Wednesday, March 08, 2006

B Before The Barry Bonds Book Comes Out

For myself, I'm like Barry Bonds. I don't need to read another book about him. I am happy to believe everything that they are now saying about Barry Bonds -- steroid user. Excessive. Obsessive. Fueled by Jealousy. Paranoia. Violent Rage Any other conclusion about Bonds would defy everything I know about practically anything.

Two things though.

First. Bonds played those games, and he hit those home runs. Baseball is an entertainment and a business. It reflects America – and it reflects this reality about business – definitely in 21st century America --- and probably about all commercial ventures for all time. If your leading salesman is a drunk, a steroid user, a wife abuser, a felon, a psychopath, an anything, he will remain on the payroll and continue to draw the top salary. Whistle blowers can whistle while they’re begging for pennies on the street.

These baseball games happened, and the records need to reflect what happened. They can strike Barry Bonds’ name from the record books the moment baseball returns every cent of money they made off of Barry Bonds, and give all of us back all the time we spent enjoying the baseball world of the late 1990s. If some people have a tough time explaining to their kids about the nature of cheaters and prospering, maybe they can start off by saying that in one respect, its only baseball. It’s only a mirror on what is really important. It seems to me (a man without children) to be a rather painless way of teaching the value of money versus the value of values. Not to mention the somewhat more subtle lesson about the harm that comes when you take lists of facts, and try to equate the facts with the truth.

Second. It’s hard to know who cares, really, except sportswriters and bloggers. This year baseball promises to be not only steroid free (hah), but also amphetamine free (which is probably easier to do). Let’s see what ESPN, the same people who are frying Bonds now, say when they don’t have enough home runs on August 23rd to fill a 15-minute SportsCenter.

The jury is not out on this. The mastermind behind this whole ugly steroid scandal, Victor Conte, the man behind BALCO, the Bay Area chemistry lab that supplied Bonds, and probably McGwire, Canseco, Palmeiro and so many others, was already tried and convicted. Found to be the man who took the whole steroid scandal up to the next level. Without him, would Barry Bonds have had the ability to make any of his evil dreams a reality? Probably not. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. His sentence for all this perfidy? Four months followed by four months house arrest. Book deal and movie of the week to follow.

Because of how the system responded to Conte, and to Anderson, the trainer who actually shot Bonds up (3 months prison, 3 months house arrest), I’m still open to the idea that Barry Bonds will come to be seen, may be seen already, as a man ahead of his time. Someone who helped us all by showing us how much a fellow can do with a good pharmacist by his side. Dystopia 2050? Nope, just science pointing us to a longer, more productive work day.