Sunday, August 26, 2007

Barry, I Forgive You

I have hated Barry Bonds for a while now. Even before the steroid scandals, he just wasn't a player I could ever stand. So when he got closer and closer to Hank Aaron's home run record I joined the rest of sports nation and hated him even more. I prayed that he would twist his ankle while rounding second. I kept an eye on every report that came out about his alleged steroid use, hoping for something that could throw him out of baseball. I thought of him as what is exactly wrong with sports today. But I realize now that he is not the bad guy I have always thought him to be.

Is Bonds a likeable guy? Uh, not hardly. But alot of sports figures aren't likeable. Bobby Knight isn't likeable. Even Kobe Bryant isn't very well regarded. But even back in Bonds' days where the only knock on him was personality, he would've gotten nothing but cheers during his chase for the record. People tend to put personal feelings aside when they realize they are witnessing history. Steroids seems to be the issue for most baseball fans. "He's destroying the integrity of the game" and "Aaron would've hit 1000 homers on roids" are the common phrases thrown around while discussing Bonds. But of the sixteen players suspended for steroid use since the new policy has been in place, ten of those were pitchers. Michael Wilbon of the Washington Post once said that nobody can cheat during the Tour de France because everybody is on steriods. Well, if a juiced up batter hits a homerun off a juiced up pitcher, do they cancel each other out? And these juiced up pitchers actually inflate homerun numbers by themselves, since the faster the ball, the longer the hit. In the nineties, taking steroids wasn't getting a competitive advantage, it was simply a way to even out the playing field. If you want an asterisk next to Bonds' name, then you have to put one next to every player of the steroid era.

There's plenty of reasons to dislike Bonds. But if you watch baseball, even casually, then don't miss the opportunity that Bonds has presented this summer. It is very rare to be able to witness a feat like this. And I won't be watching with the bitter taste in my mouth the way I have thus far. I'll be watching with awe, excitement, and happiness. Happiness for Bonds, and happiness for myself, since I can finally say: Barry, I forgive you.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Don't agree with your views, but you bring up some interesting points. Keep up the good writing...ESPN.com should be calling sometime!

JFishSports said...

Well, let's hope. Not too many people outside of S.F. agree with my take on Bonds.

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