When you’re discussing the career of Bonds, there are three directions you can go, all with valid points and counterpoints about his alleged steroid use. Here are the arguments for and against each of those situations.
Bonds has never knowingly taken steroids: OK, so this point is probably the most ridiculous of the three possibilities. Bonds told the grand jury that he did take the “clear” and the “cream,” but that he had no idea they were illegal. I find it hard to believe that he didn’t know exactly what he was taking, but it’s still a possibility. If you believe Bonds, then your argument should focus on his home run totals. Bonds, in his second year in the Major Leagues, hit 25 home runs. In his third, he hit 24. Throughout his career, the number of home runs Bonds has hit has generally increased with each year, but there is little variance from year to year. I’m not a baseball statistician (although I’d love to be), but that seems like a rather normal progression for a baseball player, especially a baseball player who won three MVPs in his first eight seasons. Additionally, Bonds’ hero is Willie Mays. Do you think Bonds would disgrace his godfather, as well as his father, by using steroids? I’m not so sure.
Bonds took steroids before the 2002 season: This argument has a little more behind it than the previous one, but it’s not completely believable. So let’s say he did use steroids during his 73 home run season. His home run total, batting average, slugging percentage and on-base percentage all went up significantly in that record-breaking season. And while his power numbers went down over the next few seasons, his batting average and OBP kept rising. With opposing pitchers avoiding his strike zone like the plague, it’s no wonder his power numbers went down. Since walks don’t affect batting average, and like I said before, steroids don’t affect hand-eye coordination and ability to see the strike zone, is there another way to explain the rise in batting average besides maturity?
Bonds told the grand jury that he began taking the “cream” and the “clear” before the 2003 season, but if you compare his numbers in 2003-2004 to his 1993 MVP season, there’s really not much difference. I’d write out a statline, but you can check it out yourself.
Bonds has taken steroids his whole career: Surprisingly, when the evidence is presented, this argument makes the most sense, as much as I don’t want to believe it. If Bonds lied to the grand jury and he did knowlingly take steroids, then what would have prevented him from using steroids in the past? During his early MVP seasons-1990, 1992, 1993-there was no steroid testing. Steroids, while illegal, were not really illegal in Major League Baseball-there was no punishment for using them.
ESPN.com had a photo displaying, pictures of Bonds in each year of his career. There’s no doubt he’s gotten bigger since 1986, but who wouldn’t fill out over time? He definitely got bigger at the start of the 21st century, but there was also a big difference from 1986 to 1999 as well.
If you look at only the power numbers and ignore the other offensive stats, then Bonds has always been on track to be one of the greatest home run hitters in baseball history. It’s entirely reasonable to think that steroids transformed Bonds from a great college player and a good major leaguer to the greatest hitter of all time.
Bonds’ name will most likely remain in the record books, but the size of the asterisk will be different in the minds and hearts of each and every fan. We must decide for ourselves how big our own asterisk for Bonds will be.
Football in the future
When school resumes, college football will have crowned one, if not two, national champions, the NFL will have a Super Bowl champion, and the NHL will have lost every one of its fans. Those will be the headlines, but what will the articles themselves say?
As much as I hate to agree with my former Managing Sports Editor, George Doty, I think Oklahoma will roll over USC to win the BCS Championship. Adrian Peterson, Jason White and the rest of the Sooners look invincible. USC, on the other hand, has struggled in big games this season and appears vulnerable.
Oklahoma, on the other hand, has had two bleeps on the radar against Oklahoma State and Texas A&M, but has only allowed six points in their last three games. After Auburn destroys Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl, they will most likely split the National Championship with the Sooners. Although it looks bad to have split national champions the last two years of the BCS, it has done what it is supposed to do: pit the number one and two teams in the country against each other in a bowl game. Sorry, Auburn.
When we return to school after Interterm, the AFC and NFC champions will have just been crowned. Call me biased or loyal, but the Patriots will be the AFC champions. And someone besides the Falcons or the Eagles will be NFC champions. I’m not quite sure who yet, but it won’t be either of those teams. Yes, I did see the Eagles’ throttling of the Packers, a team I have been hyping up, but one game does not a conference champion make.
Could I pick anyone besides the Patriots to win the Super Bowl? Never.