Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
March 20, 2005
BASEBALL: His Head Got Bigger, But . . .

Did Barry Bonds' ex-girlfriend implicate him more deeply in the steroid scandal? Of course, from ESPN's writeup, she doesn't necessarily sound like the most credible witness (disgruntled ex-girlfriends can be like that as witnesses).

This whole thing has just been depressing, even the Bonds part, and that's coming from someone who has no love for Bonds. (I'll have more on the historic uniqueness of Bonds's late-career power surge some time in the next week or two). I'll actually confess I was a bit surprised to see the evidence mounting heavily against Mark McGwire. Yes, I know Big Mac got to be a huge guy and had the big power years in his mid-30s, but (1) he was a guy with a huge frame when he came into the league, and always looked like he'd fill out and (2) after all, you'd expect the home run record to be broken by a guy who broke the rookie home run record. Maybe it was too easy to ingore the warning signs because he already fit the part.

Anyway, nobody involved has covered themselves in glory - this is a story with no heroes - from the players, agents, trainers, owners, league and union executives and dealers who were all either in on it or actively looking the other way, to the reporters and politicians looking to grandstand or use the scandal to settle scores with guys they never liked. And who keeps leaking all this grand jury stuff? Yuck.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:19 PM | Baseball 2005 | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

I think the BP guys and other analytical types, who have been agressively agnostic about the whole steroid thing, have been sounding uncomfortably like Bill James on Pete Rose's gambling.

Posted by: Dr. Manhattan at March 20, 2005 10:53 PM

Yeah, add them to the pile as well, along with some of the more extreme libertarian anti-drug-war-warrior types who slip this into a seamless case for why heroin and crack should be legal. I mean, really. Doesn't anybody have any perspective left? Can't we find a middle ground between "deny, deny, deny" and "this is worse than the Black Sox"? Sorry, folks, no matter what you do wrong to win games, nothing done in pursuit of winning the games compares to the Black Sox.

Posted by: The Crank at March 20, 2005 11:01 PM

Concur, we all need to have some perspective. Not all "baseball sins" are created equal. Each person has to weigh the various transgressions and decide how they feel about them when evaluating players.
Obviously, some of the gambling stuff done early in the games history (ie: years leading to 1919 series) would have to rate as the worst sins. The Black Sox scandal was not the first time gamblers affected outcomes of games. At the other end of the scale is stealing signs. Reasonable people can argue whether sign stealing is a negative or just recognizing a failure on your opponents part just like the hidden ball trick. May not be great sportsmanship but you shouldn't be obvious about your signs and you shouldn't fall for the hidden ball trick. Things I believe fall between those extremes include corked bats, spitballs (which were legal for years), watering down the base-paths before a running team would come to town, etc, etc, etc. I know steroid use goes on the bad list somewhere and it can not be as bad as gambling which tears apart the integrity of the game.

Posted by: LargeBill at March 21, 2005 8:25 AM

I am eagerly awaiting your History of Bonds. I took a quick, unschooled glance a few months ago, and his power surge is astonishing. (And I think SI had an article about Bonds pointing out that his early 1990's numbers are probably legit, and that his career looks like the story of a 500 HR Hall of Famer who juiced up).

Posted by: Tom Maguire at March 21, 2005 5:25 PM
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