Sports Illustrated just released a long report documenting, from innumerable sources, Barry Bonds' use of HGH, steroids (including the one that nailed
Palmeiro), and a whole load of other cr@p.
The report says he started using AFTER the 1998 season. I didn't think suspicious thoughts while watching him in 1999. Also, I don't see a mass of
suspicious things in his stats for 1999--in part, because he was injured for much of the year, playing in only 102 games and having only 428 plate
appearances. However, he DID have 34 HR's in only 355 AB's, which is 2 AB's better than a ratio of one HR every 10.5 AB's.
That was the best figure of his career to date, with only the lockout-shortened season of 1994 coming close, when there was OBVIOUSLY a juiced ball in
use--when Matt Williams and Griffey were on pace to challenge the 154-game HR record and Maris's 61*. Tony Gwynn was merely batting .394 when they
killed the season. So don't read much into 1994 stats.
So, Bonds' HR/AB ratio hit a new high in 1999, but I can tell you from having watched him that year, that his performance did not suddenly become
magnificently better. And his stats confirm my memory, except for that one suspicious stat.
As I've said before, it was the year 2000 which was another story, and in which Bonds put up what I consider his greatest offensive season to date.
The Runs Created system considers it his second greatest, but I can say this for sure: It was by FAR his greatest long-distance HR season ever, until
then, and not just off poor Seth Etherton, whose 21-game career was otherwise so forgettable. He hit the blazes out of the ball.
The S.I. report goes on to say that by his epic 2001 season, with his inconceivable 73 HR's at a geriatric baseball age, he was using a pharmacy's
worth of performance-enhancing drugs, not just the one steroid and HGH. And remember, hit didn't "only" hit 73 HR's, he also broke by 16 points a
record considered as unbreakable as Cy Young's 511 wins: Babe Ruth's astonishing single-season .847 slugging average from 1920--only ONE point better
than Babe in 1921, but a zillion points better than anyone else ever did.
Since Bonds is worth a fortune, I think a failure to file a defamation suit should be construed as an admission of guilt. He could certainly afford
the legal fees, which I think he'd have to pay out of his own pocket, since I cannot imagine any attorney's taking this defamation suit on a
contingency fee basis.
Anyway, all y'all have to do is look at the increase in HR/AB in 1999 (at age 35) to a career high, then the massive improvement in 2000 (at age 36),
then the posting of 4 straight seasons which are untouchable by any historic figure whose name was not George Herman Ruth. Even the most blindly in
denial won't be able to deny this, except to state--truthfully, I believe, but to MLB's great shame--that a lot of this cr@p wasn't against MLB's
"rules" at the time.
My next post on this subject, which I'll write when I have the time and am able to put myself in the Devil's Advocate frame of mind, will engage my
lawyering skills. Remember, I've spent almost 2 decades representing hundreds of criminals in their appeals, and a lot of them have been monsters
(while others have been people I'd gladly have over for dinner), so I'm experienced at making intellectually honest, hopefully logical arguments for
pretty repugnant people and their causes.
Next time out, I make my case for Bonds the player as being one of the two--or perhaps three--greatest offensive players ever. And the time after
that, I'll make my case for Bonds the "baseball defendant," as not have been proven guilty... or perhaps not even being provably guilty, under MLB
rules, regardless of what the criminal laws at issue saw. IA Clonz, please try not to hate me and understand the spirit in which I'll write these.
And no, I promise not to make any ludicrous comparisons between pep pills players have long taken and the Godzillifying cr@p Bonds, McGwire, et al.