Public opinion these days seems to be swaying towards an acceptance of steroid use in baseball. People are not asking so much about if it is being done, but rather how can you actually prove it. There is very little debate over the consequences of being found out, this is a sport where statistics are king. For the baseball enthusiasts, numbers like 500, 30-30, 50-50,.300,.400 need no additional information. We all know what they mean, and their significance is based on the premise of fair play. Barry Bonds, the media’s favourite whipping boy, is at the center of this controversy, even if the recent hearing on this matter excluded him. Barry Bonds has not only broken McGuire’s single season record, but he is about 1 juiced season away from becoming the all-time leader. There were allegations and positive tests before, in newspapers and on television, but these rumours turned into air after a few days since it was not considered cool to go after Sosa and McGuire during their historic Maris-breaking single season event.
McGuire himself is in the best position. He was only caught taking Andro, a substance that was banned after the fact. He has been out of baseball now for a few years, and there is virtually no way to do any kind of testing that would conclusively prove he was juiced during his Hall of Fame making seasons. Voters who choose not to select into the Hall of Fame will be doing so simply out of principal. In fact, if McGuire was part of an ethnic minority, he could easily gain instance entrance if he publicized the fact that the bias would be based on race. Bonds pulls the race card on a daily basis, not caring that his personality makes him hated by people of all colors. To me, there have been some really sad events that have happened as a result of all this:
•Politicians using the scandal to get their faces on the camera so that they can spout written speeches about the state of the game, and even more useless, asking the players ridiculous questions that they are in no position to answer
•Jose Canseco reversing position on his position on steroids in athletics, when he was caught advising a parent on how and when to use them doing on of his book signing tours.
•Politicians blasting Canseco when they used the popularity of his book to get a hearing to discuss the issues he resurfaced.
•Curt Schilling throwing curveballs himself, as he changes positions before, during and again after the hearings.
•People who actually believe that an organisation like MLB, led by a man like Bud Selig, cares enough about the integrity of the game, and the quality of health of not enough his players, but society as a whole, that he would seriously admit he was late in reacting to a reasonable threat of steroid use in the game, and would take appropriate corrective measures.
All MLB players, including Barry Bonds, have the right to be innocent until proven guilty, and should only be judged by the guidelines set by the sport at that time. While taking certain performance enhancing drugs in illegal, there are still natural supplements used by players to get an edge over the competition. Until either Baseball gets serious about it’s testing policy, or a player is caught, players need to be given the benefit of the doubt and accorded all the privileges and awards that he is deserving of. Maybe Bonds is taking time off now, not only to heal from his injuries, but to avoid any testing the new policy would make his submit to. Who knows? But at his age, if he does not come back soon, and steroid free, he will never be the Home Run King and that would be punishment enough for him, given the circumstances
About the Author
Gary Whittaker is the editor of http://www.tenwebzine.com, a webzine with balls!