy making $13 million? Couldn’t the feds have ordered Tejada to pay whatever the government spent proving he’s a liar?

Anyway, about eight seconds after Tejada’s plea-bargain agreement was announced, the Astros issued a statement saying how happy they were to have this whole thing behind them.

In other words, let’s all forget that this guy is a cheat and that we got fleeced on this trade.
As for Tejada, he hasn’t exactly been forthright. He has confessed to what he got caught doing and nothing more. And there appears to be more there.

He played the contrite card when he showed up at spring training until someone asked about his use of steroids and HGH.

He bristled and said he wasn’t going to talk about it. Now that’s coming clean.

He doesn’t have to admit anything. The Mitchell Report does it for him. It’s right there on page 201 along with photo copies of checks to ex-teammate Adam Piatt for $3,100 and $3,200.
Piatt said he provided Tejada with steroids and human growth hormone, but he has no way of knowing if Tejada actually used the stuff.

Unfortunately Justice is right and even more unfortunate is that this is the way it’s going to be when it comes to the steroid era in baseball. The players that used will deny or only own up to what they were caught with. The owners will continue to look the other way and hide under the umbrella that is Bud Selig. And Selig will continue to act like the victim in all of this.

The players, owners and Selig will continue to ask to move on. And eventually, the fans will probably oblige because we’re not going to stop going to the parks.

Can baseball be fixed?

Of course it can. We have hard evidence that the game has been fixed since the early ‘90s. Crooked players, crooked trainers, crooked owners, crooked general managers, and crooked lawyers have all contributed to turning America’s pastime into a racketeering enterprise. For the last 15 years, baseball fans have watched their game turn into a traveling sideshow. Before our very eyes, we’ve conceded that baseball will have that sort of WWE fantasy – the realization that while what we are watching at times is athletically amazing, it’s not altogether real.

This week, a video surfaced of WWE wrestler Chris Jericho punching a female fan who was antagonizing him. All this recent hullabaloo got me thinking about the relationship fans have with their favorite athletes. As witnessed in the video, while many attempted to get a picture with Jericho, a few passionately wanted to abuse him. They stupidly believed in a fabricated storyline and sought to attack the main instigator who was ruining their day. Essentially, they cared way too much about something that wasn’t even real.

Wrestlers are actors who work out, plain and simple. While they do display some degree of athleticism, that’s not why fans pile into the arena. They watch because of the engaging storylines written by failed Hollywood writers. Hey, this amalgam of fiction and sports did it for me as kid. However, other hobbies and becoming familiar with the female gender prevented my relationships with The Rock, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and The Undertaker from continuing. Nevertheless, I always hung on to baseball, even to this day. Unfortunately, I’ve watched my sport evolve into a form of sports entertainment, not unlike the WWE.

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