First he says steroids are rampant in baseball. Then he gets before Congress and says he may have overstated his case, and calls Canseco, who named players using steroids, a liar. Then Curt Schilling says this:
“He (Bonds) admitted he used steroids. There’s no gray area,” Schilling said. “He admitted cheating on his wife, cheating on taxes and cheating on the game.”
He later said “It’s just unfortunate there’s good people and bad people.”
Giants flagship station KNBR has a morning show centering on announcers Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow. On Wednesday, Krukow pulled no punches, calling Schilling a “horses’s ***.”
Mike Krukow thinks Schilling’s rear end matches that of the great Secretariat, or any number of equine athletes.
Krukow essentially said that Schilling is a blowhard, calling him an “idiot” who always seems to pop off about things he doesn’t need to comment on and saying “a little knowledge goes a long way. He thinks he knows a lot about everything.”
Now he apologizes, I’m sure after getting his horse’s *** chewed by every responsible person in Major League Baseball (does Bud Selig count as a responsible person?) trying to protect their product. And, of course, you know his little slip of the tongue cost him a pretty penny.
The way this is going next thing you know Schilling will be on top of a building shouting “The Sheriff’s a Ni**er!“
— Michael Norton
Last year at this time, the beloved authors here on Some Ballyard were getting skewered for suggesting that there was more to the Bonds story than superficial loathing. I spent the last weekend categorizing posts, and incidentally noticed that the character and tone of Some Ballyard as it exists today was presaged by one post, A Long Out. You’ll notice that is Matt from Diamondhacks first appearance on Some Ballyard, as well as some inanity by The Dearly Departed. I spent the next month fighting off the barbarians, including the infamous ‘Stros Bro (also departed), all favorites of the clowns running MLBlogs. Indeed, the entire month of May was one long brawl, after which I was seriously questioning why I was blogging at all.
All this was for merely suggesting that Bonds was a human being. I wasn’t even going as far as racism. As I stated, I was curious why Bonds engendered such visceral hatred. Yet the racism came out, in a way that stunned me. Not that I wasn’t conscious of the racial component of the saga. I am old enough to remember Hank Aaron breaking the home run record. Nobody was a racist back then, either. But in this day and age I was honestly amazed at the utter denial of even the possibility of a racial aspect. Personally, I considered the whole affair a rare opportunity for all of us, white and black, to examine our attitudes. Apparently I was right on target. Jason Stark at ESPN had this to say recently:
But would you have known, from the way this issue has been portrayed by all of us in the media biz, that the percentage of fans who wish this moment wasn’t happening would be only 52 percent?
Would you have guessed that three fans out of every eight actually want Barry Bonds to break this record?
If those percentages are accurate, many of us have misread the mood of the nation on this. And in more ways than one.
Until now, we haven’t spent much time talking about the racial issues that hover over this man and this event. But this poll tells us we need to do more of that, too.
These moments come along so rarely. I hope we learn. This time.
— Michael Norton
Not that you would know from MLBlogs, where Jackie Robinson Day is observed by parading a Hollywood starlet sporting a sexy top with a Dodger logo to peddle a new clothing line, but fifty years ago this year Number 42 retired from baseball and devoted himself to pursuing civil rights for all Americans. That same year a young Queen came to America for the first time to participate in the celebration of the 350th anniversary of Jamestown, where slavery originated in this country. How much has changed in the intervening half century? From my vantage point here in the Historic Triangle, I have some peculiar observations in Fit for a Queen, my latest post on The Jamestown Site.
You may look differently at what is about to be the vanishing home run record in this Game of Shadows.
I’ve seen a lot of this the last couple of days:
Besides, even if he was cheating — and skeptics can say that he merely moved the substance elsewhere, like the bill of his cap — this is baseball, not golf. The culture of baseball is different than perhaps any other sport in that it tolerates — if not embraces — getting any kind of edge that you can. The runner on second is always going to try to steal a sign from the catcher, and the third-base coach’s signs are fair game for those who can decipher them. The burden is on the umpires and the opposing team to catch the offender; in golf, the onus is on the individual to abide by the honor system. I’m not saying that cheating on your taxes or on your SATs or in anything else that happens in everyday life is right. I’m just saying that’s the way it is in baseball from time immemorial — you cheat until you get caught. And if you don’t get caught, then you get a congratulations for getting away with it. I don’t see the Giants offering to give back the Dodgers the 1951 pennant anytime soon, do you?
Or Bonds giving back #2 to Ruth. Can you cheat at some things, but not others? Can you cheat just a little? What kind, and how much cheating is acceptable? What are the rules regarding cheating? Can you cheat at those rules?
The criticism of Bonds is that he is a petulant jerk. I seem to remember Kenny Rogers assaulting a reporter. Could the difference, like the rules, be black and white?
