…. One more time

The 16th comment in my last post was written by someone who called themselves “You’re fooling no one.” I understand that many people read headlines and little else most of the time, but, come on. I am not fooling myself or trying to fool anyone else.

I am not saying that I believe Bonds didn’t use steroids.

I am not apologizing for him, or rationalizing for him.

I am not suggesting that it’s no problem that he did or didn’t use steroids.

What I am trying to say is that I simply will not sit here and capitulate to the mob. Bonds is not evil, nor is he a saint. His actions stretched the boundaries of fair play and certainly were filled with risk and reward, risks he willing took, rewards he gladly received.

Efforts to demonize the man, to oversimplify the situation, to equate anti-Bonds sentiment with a committment to truth and honesty and above all, intelligence; aggravate and inflame my own belief in the complexity of life in this day and age.

Things are never as simple as we are asked to believe. It is an important issue, this use of PED’s. It is also a complicated one, and one that is here to stay. Simply making it against the rules of baseball, (or any other sport, for that matter), will hardly change the allure, the effectiveness, or the demand for their use. Legislating against drugs has never worked, and never will.

Declaring that Bonds should be suspended or banned from baseball is absurd. Even if you accept at face value the proposition that using steroids is cheating, Bonds was hardly alone in doing so. Again, these contant attacks against him appear to me to be singling out a man who is known to be one of the legendary assholes in the history of sport, a sort of Uber-Ted Williams. Were Bonds a lovable, Kirby Puckett-type of player, I hardly imagine he would be the subject of such vitriol.

Be that as it may, he is nonetheless a lightning rod for the issue, he built this house, now he has to live in it.

But the great outpouring of anger at Bonds is poorly thought out…. if you’re really offended by the use of PED’s, it’s the last forty years of baseball that deserve your scrutiny and rage, as we all know by now, amphetamine use has been rampant in the game since the sixties, (so don’t sit here and cry to me about the beauty of ken Burns’ documentary, as if baseball is dead because of Bonds).

Deciding that steroids or HGH are different, or that because Bonds is a jerk, he is more deserving of your scorn; is the real shallow bluster. Looking at the issue with a broader perspective, one might come to the realization that it is the state of America’s War on Drugs that has us where we are today. An enlightened society would have been running well-organized studies to determine the real efficacy and risks involved in the use of PED’s for decades, and we wouldn’t be sitting here screaming about how bad they are while watching known abusers enjoy acclaim, health and reward.

I can remember being told in health class how dangerous it was to smoke pot. Anybody still believe that? Jose Canseco, the Govenator, and countless others who’ve used and abused steroids appear to me to be the very picture of health, (watching Bill Maher interview Canseco last year, it seemed that Jose was an alien, he was glowing sitting there next to Maher). Some people have adverse side-effects using steroids? Some people have adverse side effects taking aspirin, or eating McDonalds.

That’s life. Some things are really bad for you, and really good for me. Legislating one and not the other is hypocrisy at best. I disagree with that kind of thinking, so stop coming here and telling me to wake up and smell the coffee. I’m already drinking it.

UPDATE: …. Another thing I find interesting is the number of baseball people coming out in support of Bonds, including men who don’t know him or have any real rooting interest. Here’s Ozzie Guillen:

I think it will be great for baseball. I think he’s the greatest hitter ever. … I worry about baseball, and this kid brings baseball back, McGwire and Sammy and all these guys. People hated baseball then, after the strike. A lot of people will be mad when he breaks the record, but I hope he does.

Mike Schmidt, Jason Schmidt, Derek Jeter, Joe Torre, even Padres manager Bruce Bochy (who could hardly hate Bonds more), all of these men and more have had positive things to say about Bonds and the home run record, and many of them dismiss the steroid accusations out of hand. Why is that? I mean, it’s a story when some jackoff like Turk Wendell goes after Bonds, but there’s an almost endless stream of comments by active players, managers and general managers who seem to have a much more measured and thoughtful opinion on the subject.

Could it be that those involved in the game every day realize the hypocrisy involved in telling a player that they must not use steroids because of the health risks for them and anyone who might emulate them; while using and discarding tens of thousands of young athletes every year? Anybody wonder what Lupica thinks about the hundreds of young men who sell their souls in an effort to make the majors and are betrayed by agents, teams, general managers; asked to play through pain, leave loved ones behind, risk their lives, their health, their dreams to make an investment worthwhile for a team….

What about the role models these players are? What about the role models these GM’s are, or these teams? But no, let’s get Bonds. He’s the one guy whose failings mean the most. Let’s get him. Lack of perspective, perchance?

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All commentary is the opinion of John J Perricone unless otherwise noted.
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