There’s plenty of blame to go around, but I agree with Mark Kriegel on FOXSports.com: Bud Selig was charged with the responsibility of protecting the integrity of the game. He, the owners, and the players nearly destroyed the game with their endless labor disputes. Baseball history taught them home runs can rescue the game, as it did after the Black Sox scandal. If that meant turning a blind eye to an obvious problem, well…
The fans bought the former car salesman’s lemon, and now their mouths are puckering.
If you find the commissioner’s public agonizing a bit much, you aren’t alone. The former car salesman makes a disingenuous Hamlet. After all, the steroid stigma is in large measure a problem of his making. For years, he ignored it. Then, along with the owners he represented, he profited from it. Now he congratulates himself. Baseball’s official website cites the drug-testing program enacted in 2005 — “as strong as any in professional sports” — as evidence of “Selig’s long-term effort to try to rid the game of illegal steroids and performance-enhancing substances.”
The measure was too little, and way too late. Of course, the players’ association deserves a share of the blame, too. No one can accuse the union of being overly concerned about the long-term health consequences for its members. Still, there’s a difference between the union, charged with protecting players’ rights, and the commissioner, who’s obligated to protect the integrity of the game. The fact is, by the time the Selig regime got anything done, the home run tallies were hopelessly tainted. All the commissioner could do was hope like **** that Bonds would get indicted for tax evasion or perjury before he got too close to Hank Aaron’s record.
Some slightly inebriated young women at the Astros game in Houston tonight were being interviewed for booing Bonds. When asked what they would do if they caught #756, one little miss tipsy swore she would throw it back. When pressed and informed the ball would be worth at least a million dollars, she continued to insist she would throw it back.
To borrow from Forrest Gump, hatred is as stupid does. A reasonable person could go insane contemplating whether she is stupid enough to actually think she would throw the ball back, or whether she is stupid enough to actually throw the ball back. Or whether she is stupid enough to not grasp that hatred like that is, well, just plain stupid. What a goober. Having lived in Oklahoma awhile, trust me when I tell you a drunk Texas cowgirl, as purty as they are when you’re seeing double, ain’t worth the ride. “All my ex-es live in Texas” is more than just a cheap rhyme.
This is Houston, after all, where last year during this series Russ Springer disgracefully toyed with Bonds before beaning him, cheered by a slavering Houston crowd mad with blood lust. Hatred is as stupid does.
Considering Curt Schilling’s recent remarks, wouldn’t it be ironic if Barry Bonds takes mealy mouth deep for the all time home run record? Believe it or not, not only is it possible, if current trends continue it is likely Bonds will bust number 756 in Fenway. The Giants have played 33 games, Bonds has played in 30 and has 11 home runs, needing 11 more to pass Aaron. Thirty three games from now? June 15th, the first of a three game series, San Francisco at Boston.
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