Sunday, February 19, 2006

Bonds

So Barry Bonds has said that 2006 will be his last season in baseball. Bonds will be 42 in July and is in the last year of his contract, so in a way this is much ado about nothing. There is a very strong presumption that a 42 year old free agent is going to hang it up, so this big declaration doesn't mean all that much to me.

Why else should we be careful making a big deal out of this retirement announcement? How about this quote from Bonds himself: "If I can play [in 2007], I'm going to play; if I can't I won't. If my knee holds up, I'll keep on going." Ah. So Barry will retire, unelss he doesn't. STRONG WORDS there Barry, you sure are making clear that you really, really, actually mean that you'll retire, really, honestly.

I certainly hope Bonds retires. Most of us don't want him breaking Aaron's record, and if he doesn't play past 2006 he probably can't break it. This would be great. Bad enough this guy already won 29 MVP awards.

But man, can Bonds shut up. You want to play? Play. You don't want to play? Don't play. I would love a good explanation of how this guy makes baseball more compelling. I've never seen it. I don't think he's interesting, he's just a pain in the ass. He lost his 40-40 ability years ago. His homers aren't tape measure shots. His record on base percentages are inflated by intentional walks that I've never been sure had any decent justification. He's not a gold glove defender. I have never been compelled to go to a game to see Barry Bonds play. The fact that he's a presumed steroid user who has no clue how to deal with the fans doesn't help. Maybe I'm in the minory, but I'm sure I'm not alone.

Gene Wojciechowski at ESPN and Ken Rosenthal at Fox Sports have articles that basically tell Bonds to just do us all a favor and retire now. They've put more work into their articles than I would into this blog, and I'll allow their words to speak for me more extensively. I think they both did good work. Check them out if you have the chance.

As for Bonds and the hall of fame, I'm skeptical of this as much of a "retirement" announcement, so I don't think we need to discuss Bonds' hall of fame credentials any more today than we did two weeks ago or will four months from now. But my stance remains the same as it does with Sosa and others. If your numbers put you in, you're in. You want to keep a guy out of the hall with 700 homers, 500 steals, nearly 3,000 hits, nearly 2,000 rbi, 7 MVPs, and 8 gold gloves when he has never tested positive on a drug test? Please. Yes, it bothers me too. But I do take solace in knowing that Bonds actually was a great player even before his head grew 550% and probably would have had hall of fame credentials no matter what. I suggest those of you who want him out of Cooperstown do the same. Because as of now, he's going in, pretty much case closed.

Ok Adam, I now open the floor to your stock steroids rant about how all these guys should have their stats deleted from the record books, etc.

2 Comments:

Blogger Adam said...

Eric, I want to respond to your comment “You want to keep a guy out of the hall… when he has never tested positive on a drug test? Please.”

Where I think you’re wrong is in insisting that we need a positive drug test to be convinced he took steroids. Murderers are sent to life in prison all the time based on strong circumstantial cases (so says Law & Order). For that matter, doctors diagnose diseases routinely through circumstantial evidence. I don’t have the time right now to go through the million indications that he’s taken steroids. But…

- When a 40-year old man’s head grows several sizes
- When his statistics mysteriously jump – significantly – at age 35
- When he is the only person who is able to reach McCovey Cove
- When he suffers a mysterious injury that he won’t see his team doctors about, keeping him out for a year
- When his personal trainer is indicted for distributing designer, undetectable steroids
- When he personally has admitted to (mistakenly, he says) using steroids
- When he, at a time not proximate to the above “accidental” and presumably short term usage, recommended to other players that they use the same products and indicated that he was doing the same.

…Then, absent an alibi, there is enough evidence to convict.

If I were a Hall of Fame voter, I’d look at his stats (and maybe his pictures) and try to figure out where the big, unexplained jump was. Then I’d cut off all his stats past that point, and see if I still think he belongs in the Hall. And I will err on the side of being careful not to allow tainted stats in. Then I’d penalize him for screwing up the historical comparison-element for the fans.

Hall of Fame voters are entitled to reach their own conclusions – and they should.

11:51 AM  
Blogger If I Ran The World said...

Bonds was a hall of famer before he hit 73 home runs, those numbers just put him in the stratosphere, well, they would have

3:09 PM  

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