Thursday, October 07, 2004


Yesterday I happened across a couple of free playoff tickets to the Yankees-Twins game. Besides being a great game, I came away with two questions: 1.) How can otherwise normal people turn into irrational psychos the minute the walk through the turnstyles of yankee staduim? One minute they berate the umpire for not calling enough strikes, and literally 3 minutes later they threaten his life for calling too many. In the 10th inning these same fans screamed (I mean screamed!!) at A-Rod, telling him to go back to Texas (in not so nice terms), but they screamed a lot differently when he hit the game tying double in the 12th. Maybe I don't feel my self-worth is attached to a game, or maybe I feel like I'll have other succeses in life besides my team winning or losing, who knows. I just don't get it. 2.) Can democracy work with these kinds of people voting? I sure had my doubts about the whole system last night.

Ok, enough ranting. Watching Gary Sheffield hit a screaming home run last night reminded me of this article I recently read about him and Bonds. The article doesn't exactly accuse Bonds of doping, but it does give a pretty good view of his incredible training regiment and his dealings with BALCO. Now let's be generous and assume Bonds isn't using steroids. Even without that, he has had an incredible advantage over the players whose records he will easily break, Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth. For example, I remember reading somewhere that baseball players until relatively recently wouldn't do weight training because they thought it hurt their reaction time. My question to you guys is this: when Barry Bonds hits home run number 756 and breaks Aaron's record, will there forever be an unofficial asterick by his name? Put more simply, if Aaron and Bonds played side by side for their whole careers would Bonds still have hit more homers?


At 10/07/2004 04:51:00 PM,

That is the silliest thing I've ever heard. Just because Barry Bonds did weight training, his record should be singled out as something different? Do we treat football players differently nowadays when they break records because there is greater degree of weight training (i.e., if the Patriots break the 18-straight win streak of the Miami Dolphins, should there be an asterick next to it because the Dolphins didn't do as much training with weights?)? What about the records at the Olympics - sprinters do a lot more weight training now, but should their records be any less worthwhile than previous ones?

If Bonds takes steriods, that is a different story, but don't fault him for using weights and improving his body.  

Posted by The Pioneer

At 10/07/2004 05:57:00 PM,

I realize I wasn't too clear in my post. I meant to challange Bond's use of non-steroid, performance enhancers: the creatine, the vitamins and whatever else enhances performance and isn't a steroid (??). For example, in the article he talks about "guys that can get your urine and blood and prescribe a vitamin specifically for your blood type and what your body needs."

Still, assuming I was talking about weight traning and other similar advances, I don't think that comparitive descriptions like "all time home run king" and "greatest player ever" are meaningful. I don't fault Bonds because he played in a more "enlightened" era, but I do find it silly to call him, or anyone else for that matter, the best hitter/player/base-stealer/anything ever.  

Posted by Chris

At 10/07/2004 06:52:00 PM,


As for Bonds, I don't think that there will be an asterisk next to anything he does, but I think it will always be in the fans minds. People think Bonds is the best because he hits home runs. ESPN has glorified the home run to the point that other parts of the game almost don't matter. He also won the batting title and had more homers than strikeouts. That in itself is amazing.
However, I DO believe that Bonds was on something when he hit his 73 home runs and that he probably has been off it since. His home run production went up about 30 percent and then went down almost the same amount before and after he hit 73 homers. Almost like Giambi: people start talking about steroids and all of a sudden he shows up to spring training 40 pounds lighter and looks like crap at the plate.

As for the Bonds/Aaron comparison, I think that you have to specify which era they play side-by-side in. Bonds does play in an era that stresses conditioning and has watered down pitching all over the league. What if Aaron could play today? Also, one of the amazing things that people overlook is that Aaron neer hit 50 homers in a season. He just played forever and was extremely consistent. How would BOnds fair playing in Aaron's era? Well, he wouldn't be as big so he probably wouldn't have as many homers, but he'd still probably be the most dangerous hitter.

By the way, does that Giant fan that posted above just lurk on message boards waiting for someone to bad mouth Bonds? 

Posted by Rich

At 10/15/2004 03:52:00 PM,

Yeah, who are you, The Pioneer? A regular here, or a visitor? Either way, you have a point, and so does Rich.

The game has progressed thanks to technology and improved training practices. We shouldn't fault anyone for that. Science is always the fall guy for problems in todays world, but you just can't blame a practice because you can't produce a consequence that punishes a practice, only ones that punish people. If Aaron and Ruth didn't weight train, then that's a choice they made. If you want to talk about people making bad choices due to bad information, let's talk about George Bush.

I believe Aaron and Ruth will be remembered by the standard of their day. They were legend. Every high standard that we have today is a result of the excellence of those who came before. The question should be: Would Bonds be where he is today if he were not motivated by the outstanding achievement of Aaron, Ruth, and all other great players he has witnessed. 

Posted by Mark




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