Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Bonds and Red Sox Nation

Re: David Ortiz, Barry Bonds

Bonds name has now come up in various forums. The attitude of many people is as follows:

I'd rather lose than sign the cheater.

I know that some people feel that way. I'm not one of them. I don't feel the loathing for Bonds that many do, and have never really understood it. Did he use substances which were technically illegal to help him play better? I'm pretty sure that he did. Was he the only one doing so? I'm pretty sure that he wasn't. When he was doing it, did Major League Baseball have a testing program in place or specified punishments for using those substances? Not that I'm aware of. As near as I can tell, that stigma attaches to Bonds because a) he doesn't like the media and the media doesn't like him1 and b) he is the best hitter in the game since Ted Williams. Yankee fans seems to be surviving with Jason Giambi and Andy Pettitte on the roster. Cleveland fans managed to cheer for Rafael Betancourt on the mound last October. But we can't bring in a great hitter to DH, a guy who's been tested frequently for the past four years and never failed a test, because he took some substances 6-9 years ago in his quest to be a better player?

I really don't agree...

1 - Bonds, unlike most players, grew up in a Major League clubhouse. He was exposed at an early age to media behavior, and saw, at an early age, biased, skewed, vicious and unfair commentary aimed at people that he personally knew and loved. He came to the game with no illusions about the "ink-stained wretches" and no patience with them, and the coverage of him has been negative since day 1. Some of it has probably been deserved - there are reasons to believe that he's been, at times, a jerk. A lot of it, I suspect, has been overdone, petty, vindictive and inaccurate. I don't know this - that's just my gut feel from 3000 miles away.

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