Bonds is Home Run Champ (for now)

Posted by Dave Nichols | Monday, August 06, 2007 | 0 comments »

Well, he finally did it. Bonds hit number 755 Saturday evening while much of the east coast was either asleep or out at a late movie, such as myself.

How does that make YOU feel? Personally, it makes me sad. Not that an alleged cheater is tied for the most beloved record in all of sport. Only Barry knows what he did, and he's the one that was to live with that. If he's clean or dirty, it's all on him.

What's sad to me is that there are probably hundreds of other players that have taken performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) in the hope of becoming the next Barry Bonds only to not succeed. And it's also sad that there are so many that wish it never happened, or won't acknowledge that it did.

Let's start by looking at the guys who have been caught so far under the MLB testing policy.

Rafael Palmeiro: He is clearly the most prolific of the players suspended for PEDs. He enjoyed a long and prosperous career. He posted 3000+ hits and 500+ home runs, one of only four players in history to do so, certain Hall of Fame numbers. He tested positive for a PED in the final year of his career, just weeks before gathering his 3000th hit. According to reports, the amount of stanozolol in his system when tested was just a trace. It should be noted that all of his previous tests were negative, and a test he took just three weeks after his positive test was also negative. Regardless, he remains the only All-Star player to test positive under MLB's steroids testing policy. Is this the type of player they wanted to catch? A multiple All-Star and future Hall of Famer? It would still not surprise me to learn there's more to this story that we simply haven't heard yet.

Alex Sanchez, Matt Lawton, Michael Morse and Jorge Piedra: Lawton was an All-Star twice in his 12 year career. Sanchez played with four team in five seasons, despite stealing 122 bases in those five years. Morse has played 93 games spread over two seasons and Piedra 142 games over three seasons. Morse and Piedra are AAAA players, jsut the type someone would theorize would benefit most from PEDs. They have talent enough to succeed in the minors, but not quite in the bigs. Unfortunately, the extra "effort" they took will cost them that opportunity, neither have an at bat in the bigs in 2007.

Juan Rincon, Rafael Betancourt, Ryan Franklin, Felix Heredia and Yusaku Iriki: Notice something similar about all these pitchers? They're all middle relievers, those guys on the fringe who didn't make it as starters and don't have that special thing that could make them closers. Again, if you think about it, exactly the type of guy that PEDs might be an attractive solution for. Heredia and Iriki aren't in the bigs, but Rincon, Betancourt and Franklin are all enjoying success this season after serving their time.

We all know Barry Bonds did steroids. We all know Gary Sheffield did them too. So did Jason and Jeremy Giambi. Jose Canseco. Ken Caminiti. Even Wally Joyner, who in July was hired to be San Diego's hitting coach. And lots of others. What bothers me, I guess, is some folks decrying the stats of these players, demanding asterisks and wiping out record books, etc., like they never happened. Well, they did happen. Bonds hit his homers against lefties and righties, all types of ethnicities, curveballs and screwballs, drunks and god-guys, spitballers and doctors, and steroids users and non-steroids users. Hit them all. Nobody has to like it. But it has to be acknowledged. He wasn't the only one cheating out there. A simple look at the list says as many pitchers have tested positive as hitters. That's all the evidence we have, and it's enough for me.