Peace through victory - the American way.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Wishful Thinking Won't Resolve The Barry Bonds Situation.

San Diego Union-Tribune columnist Nick Canepa weighed in with some wishful thinking on the Barry Bonds situation on Sunday. (Here.) His advice won't solve anything. Essentially he wants Bonds to resign for the good of baseball.


So many people love a three-ring circus, but Barry Bonds should fold his tent and go find a nice sunset. It's time. For the good of Barry Bonds and for the game of baseball, he should quit. He can't function anymore and the sport is suffering from irregularity
That will never happen. Bonds is not going away on his own. He will stick around as long as he can still hobble to the plate and swing the bat. He may give up on ever passing Hank Aaron's record, but Babe Ruth's is only a handful of swings away.

Canepa is too dismissive of the capacity of Major League Baseball to conduct an investigation and to impose an effective punishment.


But baseball, for years wearing blinders, is not innocent. Baseball created Barry Bonds – and others. Selig's recent attempts to cleanse his game and his ordered investigation into past indiscretions – there was no drug testing then, so where's the proof coming from? – came 10 years too late, too late to save the life of a Ken Caminiti, who became lost and alone and
eventually recklessly collided with the culture. When the high-profile investigation is concluded, Selig may type in an asterisk after Bonds' records, he may even suspend Bonds, but it's hard to believe it could stick. Maybe somebody will drop a dime on Barry, rat him out, but that's your-word-against-mine stuff. Fact is, baseball didn't test, didn't have the spine, so it doesn't have the goods.
First, "your-word-against-mine stuff" goes by another name in the legal field: it's called "testimony" and "evidence." People go to prison for very long periods of time based on testimonial evidence. What's good enough for murder trials ought to be good enough forsteroidsods investigation by baseball.

Second, there probably never will be any direct evidence to implicate Bonds in steroids use. But circumstantial evidence is just as good. Expert testimony will help as well. Both kinds of evidence convicts people in this country all the time.

Third, Major League Baseball is not guilty. Back in the heyday of Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, the talk was not about steroids, it was about live balls, small ballparks, and diluted pitching talent. Baseball and everybody else was in denial.

The argument that baseball is just as guilty as players who may have cheated because it didn't prevent the players from cheating is absurd. Baseball did profit from the artificial power generated by steroids. So what? Aiding and abetting doesn't mean looking the other way while somebody else does something wrong. Moreover, baseball didn't give anybody steroids. In that respect, baseball's hands are clean. It's the cheaters themselves who are to blame. They are the ones who took advantage of the situation to enhance their careers.

Brushing everything back under the rug without taking action plays right into the hands of the cheaters and their supporters. Their argument now is to blame everybody else for what they did instead of themselves. Their tactic for getting away with what they did is to guilt-trip the rest of us into just moving on. If baseball didn't have a spine back before it banned steroids, then giving in now and just moving on would mean that baseball still doesn't have a spine. Now that the blinders are off, the only way for baseball to move forward is to take action and clean house.

Baseball needs to step up and do the right thing. Investigate Bonds first because, if the allegations against him are true, he's the one who appears to have profited the most from using steroids. His continued success does the most damage to baseball's reputation because he's the one who is closing in on the records of two of baseball's most revered hitters.

Force Bonds to cooperate in the investigation. If he doesn't cooperate, suspend him pending the result of the investigation. If Bonds is exonerated, then reinstate him. If he is not, then put an asterisk on his records and ban him for life. What's good enough for Shoeless Joe Jackson and Pete Rose is good enough for Barry Bonds.

-tdr

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