Tagged: Bonds

We’re Not Serious, Be We?

If Bonds is convicted (or plea bargains), this is exactly what MLB should do if it is serious about PEDs, Barry Bonds, and the entire performance enhancing drug mess: 

All of Marion Jones’ results dating to September 2000, including her Olympic and world championship titles, were annulled Friday because of doping. Track and field’s governing body also told her to return prize money from that period.

The International Association of Athletics Federation recommended that Jones’ relay teammates be disqualified and lose their medals from the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

The IAAF council also upheld the two-year ban imposed on Jones by U.S. officials. She retried last month after pleading guilty to lying to federal investigators in 2003. Jones admitted she had taken the designer steroid “the clear” from September 2000 to July 2001.

ESPN – Jones’ results since ’00 annulled for doping – Trackandfield

Otherwise:  SHUT THE **** UP!!!  You lack the courage of your convictions.  You are, as you were, part of the problem, not the solution.

— Michael Norton


Fish Stories

You don’t have to live a particularly long time to notice we have a tendency to turn on our leaders at the end of their time. President Bush has approval ratings in the range of Harry Truman at the end of his term. Clinton fought off impeachment. Babe Ruth was given his release from the Yankees and ended his career as a circus act.

I think of these things when I realize the leading hitter of his generation has been forced out of the game, despised and disgraced. There will be no farewell tour, no final doff of the cap to adoring fans, no father taking his child to the game to watch the all-time home run hitter swat what might be the last home run of his illustrious career.

My suspicion is the children will again bemoan the prophet their fathers stoned. Bonds image might very well be rehabilitated by a future generation who can judge with context. Truman is now generally acknowledged as one our better Presidents.  Clinton is adulated like a rock star. Speaking of the devil, note that Bonds criminal offense is identical to Bubba’s: perjury and obstruction of justice in an investigation that might have yielded embarrassing facts. I remember observing when Clinton perjured himself: “this is so bad, so bad.” If a President, head of the executive branch of government sworn to uphold the laws, can perjure himself, how can the government hold responsible the lowly citizen? A culture of perjury had been established. But now we’re looking at electing the perjurer’s wife, who wouldn’t be in the race at all had she not become a sympathetic figure as a victim of his peccadilloes, supported by “Blue Dress Democrats”. Remember when she was perhaps the most reviled woman in America?

All of this is a little silly, really. Bonds is just a ballplayer. The government has spent six million dollars prosecuting an entertainer for taking drugs. They congratulate themselves on having caught the big fish. Considering all that goes on in Washington, they only snagged a small fry.


— Michael Norton


A number of people seem to be taking great delight in the downfall of one Barry Bonds, a scene eerily reminiscent of the gleeful crowds at the burning of infidels during the Inquisition. Personally I consider these events a monumental tragedy, for Bonds, for his family, for baseball. I take no joy in the fall of a man, any man.

Don’t misunderstand me: Bonds, assuming he is indeed guilty, deserves the consequences. He has it coming. But as Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven replies to the aspiring gun slinger soothing his conscience at having killed a man with the rationalization “he had it coming”:

We’ve all got it coming.

— Michael Norton

Bonding on Mean Street

Wonder how this guy, without money or shoes (but especially without money), got into a Major League park?

“I’ll tell you the story,” Bonds said. “The guy jumped on the field, had his hands up and was screaming, ‘I just want to shake your hand.’ I said, ‘Fine, come shake my hand.’ He said, “Dude, I’ve got no money. I have no shoes. I’ve got nothing in life.’ I’ve been down in that neighborhood. I said, ‘Let’s just walk back together, though, so these guys don’t get itchy and throw you down on the ground. And show them that you mean no harm. Hopefully, nothing bad will happen.'”

The Official Site of Major League Baseball: News: Major League Baseball News

This is classic Bonds:  do something right, and wrong, in the same moment.  His humane treatment of an obviously deranged fan was classy and cool.  Then he makes a complete *** of himself by claiming to have ever walked the mean streets.  Bonds is the troubled son of privilege. 

“He didn’t know what it meant to struggle, and to some degree that meant he couldn’t understand what it was to be prototypically black,” says former teammate Darryl Hamilton.  When Sports Illustrated columnist Rick Reilly was researching a piece on African Americans being stopped by the police because of their skin color, he approached Bonds.  “Barry,” asked Reilly, “I was just wondering if you’ve ever been pulled over for DWB?”

“Get the **** out of my face!” screamed Bonds.  “What the ****?  What kind of ******* question is that?”

Only after teammate Ellis Burkes explained that DWB stood for “driving while black” did Bonds cool off.  “He was the only African-American athlete who didn’t know what it was,” says Reilly.  “And I interviewed a lot of people.”

Jeff Pearlman, Love Me, Hate Me

Earlier Pearlman had described how his black teammates would conceal their nightly haunts, not wanting Bonds, who listens to Barbara Streisand, Kenny G. and Michael Bolton and supports conservative political candidates, along.  “Dude didn’t fit in.”  Reading the book one begins to understand that, more than anything, Bonds wants credibility.

So in that sense maybe he’s right.  Maybe he does know what it is to have nothing in life.

— Michael Norton

Lance and Barry

It is instructive how in general we want to believe Lance, and want to disbelieve Barry.  The circumstantial evidence is similar.

Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong said doping charges leveled in a new book by Irish writer David Walsh are recycled allegations designed to “cash in on my name and sully my reputation.”

…That book, as well as much of the material in the new book, is based on testimony given in a legal dispute between Armstrong and a Dallas-based company that had a bonus contract with the cyclist.

Armstrong fires back at charges in book

What’s Likes Got to Do With It?

I referenced a possible schism in the Yankees clubhouse in my last post.  Possible, ****.  Everyone knows it exists.  It was documented last year.

A lot of people don’t like ARod.

I can understand why.  There’s a certain phoniness to that All-American hero image he has carefully cultivated.  That’s what made the Stray Rod story work.  If it had been Jason Giambi, do you think anyone would have blinked?  But in all fairness to Rodriguez, he is damned if he does, and damned if he doesn’t.  We claim we want him to be a role model.  Then if he acts like one, we condemn him for the act.

But nevertheless I understand why a lot of people don’t like ARod.  My question is: what the **** does that have to do with anything?  What is it about baseball culture in this day and age that ‘likes’ is so important?  Winning used to be.  Performance used to be.  Has baseball become something akin to American Idol, where we root for those we like and boo those we despise, whether or not they can sing?

The breaking of the home run record is a non-event for many.  Why?  Because they don’t like Bonds.  Barroids, schmeroids, the real issue is a visceral reaction to Bonds personality, or lack thereof.  Bonds isn’t liked.  ARod isn’t liked.

So?  Ty Cobb wasn’t liked either.  Cobb didn’t like Babe Ruth.  A lot of people didn’t like Ruth, for that matter, something forgetten in the nostalgia.  His manager, Miller Huggins, hated him.  There are reasons Ruth never got his own managerial chance, and it was certainly not because the powers that were didn’t think he could do the job.  He peeved a lot of people.

He hit 714 home runs.  So what’s likes got to do with it?