…. Bullshit

I’m gonna go ahead and link to this Lupica piece, because it’s just too fucked up to ignore.

Ask yourself a question now that he has the record: If Fainaru-Wada and Williams made it all up, if they have told all these terrible and slanderous lies about Barry Bonds, why hasn’t he sued them all the way into that famous McCovey Cove out beyond the ballpark he practically built for the Giants himself in San Francisco?

OK, I’ll play along.

Ask yourself this, Mike; if Bonds is the one who is lying, who lied, why haven’t the feds indicted him? If the evidence that Wada and Williams have is so rock solid, so persuasive, why have they now gone into their fourth year with a grand jury with no indictment?

I mean, it’s not like these writers had any ulterior motives to putting baseball’s reigning four-time MVP on the cover of their book, right?

Ask yourself why his trainer would spend month after month in a jail cell if he has nothing to hide.

That’s a straw man, there, Little Mike. Anderson already testified, and was given immunity –and the promise of being freed from having to testify again– and he already said what he had to say about Bonds.

Now, the Attorney General’s office wants him to come back and do it again. I think it’s pretty reasonable for him to assume that if he talks again, he’s screwed, don’t you? The government’s done nothing but lie to him from day one, why should he have to go through it again? He already talked –remember– got indicted, convicted, sentenced, and now he’s out. And now, after all the cooperating he did, and all the promises that he made and came through on, he’s being held in contempt for not giving more.

Bonds was always going to hit a lot of home runs, for a long time, because he is one of the great talents to come along in 50 years in baseball. He was never going to pass Aaron without help. Two-hundred-ninety-two home runs in his first 10 years, 756 now. Go figure.

Another straw man, Tiny Elvis. The entire world of sabermetrics has looked and looked, and has found that, in particular, Bonds, McGwire and Sosa did what they did due to many different factors, including smaller ballparks, better weight training, expansion, harder baseball’s, and better bats, to name a few. You’re ignoring something that you absolutely should –and almost certainly do– know.

Hank Aaron would never have passed Ruth without help, either. It was amphetamines or the move to Atlanta, or expansion, or the Mets, or the changes made to the baseball mounds, or all of it; but Aaron was no lock to break Ruth’s record at the age of 35, either. Without the help he got, he would have had little chance to finish with many more home runs than, say, Wille Mays. You want to talk about the 292 home runs Bonds hit in his first ten years, let’s look at Hank.

Hank Aaron had 342 home runs after his first ten seasons. How is that some kind of big difference, Mike?

Then, in 1964 (age 30) and ’65 (31), Aaron saw his home run totals drop to 24 and 32, respectively. This was the beginning of the decline phase of his career, and, lucky for him, the team moved to Atlanta. Over the next eight seasons, Aaron hit 315 home runs, a jump from 34 a season to 40, just when his power numbers should have begun to go down. Had he not moved to the Launching Pad, there’s little doubt that he would been out of baseball a lot sooner, and he would not have had the chance to pass Ruth. His home/away splits show that he had more home runs on the road than at home in all but two of his last ten seasons. In 1971, Aaron had 31 home runs at home and 16 on the road. In ’70, it was 23/15. In ’67, it was 26/13.

Bonds has had similar luck. During the decline phase of his career, as he entered his 30′s, the entire league saw a huge jump in offense. I’ve written about this dozens of times, but it bears repeating in the face of this withering media storm of hypocrisy and misinformation:

Bonds peak in offensive production –and McGwire’s and Sosa’s and Palmeiro’s– came during a spectacular surge in offense across the board.