Think I’ll go golfing…
— Michael Norton
A strange thing happened today: the sun came up. A ray of light struck a book on my table, a book by Leigh Montville called The Big Bam. I was surprised.
Barry Bonds hit #715 to pass Babe Ruth on the all time list. Wasn’t the world supposed to end? Or at least that book on Ruth disappear? But wait! The pages are still filled with wonderful stories of the Babe and his exploits!
And my gosh! I look around the baseball world and I see Prince Albert homered again! The Mets won behind El Duque! The fan who snagged #715 was making a beer run! All is right with the world. The sky isn’t falling. The Cubs and Royals even lost, again. What’s changed?
Well, beat the drum and hold the phone – the sun came out today!
We are born again, there is new grass on the field.
Rounding third, and headed for home, it’s a brown-eyed handsome man;
Anyone can understand the way I feel.
— John Fogerty, Centerfield
Congratulations to Barry Bonds for his accomplishment, and to Curt Schilling for 200 wins.
By the way, John Fogerty’s reference to a brown-eyed handsome man rounding third and headed home is a tribute to Chuck Berry. You’ll find other interesting musical tidbits on Moondog’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival.
Matt over at DiamondHacks has consistently posted insightful comments on the PED issue, but I found this entry on Rachel’s Redbird Ramblings not only intellectually stimulating, but poignantly honest. There is something about the meandering reasoning that reveals a soul struggling with the issue—and a little soul is precisely what is needed on Bonds. Inside Pitch is even more stringently, devastatingly, analytical. This is the best post I’ve seen anywhere on the issue.
Daddy Raised a Cardinals Fan wrote a thoughtful post on the topic, but more than anything offered the solution in #715: embrace it. Embrace it for the good of baseball, and because you are a baseball fan.
Anyone who has read much history understands that history is fickle. Anyone who thinks they understand the moment at that moment is deluded. Already with 9/11 rallying around the flag has surrendered to conspiracy theories. The interpretations of the event will go through dozens of more convolutions before settling into a myth long after all of us are dead, a myth that will be exposed to be a myth by some historian with an ax to grind. Same with the Iraq War. That’s why I blog about baseball rather than politics.
I’m simply not smart enough to pronounce god-like judgments on Bonds and the steroid era. What I do see, however, gives me hope: baseball fans coming out into the open and confronting the hateful and spiteful baseball “aficianadoes” who have been for too long telling us what we should think and feel. Not to sound like Dr. Phil, but it is OK to enjoy the moment. That’s what baseball is all about. Unlike any other sport, baseball is timeless. — Michael Norton
Congrats to Derek Jeter on 2000 hits!
I’m blogging on Moodog’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival about another passing of one era to another, from the Jazz Age to Rock and Roll. Check it out!
Wouldn’t it be delicious if the Hated Bonds passes the Beloved Babe against the team that lionized the Blubbering **** who started this home run record circus…while on deck is the player who may put them all to shame, Albert Pujols. Of course even Pujols is under the cloud of suspicion, as Cyn over at Red Sox Chick points out. Let me state for the record that I’m a huge Albert Pujols fan—and that was before I saw the Sunday night interview on ESPN and learned he has a rather engaging personality. I didn’t know he was a nice guy. He impressed me as the kind that just took care of business. I noticed he expressed nothing but respect for Bonds, which is more than can be said for many fans. Maybe he knows something the rest of us don’t.
I mean, besides how to hit a baseball a country mile. I’m willing to stipulate he’s clean, at least until there is some scintilla of evidence, like a precursor to steroids found in his locker. But that leads us to a conundrum: Pujols is proving it is possible to do the kinds of things Bonds has been doing naturally. So how much do steroids and other PEDs aid in the production of home runs? If Bonds hits a thousand, like his agent suggests, will he eclipse Ruth? — Michael Norton
It is ironic that Barry Bonds hit #714, tying Babe Ruth, as a designated hitter, which some baseball purists argue violates the rules of baseball. The designated hitter rule (6.10), instituted some thirty years ago, appears to contravene the first rule of batting:
(a) Each player of the offensive team shall bat in the order that his name appears in his team’s batting order.
One word that repeatedly surfaces in correlation with Bonds is “cheat”. Is it possible to cheat when there isn’t a rule? Cheating, by definition, requires some violation of a rule. Those are the rules. Thus leveling charges of cheating against Bonds for doing something that was not against the rules in effect is, in effect, violating the rule ruling the use of the term cheat–i.e., cheating.
