Sports Outside the Beltway

Columnist: Bonds is Finished

ESPN senior national columnist Gene Wojciechowski thinks Barry Bond’s career is as good as over and his reputation permanently trashed.

In the end, there is only one question that needs to be asked:

Do you believe Barry Bonds, or the book?

If you believe Bonds, then you believe the third-leading home run hitter in the history of Major League Baseball is the victim of an unrelenting federal and media conspiracy designed to frame him for the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

If you believe the excerpts of “Game of Shadows,” then you believe that

Bonds and his mind-boggling, bloated numbers of 1998-2004 (he missed most of last season with an injury) are a fraud.

I believe the book. I think Bonds is — or was — a human Walgreens, a grotesque and insulting example of better baseball through chemistry. And I think he should slither away, joining Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro in forced baseball exile.

Bonds is finished. He might play again, but there is only a chalk outline left around his integrity and home run totals. And the only way he gets into Cooperstown is if he spends the $14.50 for a Hall of Fame admission ticket.

There’s a possibility that Wojciechowski is right. I doubt it, however.

The problem is that this whole era is similarly tainted. We’re pretty sure Bonds used the juice but so did many other players without his stats. How do we know which ones are “frauds” and which are legit?

Further, how much of Bonds’ performance can be attributed to the clear and the cream? He was a three-time league MVP back when he was skinny. And, of course, his recent rash of injuries might be steroids related, helping even out the advantage. He missed almost an entire season, after all.

Like it or not, we’re likely going to have to live with Bonds surpassing Babe Ruth and going to Cooperstown. His health will likely keep him from getting to Hank Aaron.

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Bonds is shame and needs to be removed from the game. The Giants and MLB should be ashamed of themselfs looking the other way. I will not spend another penny on MLB until this issue is settled and Bonds and rest of the cheats are removed from the game. Shame and disgust to them all.

Posted by Chip | March 10, 2006 | 10:48 am | Permalink

Is the idea of performance enhancers anything out of the ordinary for Major League Baseball? Hardly. Especially if it wasn’t illegal at the time. Do you realize that pitchers sneaked vasoline and threw spitters? That umps called balls and strikes for the catcher and rewarded the catchers with favored calls? That coaches and managers steal signals? That players hit many homers with rubber in their bats? That players like George Brett used pine tar to high on the bat? This idea of gaining an advantage is not only the norm in baseball, it is almost as traditional to baseball as hotdogs, peanuts and beer.

Posted by Mark | March 27, 2006 | 01:18 am | Permalink

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