On Barry Bonds: An Open Letter to John Gruber

John, John, John.

I don’t get it. You’ve taken potshots at Barry Bonds twice in two days. Surely as a baseball fan you realize that one can’t “cheat” 756 home runs. Have all these years of winning as a Yankees fan blinded you to the pure joy of success? This old Mets fan is thrilled to witness history and recognize Barry Bonds for the great player he is.

Bonds was a three-time MVP winner before 2001 (when he hit 73 home runs, supposedly on steroids). He’d already hit 494 home runs, including four years of 40 or more home runs (and ten years of 30 or more). He’s been a near-.300 hitter his entire career, something that has nothing to do with power nor something that steroids would help with. And, of course, he is the all-time walks leader. Heck, he managed to hit those 73 home runs in 2001 even with 177 walks.

Do you believe Bonds is taking steroids even today? If not, when do you think he stopped? If you think he’s stopped, do you believe it’s altered his performance negatively? And if you don’t think he’s stopped, do you think he’s a blathering idiot for continuing to do it with this level of scrutiny?

If all Bonds did was hit home runs, without ay depth to his game (cf. Mark Mcguire), I might lend credence to the “it’s the drugs!” camp. But you have to look at the big picture here. The man has been a consistently great hitter.

You can hate Bonds, believe he knowingly took steroids, think he’s the worst thing about baseball, but c’mon, how can you watch his sweet swing and reflect on his entire career and think that’s the result of taking illegal drugs?

Let it go. The man’s done something only two other players in the history of Major League Baseball have ever done: hit seven hundred or more home runs in his career. He has been one of the best hitters in baseball for the 22 years he’s been playing the game.

Ten years from now, when Alex Rodriguez or whomever is breaking Bonds’ record, you’ll marvel at how you’ve witnessed baseball history twice in your lifetime.

Enjoy the moment.



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