Nothing But Balls
Sports From a Different Perspective…

Barry Bonds and His Legacy

I remember watching from a hotel room in 2001, Barry Bonds record breaking season, seeing the Giant outfielder club two home runs against his biggest rival the Los Angeles Dodgers. That day in early October (the baseball season was delayed that year because of the 9/11 attacks) as I was laying on the couch attempting to fall asleep, my eyes were drawn in by the voice of Jon Miller talking about Bonds breaking the record set just three years before for single season round trippers. I do not recall Bonds chasing the record before that point. I do not know if I was just not following sports that much or if because of 9/11 I was distracted, but it was not prior to that night, when I realized that Bonds was chasing McGwire. At the time I thought that was pretty cool, but it still felt cheap.

I remember reading within the next days in some publication, a sort of mallaise, describing the cheapening of the record held by Roger Maris for 37 years. It seemed as if it were going to be broken every few years, and a new era of baseballs flying out of ballparks everywhere would begin. Instead, the era of BALCO and steroid testing began. Before the infamous BALCO trials, Bonds drew comparisons to Babe Ruth with his scary good numbers, but I along with many others knew something just was not right. We could not explain it, but we noticed Bonds bigger and better than ever. How can a guy, who never hit 50 in a year, and all of a sudden 73 are clubbed out? As his head grew, so did the suspicions, and then culminated in the investigative reporting of Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada.

The San Francisco Chronicle reporters used their sources, mostly BALCO steroiod pusher in chief Victor Conte, to report Bonds testified to a grand jury in December 2004 that “he never used substances knowingly, that were steroids{paraphrase}.” The two substances in question were known as the “cream” and the “clear”. He believed these substances arthritis cream and flaxseed oil respectively. More recently, in an interview on HBO, the inventor of the clear, Patrick Arnold, claimed that in his conversations with BALCO executive Conte, that the lab owner boasted of Bonds progress on his program. These revelations along with the full and unadulterated content in Williams and Wada’s book Game of Shadows build more than a solid argument that Bonds is a cheater even though he never failed a drug test.

However, Bonds also has proven not just to be a cheater on the field, but off the field as well. It has been reported that Bonds did not reveal certain expenses on his tax returns and is also guilty of infidelity towards his wife. Today on Jim Rome’s show, during the “forum” segment, regular guest Roger Lodge gave the opinion I have been holding for a long time, Bonds is a cheater and the greatest record in sports is tainted, hopefully not forever.


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