Feds drop case against Barry Bonds

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[quote=“jlw, post:1, topic:62279”]I doubt I will ever again see such an amazing athlete take the field.[/quote]Surely the obvious rejoinder is, “Maybe you will if more of them keep taking steroids” ?


Steroids didn’t hit those home runs or steal those bases. They increase muscle mass, not timing. They didn’t refine his form.

That seems specious. If there were large numbers of MLB players taking steroids who were not hitting home runs and stealing bases with increased timing and refined form, that might be a valid statement. But as far as we know, there are not large numbers of MLB players taking steroids, so how can one be sure?

Bonds was crooked and a disgrace, and you obviously never saw Roberto Clemente play.

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I don’t begrudge anyone good memories of their sports heroes on the field. Hell, my #1 baseball idol growing up was… Pete Rose. And he really was a great player, every other damn thing notwithstanding.

But the feds weren’t going after Bonds for no reason. He’s not some guy caught with a baggie of pot at a national park and transformed into a drug kingpin through the magic of prosecutorial imagination. Instead, he was trying to use the investigation to salvage his public image. He could have told investigators the truth, or he could have invoked his right to remain silent.

You can cooperate with law enforcement, or you can tell them to go screw. But there are good reasons it’s illegal to blow smoke in their eyes, even if it’s not really them you’re trying to fool.

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First baseball game I ever went to.

Bonds was rubbish that day. So were all the other Giants.

Nice ballpark though. And the weather was lovely.

ETA: I remembered I took a photo.

That seems like a naive assumption based on everything I’ve read. As far as I can tell, most pro players are using some kind of performance enhancers these days—some are just better at not getting caught. So Bonds still deserves a lot of credit for his accomplishments because he was competing against other talented professional athletes who were taking steroids.

The things that bother me most are:

  1. Steroids are now so deeply ingrained in professional sports that I don’t see a realistic means of getting them out
  2. It’s hard to compare the accomplishments of today’s top players with the record setters of yore (i.e. Babe Ruth didn’t have access to steroids)

Ah. The Lance Armstrong defence.


Steroids didn’t give him the hits. Those require timing (and a fair amount of strategy). They did turn the hits into home runs. And probably he would have had a great deal more hits if he’d focused on that instead of trying to send them all out of the park.

Where I give Bonds a bit of a pass is that he was clearly responding to Mark McGuire, the good old-fashioned clean cut corn-fed homespun hero athlete that the press loved so much…who was, of course, juicing. And not much of a ball player outside of that (unlike Bonds). And we won’t even get into Sammy Sosa, who was juicing and using corked bats.

They’re all forgiven/forgotten, of course. And McGuire is batting coach for the Dodgers! I can only imagine what his “tips” are.

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IMHO the part that makes Lance Armstrong a huge asshole isn’t that he took steroids. It’s that he tried to destroy anyone who made public allegations about his steroid use. Armstrong sued others for libel for publishing information that he indisputably knew to be true.


I have been a huge baseball fan all of my life and I cannot agree. Barry Bonds was enormously talented, as were McGuire and many others who took the steroid route. But his numbers and records will always have an asterisk behind them to distinguish them from untainted ones.

As we all know, not being convicted of cheating is not the same as not cheating. Gaining a chemically aided edge may get you the big bucks, but in a game judged by statistics, your results will always be suspect and rightly so. If you can’t compete on a level playing field without hiding your “chemical enhancements”, you don’t deserve to have the accolades of those who have done it unaided.


TOTAL asshole move. I wonder, is that a tort in and of itself? Could he be/was he sued for filing those suits when the truth came out?

I’d think it would be, but then I know that a lot of bedrock legal principles are often counterintuitive.

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Frivolous lawsuits and a waste of the courts time are punishable, I think.

Yours is an oft stated point, as is mine. There was never a “pure” time in baseball:

  1. Every Hall of Famer before integration should have an asterisk next to their records. There may have been better players in the ‘negro leagues’
  2. Players in the 60s and 70s were verrrry well known to be taking speed and every other substance you can think of to attain an edge. Doc Ellis is a perfect example. Watch the doc about him, he tells all about it. He even pitched a no-hitter on LSD !
  3. Steroid use was SO widespread in the so-called steroid era, it is often a subject of lampooning, like this Onion article. http://www.theonion.com/article/turns-out-craig-counsell-was-actually-best-basebal-6581.

Bonds’ stolen bases decreased DRAMATICALLY after he allegedly started taking steroids (which was after the 1998 season, I think?). The thing is, he was an amazing player before he started juicing, he would easily (IMO) have been a hall of famer had he stayed drug free.

The problem I have with athletes using PEDs is not that they use them - hell, when they use them it makes the game WAY more interesting. It’s that if you don’t have EVERYBODY using them, there’s an unfair advantage. And it encourages young players to use them “just to keep up”, or whatever, with the associated health risks.


Nobody seriously disputes that Bonds was a great baseball player and almost certainly a Hall of Famer without steroids. But there is just no way a guy whose highest single-season home run total in his prime was 46 suddenly mashes 73 when he’s on the downslope of his career without some assistance.

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You are quite right about integration. But if you know the game you know that the asterisk which defines the game before integration is well known and acknowledged. There was never a totally pure time in any sport. The issue here to me is, did taking speed alter the muscle mass of anyone? Or totally increase their weight? Did others adopt LSD to help their performance? Not likely.

Steroids and the like changed bodies. It turned the most avid juicers into ridiculous looking hulks. McGuire is a prime example, as is Bonds, but there were many others in that period who enhanced their stats, but did not achieve the same level as Bonds and McGuire or ARod. Look at before and after pictures of Darren Dalton or Lenny Dykstra. And there are plenty more.

I don’t fault them for seeking an edge, and I admire their accomplishments, but they should not be judged in the same way as those who built their strength through weight training.

I read the entire report when it came out and, in my opinion, Armstrong is lucky he’s not in jail. It goes beyond the bad faith lawsuits. The only reason it stopped where it did is because UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) and ASO (Amaury Sport Organisation) wanted him dethroned and forgotten as soon as humanly possible and, in my further, mostly unsubstantiated, opinion, some UCI officials and ASO execs knew exactly what was going on. But Lance was a moneymaker for them as well.

The whole thing sucked, because it wasn’t just Armstrong - most of the peloton was demonstrably corrupt for a decade or more, well beyond the podium placers - giving the 2005 yellow jersey to an unsullied rider would’ve taken it down to 23rd place, and other years aren’t much better.

I used to watch the Tour de France every year, plus a couple of the other tours…this year, for the first time, I wasn’t even aware it was on until stage 12. Kind of made me sad to realize how little I cared anymore.

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Some of my favourite sports people have juiced and whilst I still think of them fondly, there’s always an ethereal asterisk hovering next to their name when I do.

Doc Ellis is obviously a clear example that psychedelics bestow mental super-powers upon the user but maybe they’re not strictly giving you an unfair performance boost like steroids do. The skill you are applying is always ‘your’ skill. Strength and stamina can be ill gotten and unfair, the skill you develop always comes from the structure of your mind.

But maybe the ability to concentrate more intensely on that skill is where the unfairness creeps in anyway.
Does that mean nootropics should be illegal too? Foods that promote good brain health and function?

Whatever the situation Bonds cheated and he knew it. As long as every one else knows it, sports-discussers can have a balanced conversation about what he achieved. Which appears to be one of the more popular features of ‘sports’.