There is a new home run king in major league baseball. On Tuesday evening Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants smashed his way into the history books by breaking the record for most career home runs.
Anyone who even minimally pays attention to the sports world knows that Barry is in the midst of an ongoing investigation into his alleged steroid use. Some have already judged him guilty even though the man has never failed a test. I have a lot of thoughts on the issue, and its complicated no doubt. I don’t justify steroid use. However, I have to be honest in that I think pro baseball, like many pro sports in America, is a damn circus right now. They say the majority of players in the league are or have been on steroids at some point. Furthermore, they get encouraged to do so by management. And of course, home runs sell tickets, so pressure comes from owners as well I’m sure.
Again, I am not trying to justify steroid use. However, I think the “controversy” surrounding Barry Bonds has less to do with the evils of steroids and more to do with Barry Bonds the man. I remember how he was once asked if he would play in Boston if traded there. “Hell no,” he said, “too racist.” He has never been friendly to the media, and I don’t blame him. When he does choose to use the podium, he is never afraid to say exactly what is on his mind. He brings up race and the politics of race very openly, among other subjects. He makes people uncomfortable in the right way.
Bottom line, the guy is one of the greatest of all time. Congratulations, Barry, you’ve always put on one hell of a show. Here’s to many more years to come.
Of course my man Dave Zirin wrote a great article on Barry in today’s SF Chronicle. Check it out here.
Also, DK Wilson has posted a great article on ESPN and Bob Costas’ continued Barry Hating. Check it out here. Fuck ESPN and Bob Costas.