Weapons of mass destruction, Milli Vanilli, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan — take your pick — and now, Barry Bonds.
By hitting his 756th career home run Tuesday night to surpass Hank Aaron’s total, Bonds joined the ranks of the most notorious farces in American history, while undoubtedly claiming that dubious title all by his lonesome in the world of sports — with apologies to mock Boston Marathoner Rosie Ruiz.
Bonds is a great player, probably the most feared hitter of all time. He’s a superstar. Though I’ve never met the man, I can only go by what I see, and I see that he is also a jerk. He was a Gold Glove outfielder. He’s a father. He’s a husband, though thanks to his much-publicized extra marital affair, his wife might say, not a very good one. (Hey, I’m divorced, neither was I). He’s a shallow friend to a good chum in former personal trainer Greg Anderson, who is in jail because he won’t testify against Bonds.
What Bonds is not — at least in my mind, and I hope many others — is the legitimate home run king. He does not own the most coveted career record in major league baseball.
That honor, to clear-thinking individuals, still goes to Aaron, just as the single-season record still belongs to Roger Maris, despite Mark “I’m not here to talk about (me taking steroids in) the past” McGwire hitting more in 1998, and Bonds shattering stacked Mac’s mark three years later.
Aaron and Maris were clean. Bonds and McGwire, allegedly (hahahhahahaha), were not.
The Mitchell Commission is searching for proof on steroid use in baseball, and there are reports that it will name names — some big ones — when it comes out. That’s fine and dandy. Evidence is good.
But if you need someone to show you documented proof that Bonds took steroids (remember, he already admitted to unwittingly doing so) — perhaps a snapshot of him injecting some? — then you probably needed more evidence to convict O.J. Simpson.
Do we need a court of law to tell us that Bonds’ melon head grew 10 sizes or that he went from a skinny outfielder in Pittsburgh to Michelin Man in San Francisco? Do we need a court of law to tell us that McGwire looked more like a robot than a baseball player?
The evidence is in front of your eyes, and besides, we saw how that court of law thing turned out with Simpson.
No, like the healthy old man on the infomercials, these guys definitely said “Juice it,” whether there is documented proof or not, which we may never get and, quite frankly, I don’t need.
As a beat writer for 10 years (at the end of this season), I get to vote for Hall of Fame induction. You can bet your booty I won’t be casting a ballot for either Bonds or McGwire.
The same goes for Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa and anyone else that common sense said took steroids to make themselves better, more powerful players.
I had a big league pitcher ask me in a bar one night (in an implicating manner) if I was going to vote for Roger Clemens. That’s good enough for me, especially when I see Clemens still throwing heat in his mid-40s with thighs as big as my abdominal section — OK, I’m probably giving myself way too much credit in that department.
Maybe leaving Clemens off my ballot is taking it a bit too far, since he hasn’t really been part of the magic muscle talk and is obviously a deserving Hall candidate, but if one of his own is calling him out … it’s only a matter of time before the Rocket joins the muddled mix.
Bonds backers — yes, there are some outside of the overlookers in San Francisco — point to his achievements prior to rumors of steroid use, claiming that alone is enough to earn him a ticket to Cooperstown.
I say phooey!
Major league hits leader Pete Rose was a shoo-in Hall of Famer as a player before he started gambling on baseball as a manager, and he may likely never get in.
Why should Bonds?
If you’re counting heavily what Bonds did during the first half of his career, then you have to count the second part, too — when he cheated.
That’s enough to keep the father of all sports farces out of a place reserved for baseball’s best players.
Contact Chris Assenheimer
at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.