Thursday, November 15, 2007


I'm glad they indicted Barry Bonds.

But, I don't share the widespread view that he must have cheated because otherwise he couldn't have set the single-season and career HR marks.  

Rewind his career to before Balco, and fiddle with the numbers: if he played 10 years more, he was going to be at 700 or so. People didn't think of Bonds as a home run hitter then. Of course, they didn't think of Aaron at the same age as primarily a home run hitter, either ... And, just to make things even weirder:  if we'd been having a conversation after the rumors started and he supposedly got much bigger, we'd have said that, since steroids hurt a player's longevity, Bonds would be gone from the game (like Canseco and Caminiti) before he could threaten Aaron!

His single season mark is also not as bizarre as people think: 16, 39, 61, 33, 26. Those are the HR totals for 5 consecutive seasons for Roger Maris, with the 61 in the middle. Maris never hit over 40, except the year he hit 61.  Here's an even more bizarre series: 10, 18, 5, 43, 15. Davey Johnson's HR totals, 1970-74. Johnson never hit over 20, except the year he hit 43.  No one, so far as I know, accused Maris or Johnson of using performance enhancing drugs.

Of course this doesn't prove that he didn't take steroids, but he has been in an impossible situation--people making all kinds of accusations, and he can't respond.
And acting like a jerk and hating reporters hasn't helped much.

Now, he'll have a chance to tell his side of the story, and its long overdue. 


John said...

1 -- OK, he certainly deserves a fair trial. He must be convicted beyond a reasonable doubt.
2 -- He was (past-tense, he'll never play again) a super ball player who would have gotten into Hall of Fame with or without juice.
3 -- I think he knew he wsa taking stuff. Look at the young Barry versus Old Barry. Roger Maris did not have a personal trainer sitting in jail for months just because he wouldn't talk about Maris. Maris did not have his name continually linked with illegal drug dealers. Nor did Aaron or Ruth.

rdfrench said...

On 1: I'm not going to defend Bonds, but, as you know I don't have a high regard for the Justice department. Remember Kweng (cq?) Ho Lee?
2. I agree--he'll never play again
3. The only arguments I buy on him using are the anecdotal arguments. You say: Look at old Barry vs. young Barry? Do the same thing with Roger Clemens, or Frank Robinson, or most players who play into their '40s. And also, consider the fact that the company that makes Barry's batting armor and has done so since way before Balco has said that their records show that his arms haven't changed size since they started making armor ...
Again, I'm not arguing for the virtue of Barry Bonds. I won't be surprised if he is convicted, but I will be surprised if there isn't more stuff to come, some of it exculpatory. I assume we don't know the whole story.