easing up on the barry bonds hating

maybe i’m getting more forgiving as time goes by.

or more lax.

anyway, i’ve been a barry bonds hater for quite some time. to save you clicking through, here’s a relevant bit of what i said:

if he plays and passes hank aaron, and baseball honors the record, that’s it for me and baseball. seriously. one of the few things that keep baseball sacred is the years and years of impeccable apples-to-apples stats. and to honor a steroid-laden asswipe’s breaking of a record that important would dishonor hank aaron’s real accomplishment, and i won’t stand for it.

i’m taking that back. with barry bonds approaching the record, i’ve been doing some thinking. here’s where i am now.

performance-enhancing drugs have been a part of baseball for decades. what do you think amphetamines are? baseball players have been popping speed forever. and no one disputes the records set while players used them.

if you throw out records tainted by steroids, then an appropriate extension of that logic would suggest that you should throw out records from, say the forties on. all those records are tainted too, you know. did hank aaron pop bennies? you’ll never know, and of course at this point he’d never admit it. but if you investigate bonds and throw out his record, then you open a can of worms. should you then investigate hank aaron and throw out his record as well? where does it logically stop? did babe ruth cork his bat?

and how exactly did steroids help bonds? maybe he recovered a bit more quickly from injuries. maybe the strength he gained gave him a few more feet on some home run hits. how many home runs did that add to his total? impossible to quantify, but given that there are so many intangibles in the ability to hit a home run, lets say for arguments sake that the extra time and extra few feet gave him 20 more home runs.

big deal. all that means is that he’d be a bit farther away from the record. he’d still hang around long enough to break it.

and i’ve also come to believe that bonds is the poster boy for an activity in which scores of baseball players participated, but few got caught.

finally, as a mets fan i’ve largely ignored the return of guillermo mota, the mets pitcher suspended for steroid use last season. and, given his dismal performance this year, i don’t think the steroids did him much good.

in the end, i think that talent, coordination, concentration, experience, and willpower are probably far more important to someone’s ability to be a major league baseball player than a few performance-enhancing drugs here and there. you can give me all the steroids you want, and the chances of me hitting a home run in a major league park are up there with those proverbial monkeys trying into infinity to type shakespeare.

am i glad that steroids, speed, and the rest are gone from baseball? you bet. and i look forward to an old age where players who began their careers under the ban break all the records, establishing indisputable legitimacy.

ryan howard’s 800th home run will be a big celebration for me.

in the meantime, let’s let bygones be bygones. let’s not be hypocrites. and let’s not be haters.

let barry bonds have his moment. he deserves it.