It seems that Major Legue Baseball is using Bonds as a scapegoat for the decline of baseball's "America's Game" status. My television is usually tuned into ESPN as I work on my PC as a form of ambiant noise, and hardly a day goes by when Bonds isn't mentioned in some context.
The funny thing is, Rafael Palmiero (3000 hit club), was flat out caught taking steroids as well as lying to the Grand Jury. I havn't heard his name mentioned in months, and prior to testing positive for steroids, he would have been a first ballot hall of famer.
The fact is, no one really knows if Bonds actually did take steroids, because well, he has never failed a drug screen. The obvious signs are there, but the man should not be degraded until there is solid proof that he did in fact cheat.
I have heard many people's opinions on this matter, and a common misconception of steroids making a person hit more home runs by making them stronger, seems to be what people associate. "Steroids don't help a person hit Homeruns". The whole point of taking them, is to increase one's recovery rate. If your not injured, you can play longer, harder, and with a bit more "reckless abandon".
Barry Bonds has arguably the best hand eye coordination of any power hitter ever. Steroids can't do that. You can't artificially produce the ability to hit a 95mph slider with a 3 inch diameter stick 400 feet, over 700 times. So, the question is, what if he hadn't taken roids, would he have even been playing for the last 4 years or so? Remember, he is 42 years old.
Well before he hit 70 homeruns, and reached Ruth's record, Bond's was a first ballot hall of famer. Here are some of his numbers:∑ 7 MVPs
∑ 13-time All Star∑ 8 Gold Gloves
∑ 12 Silver Slugger Awards∑ Only member in 500/500 Club
∑ Two-time N.L. Batting Champion (2002, 2004)
∑ All-time Major League walks leader
∑ Set single-season walks (232) and intentional walks (120) record∑ Set single-season OBP record (.609)
∑ Holds Major League record for consecutive seasons with 30-or-more HR, accomplishing this 13 times
The stats that I highlighted are unheard of. Any player having just one of those stats would earn a trip to the Hall. Pay special attention the the 500/500 club stat. That is 500 stolen bases, and 500 homeruns. No one else is even close. And that single season on base percentage will probobly never be broken.
Even today, if you listen to coaches being asked why they intentionally walked Bonds, the answers are usually similar. The fact is, he is the greatest striker of the baseball of all time, steroids or not.
One last factoid. Since 1900, there have only been 3 player Intentionally Walked With The Bases Loaded. The recipients, in order, were Hall of Famer Nap Lajoie of the Philadelphia A's in 1901, Bill Nicholson of the Chicago Cubs in 1944, and Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants in 1998.
Here was the situation in which Bond's free pass occured:
Bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, two outs and the Arizona Diamondbacks were leading 8-6. Barry Bonds steps to the plate. Buck Showalter defied convention and chose to intentionally walk the slugger making it a one run game. Brent Mayne batted next and lined out to right field on a 3-2 count and the manager was the hero. Would you have made the same call? History dictates not. That my friends is some major respect.