Barry Bonds and all of his apologists should be ashamed: He's embarrassed a once-great sport

Back when he did stand-up, Steve Martin used to have this bit where he'd announce in a booming voice, "You can be a millionaire and not pay taxes!" Then, he'd say, very casually, "First, get a million dollars. Then, when the IRS eventually calls, just say, 'I forgot that I was supposed to pay taxes.'"

Apparently, Barry Bonds grew up listening to Martin instead of Richard Pryor, which is his loss. Pryor's humor was based on brutal honesty, while Martin's is all absurdist nonsense. And nothing is more absurd than the assertion by Bonds (who won't put a morsel of food in his body unless it's prepared by his personal chef and checked out by his nutritionist) that while he took steroids, he didn't know that he was taking steroids.

What's been bothering me these past couple weeks is the drivel that is spilling forth from the people in peripheral positions around the walking sewer that is Barry Bonds.

The union people talk about "negotiating" a new drug policy, even though the one that's in effect doesn't expire for two more years.

First of all, the "policy" that's in effect right now reminds one of how Abraham Lincoln once described a particularly bad piece of legislation as being "weaker than soup made from the shadow of a crow that had starved to death." Then, with the hit that the players union is taking, and the mud splattered all over Major League Baseball, why would the union talk about "negotiating" a new policy? That sounds like they're looking for a give-and-take with management, when they should all be rushing headlong toward the strongest drug crackdown in sports history. Plus, there's the matter of most baseball players being clean and honest (oddly enough, I believe they are). Those guys should be screaming bloody murder for the union to get out in front of any cleanup efforts.

Even more frustrating are the talking heads on TV and the radio who are equivocating on this subject. ESPN baseball analyst Tim Kurkjian says that Bonds will still be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, because he didn't cheat his entire career. Sure, he cheated for several years, but ...

There's no "but" in the matter of Barry Bonds. There's an ass, but there's no "but." Kurkjian even went so far as to say that he would probably vote for Bonds on the first ballot, "but that's not to condone anything." Has this man lost his mind?

Some of the other gems in the ether on this subject:

· When Bonds started doing this, it wasn't illegal, per se. This is a major part of what's wrong with America these days. Certainly, we are a nation of laws, but not everything should come down to whether something is specifically legal or illegal. An overriding concern--something many people older than 21 have forgotten about and many people under that age apparently were never taught--is the concept of right and wrong.

It's not specifically against the law at this moment for me to inject chemicals that will allow me to swell to 1.5 times my normal size and hit home runs that no human being should be able to hit; therefore, it's OK to do so.

· Steroids don't allow him to be a better hitter; they just help him hit the ball farther. First off, nobody--not Victor Conte, not the best doctor in the world and certainly not a blow-dried press release regurgitator--knows all of the effects of steroids. Certainly, they increase strength, allowing balls to travel greater distances, thus turning all those major leaguers with "warning-track power" into home-run monsters. But they also help with bat speed, which can turn mis-hit balls into singles, singles into doubles, and so on. And, for all anybody knows, steroids might help with hand-eye coordination.

The moron who was espousing this nonsense on TV looked like he had gone to USC and majored in communications, and were it not for his looks, he'd probably be working at the Pioneer Chicken Stand. He couldn't tell a steroid from a hemorrhoid, and yet they let him go on TV and apologize for Bonds the Pastime Slayer.

· The public, which showed up in record numbers last year, doesn't seem to care whether ballplayers are juiced. This is the stupid mantra of Colin Cowherd on ESPN radio, among many others. We live in a country in which a majority of the voters can't tell the difference between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. That millions can't tell the difference between a once-great sport and a carnival sideshow shouldn't be shocking.

As I've said in the past, I worshipped baseball as a kid, played it in high school and college and then followed it as an adult until greed overwhelmed it with the cancellation of the 1994 World Series, after which I dropped it cold-turkey. It's now nothing more to me than white noise in July.

But if millions of Americans want to spend their money on their chemically inflated "heroes," well, they all deserve each other.

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