As (Bonds) entered into his thirties, the entire league was entering into a huge upswing in offense. He’s led the NL in home runs twice, once with 46 (1993), once with 73 (2001). Almost exactly at the mid-point of his career, the league baseline for offense surged some 30%. You can look it up. Here’s the league and Barry from 1988, his first full season:

2003 NL 2708 HR .262/.327/.417 ATL 235 (Barry 45) % of top team 19%
2002 NL 2595 HR .259/.327/.410 Cubs 200 (Barry 46) % of top team 23%
2001 NL 2952 HR .261/.327/.425 COL 213 (Barry 73) % of top team 34%
2000 NL 3005 HR .266/.338/.432 HOU 249 (Barry 49) % of top team 19%
1999 NL 2893 HR .268/.340/.429 COL 223 (Barry 34) % of top team 15%
1998 NL 2565 HR .262/.328/.410 STL 223 (Barry 37) % of top team 16%
1997 NL 2163 HR .263/.339/.410 COL 239 (Barry 40) % of top team 16%
1996 NL 2220 HR .262/.327/.408 COL 221 (Barry 42) % of top team 19%
1995 NL 1917 HR .263/.328/.408 COL 200 (Barry 33) % of top team 17%
1993 NL 1956 HR .264/.325/.399 ATL 169 (Barry 46) % of top team 27%
1992 NL 1262 HR .252/.314/.368 Pads 135 (Barry 34) % of top team 25%
1991 NL 1430 HR .250/.316/.373 Reds 164 (Barry 25) % of top team 15%
1990 NL 1521 HR .256/.321/.383 Mets 172 (Barry 33) % of top team 19%
1989 NL 1365 HR .246/.312/.365 Mets 147 (Barry 19) % of top team 13%
1988 NL 1279 HR .248/.309/.363 Mets 152 (Barry 24) % of top team 19%
1987 NL 1824 HR .261/.327/.404 Cubs 209 (Barry 25) % of top team 12%

In 1994 Barry turned 30 years old during the strike shortened season (which I excluded). Broke into two blocks, we can view his career from the 8 full seasons before the 2000 total home run barrier was broken, and the 8 full seasons after the 2000 total home run barrier was broken. Thus, Skip (Bayless’s) sentence would read something like this, “In his eight full seasons prior to 1996, Bonds averaged 30 home runs a year. In the eight full seasons after 1996, Bonds averaged 45 home runs a year.”

And the upswing in offense was througout the entire league, not just the stars, not just home runs, everything went up and stayed up. To call this era the steroids era is an astonishing over-simplification, or, more accurately, a provable misrepresentation, a ploy by the media outlets to generate controversy and money. A tiny percentage of players have tested positive, Bonds not among them, but now drug testing is discounted, because it doesn’t fit the story.

Ask yourself this, Mike; if the Wada and Williams book was so full of facts and is so dead on, why hasn’t Selig suspended or banned Bonds? There is no doubt that Selig has had the power on “best interests of the game” grounds. The fact that he has not done so, even as Bonds chased and finally caught Selig’s “friend” Aaron, says volumes about the verifiable nature of many of the books claims, and the interminable “investigation” that is based on the same heaping pile of supposition, innuendo, and bullshit.

I’m not saying he didn’t, and I’m not agreeing that he did. I don’t know, nobody but he and his trainer really do, but nobudy, nobody has nearly enough facts to treat him as poorly as the major media outlets have. Add in their –and the commissioner’s– continued bad-mouthing of baseball and it’s players, and you’ve got a lot of hot air, and not much in the way of facts.

I wrote this four years ago, and I think it still holds true:

I just want to illuminate the discussion. The drum beat that Bonds alone is somehow defying physics is part of the reason so many people are willing to accept that because Dan Patrick believes he is using steroids, it must be true. But it isn’t Bonds alone. Yes, he’s breaking all the old records. But if the game conditions hadn’t changed so dramatically, he wouldn’t be. He’d still be the best player in the game, he’d still be making a run at Aaron, he just wouldn’t be wreaking havoc on the entire baseball encyclopedia. That doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy his assault on the record books, and it doesn’t mean his accomplishments are lessened. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s just something to learn from the statistical record. In a way, it’s just a fact of baseball life.

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