Waldlaw Blog

Monday, May 29, 2006

Having A Baseball Moment

Okay, I know it's off topic -- and I know it's not a popular point of view right now. But I have to take a moment to say CONGRATULATIONS to Barry Bonds. First of all, I have to admit that I'm a pretty die-hard baseball fan. If you don't care at all about baseball, you might want to stop reading now.... I have had the privilege of going to my fair share of Giants games over the past 5 years. I have had the good luck to be present for many of their finest moments. I have gotten to watch Barry make history in person several times -- although I wasn't at yesterday's game. And I have gotten to share many of these exuberant moments with my partner and children, which has made them even more special. I know about the steroids scandal. I know that Barry probably used steroids for some period along the way. I know he has been less than truthful about the whole thing. I also know that the exact same thing can be said for many, many other players in the game. Not just the sluggers, either. I asked my older son, who is in his 4th season of Little League baseball and knows a lot about the sport of baseball, the following question: If the sluggers are now off steroids -- which everyone agrees they are -- then why are there MORE home runs being hit this season than in past seasons?? His immediate answer: because the pitchers are off steroids too! And try as I might to think of a better answer, I think he's probably hit the nail on the head. I do not approve of steroid use in baseball, or any other sport. I hate the fact that our professional sports culture has glorified "success" over playing the game fairly and honestly. I believe that the trickle-down effects of steroid use at the Major League level -- if not dealt with in a meaningful and effective way -- will mean that younger and younger players, down to the high school level, will find themselves looking to performance-enhancing drugs as they compete for scholarships and other opportunities to distinguish themselves in their sport. I am not condoning any of this. But I also believe that Barry is being unfairly singled out for disparagement, when steroid use seems to have permeated the sport of baseball for a bunch of years without anyone taking it all that seriously. Let's stop it now. Let's make rules that assure that the people who succeed do it by whatever combination of luck, talent and hard work gets them there -- without the assistance of the latest designer drugs. But let's also admit that Barry Bonds is a baseball phenomenon unlike any other player of his time, and honor his accomplishments within the historical context in which he has played the game. Steroids? Maybe. But having seen that man play baseball for years, I maintain that he is an amazing athlete in his own right, and he deserves to be recognized as such. There, I said it. Now back to the usual business of waldlaw....


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