Thursday, May 11, 2006


Bonds reading the sign

That eloquent triptych stretched more than 60 feet along the front row of the left-field seats behind Bonds as he took his place in the field on Sunday night. It is right and fair and necessary to question Bonds. You can say likewise about McGwire and Sosa and Palmeiro and Canseco and their ilk, but they are not passing the Babe and taking dead aim at Hammerin' Hank, which, more than his personality, puts Bonds dead in the crosshairs of such widespread public condemnation. Imagine a highway patrol officer manning a radar gun as car after car zooms past him at more than the 55 mph posted limit, some if only by a handful of miles per hour. And in that traffic is one red Ferrari zipping along at 100 mph. Who is getting pulled over?

The signs, including that one in the left-field seats, were so prevalent in Philadelphia last weekend that Barry Bonds' pursuit of the greatest record in sports has become embarrassing and awkward for baseball. Bonds can have his home runs, his "wiping out" of Babe Ruth, as he promised five years ago, and even The Big One -- the record Hank Aaron has held with 755 career home runs -- but real legitimacy and honor never shall be his. So what then would he really have? The mocking of Bonds and his ill-gotten home run total was so savage I wonder if any such great and accomplished athlete was treated so harshly in his twilight.

In the hallowed company of Ruth and Aaron, Bonds is treated as the punchline to a joke, like the sign in left field that read, "For Sale: Life-Sized Bobblehead. See Leftfield." Or the one in the upper deck with an enormous asterisk-marked head drawn over a small body that read, "Life Size. Shrink This." Or the faux Giants jerseys that say "Cheater" on the front and "Juiced" arched over a No. 25 on the back. Or the people dressed in giant cardboard juice boxes marked "100% Roids." Or the "Got Juice?'' signs. Or the skinny guy with the T-shirt that said "Barry With Pirates" while his buddy, dressed in an inflatable sumo costume, wore one that said "Barry With San Fran." Or the sign that simply said, "Fraud*.' On and on it goes, the majesty of history trumped by lowbrow humor.

Steve Howe took the cocaine association to his grave. Pete Rose will do the same with gambling. Bonds will do the same with steroids.

Check out the article at Sports Illustrated.

What can you say? I feel bad for the man, but as they say: "You do the crime, you do the time!" Roids are bad for you, man... and your baseball career, too!


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