The ironies are thicker than the notorious Bay Area fog. The Oakland A’s Bash Brothers, Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire, are central figures in the steroid controversy swirling around baseball. Jose Canseco, the self-proclaimed Godfather of performance enhancing drugs, exposed McGwire, who obliged Bonds to pursue his unholy alliance with chemistry simply to compete. The one argument against steroids which bears scrutiny is that once one competitor makes that choice, all must.
My only defense of Bonds is this: imagine having a legitimate claim of being the best at what one does, perhaps for all time, and watch competitors of far lesser abilities steal your place. Game of Shadows claims Bonds was clean until McGwire and Sosa began launching balls into the upper decks with a consistency that had never been seen before. Smirking Bonds thus becomes the sympathetic poster boy for the only anti-steroid argument that will withstand rigorous inquiry—and the blubbering Big Mac by the gateway arch to the west becomes the villain, while The Trickster who started it all, Canseco, appears to be the only one coming clean.
It all ran home this weekend. It is appropriate that it should all happen in the Bay Area, the original culture of better living through chemicals. Anybody remember the Grateful Dead? — Michael Norton
I recently read the following regarding Barry Bonds’ 714th:
The ball was caught on the fly by 19-year-old Tyler Snyder of nearby Pleasanton, who was cheered by fans around him and quickly left the Coliseum with his souvenir. When Bonds was told Snyder is an A’s fan, he quipped: "I, um, forgive you. If he doesn’t like me, give me the ball."
Hey Barry, we don’t have to like you to appreciate your accomplishment. I personally liked Barry Bonds better when he was “just” an OUTSTANDING player for the Pirates…long before the home-run debacle took effect. In any case, the game has changed and it’s a different venue now. Congrats to Barry on his recent accomplishment and good luck on his next career moves (I suspect a World Series ring and Hank Aaron’s record are high on his to-do list.) — cmn
In 1965 five thousand Houston fans rushed the Beatles plane on the runway at two in the morning, preventing it from taxiing. Some climbed on the wings, smoking cigarettes around thousands of pounds of jet fuel. Others cheered them on.
The crowds can get a little manic in Houston. Some Astros fans, in particular Thomas over at ‘Stros Brothers, has taken umbrage to my remarks regarding Springer’s beaning of Bonds. He suggests I expend my efforts gathering signatures to eliminate dodge ball from school programs. I suspect he considers me to be some sort of lily livered wimp, the kind who grows faint at the sight of blood.
Not quite. I survived seven years in a juvenile detention facility, affectionately known as a juvy, in my twenties (check out my other blog, Performancer). I would dare say I have been on the receiving end of as much violence as anyone. I’m not whining: I meted out pretty much as much as I got. But I was always professional about it. I did not toy with them. Nor did I carry grudges.
To this day I am admittedly more sensitive to violence than most. I don’t watch violent movies. I don’t like violent sports. There is a reason I am a baseball fan, and not a boxing fan or even a football fan. My son and co-author here at SBY were at a hockey match last winter when a particularly nasty fight broke out. The reaction of the crowd sickened me. It was the same bloodlust I would see on the faces of the non-participants whenever something particularly violent happened at the juvy. There’s something about the smell of blood, about the darkest emotions, that people find absurdly, and dangerously, pleasurable.
I must confess I was shocked by the reaction to my last blog. I still can’t comprehend how anyone could consider the events of Tuesday night anything less than disgraceful. The controversy quite literally shocked me, and I’ve seen enough I’m not usually shocked. How anyone could justify what transpired, whatever they think of Bonds, is beyond my comprehension.
Tell you what. Let’s do this in true baseball spirit. Bill Veeck would love this. Let’s give a ball to the first twenty thousand fans to the ballpark and let them throw a baseball at Bonds. Let them take out their frustrations with a steroid era for which they now accept no responsibility. Remember McGwire? Sosa? Palmiero? Or, perhaps a little closer to home for Houston, Ken Caminiti? We fans bought the tickets to watch them blast balls out of parks in ways we knew weren’t natural. But no, it’s just Bonds. He’s the culprit. Let’s stone the symbol of our collective shame, then maybe this will all just go away.
Or let’s stone him because he is repugnant. Because we don’t like him. We do that, don’t we? Hit people we do not like? He deserves it, after all. He “made his bed”, after all. He asked to be hit. Isn’t that always the justification? I think I’ve heard that same argument made by men who beat women.
Amazingly, one Astros fan who was offended by my description of the events wrote that she was terribly concerned who the San Francisco team was going to retaliate against. “I just hope no one gets hurt.”
Uh, yeah. As Matt at Diamondhacks observed, fastballs are dangerous things.
So are crowds. So are fanatics who will defend the indefensible in defense of their team. There is a certain mania that is evoked by such relatively trivial objects like sports teams, celebrities and musicians. I’m not the one who doesn’t understand its only a game. — Michael Norton