The investigation of “steroids in baseball” was launched last week, but Bud Selig’s announcement was a slap in the face of fans’ intelligence. This isn’t an investigation of baseball, it’s an investigation of Barry Bonds.
Bonds, who has been the central figure of the steroid scandal for the past two years, has stubbornly denied steroid use to anyone willing to listen. With 708 career home runs, Bonds is on the heels of Babe Ruth to become second all-time on the home run list and has a legitimate shot at catching home run king Hank Aaron.
In a court of law, defendants are innocent until proven guilty, but in the court of public opinion, Bonds is considered guilty until proven innocent. Even though he’s never failed a drug test and all the steroid information is speculation, baseball fans around the country believe Bonds used performance-enhancing drugs.
But my question to Selig is: What good will this investigation do for the state of baseball?
If, by a chance, head investigator George Mitchell – director of the Boston Red Sox and chairman for the Walt Disney Company (which owns ESPN) – can find any substantial evidence that Bonds used steroids, what is the consequence? Is baseball going to take away his home runs? Are they going to put an asterisk next to the home runs? Will they make him retire?
There is nothing positive that will come from this investigation.
With a tie in the 2002 All-Star game and a mid-season strike, the steroid era is the icing on the cake of a terrible reign for Selig as commissioner. The only thing this investigation’s evidence will prove is that Selig sat by quietly as superstars such as Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa allegedly pumped up on steroids.
This investigation is just another in a long line of bad decisions by Selig.
After instituting the toughest testing policy ever this season, baseball fans were excited for Opening Day. With young talent like Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals, David Wright of the New York Mets and Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners, the game is moving further away from the steroid era.
The last thing baseball needs is to be reminded of the steroid era. Gone are McGwire and Sosa, and it’s time to let the past become just that.
There are many reasons to believe Bonds has used steroids – from his recent massive weight gain to the excerpts printed in Sports Illustrated from the recently released book called Game of Shadows.
Bonds may have used steroids to help recover from minor injuries or battle the fatigue of a long season, but he has always been a home run hitter. He had no reason to take steroids to assist in hitting home runs, though it probably didn’t hurt.
Does that make it right? No.
Does it make what he did understandable? Yes.
Mike Schmidt has been quoted many times saying he can’t honestly say he wouldn’t have used steroids if they were available during his playing career. That’s not a popular stance from former players who feel that Bonds should be kept out of the Hall of Fame if he’s found guilty of using steroids.
Even though baseball’s testing policy is tougher now than ever before, they still don’t test for human growth hormone, so there is no telling whether Bonds is still using steroids. Bonds is on his last leg of his career though doesn’t have a leg to stand on in the steroid scandal.
It’s time for baseball to move on and build on the newfound cleanliness of the game.
Selig, just let it go.