Friday, November 16, 2007

The indictment of Barry Balco

We all suspected he was lying-we just knew that the home run record wasn't real, it just seemed too good to be true. It never quite made sense that he could hit 12 more homers than Roger Maris in a single season and obliterate the most hallowed record in the game-755 career home runs-in such a way that it was as though it were a proverbial rag doll. He said he didn't know they were steroids-flax seed oil, that's what he said they told him.

Few people outside of anything-goes San Francisco bought his story. While he was busy erasing Hank Aaron from the top of the baseball record books, a federal Grand Jury was busy trying to decide if there was enough merit to the case against him to indict him on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice-over lying about his knowledge of the lab that gave him the steroids and what the steroids were.

The Grand Jury apparently didn't buy his story either.

Now that Barry Bonds has been indicted, baseball fans the world over are forced to again wrestle with the painful question-not the legitimacy of his home run record (we know it is not legitimate), but whether Major League Baseball can or should make the record officially bogus by putting an asterisk next to it if Bonds is found guilty. There is a big part of me that wants to say "yes." As much as I would like to erase the record, that seems to be impossible since not every Barry Bonds homer was steroid-induced, but the asterisk would at least signal to future generations that something is not quite right about Bonds' career numbers.

What one hopes really happens is that Major League Baseball will learn from this experience and adopt a real steroid policy that involves real, frequent, and random tests. Younger players want the tests, especially those determined to play by the rules. The Major League Baseball Players' Association has done everything in its power to prevent this from happening, and when that is considered, it really makes the fan wonder what veteran players are trying to hide.

If there is one consolation it is that if Barry Bonds is found guilty, it is almost certain he will never see the Hall of Fame.



At Sunday, November 18, 2007 12:51:00 PM, Blogger Bill said...

We'll never know how many of Bonds' home runs were hit with or without steroid assistance. One thing I am sure of, however, Hank Aaron earned all of his 755 home runs.


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