Each Sunday the Globe poses a question to its sports department. More often than not, it provides yet more evidence for the maxim that The CHB should be seen and not heard. Today's query: Do you care about Barry Bonds's pursuit of Ruth?
"No," says the lead Globe sports columnist. This despite having previously said "I root for the story," and having in multiple previous columns raved about Bonds, as he did on on Oct. 18, 2002 ("Why does America hate Barry Bonds so much? Is it because he's too good?"). So either The CHB has a short memory, or he's lying.
He adds that "The best opinions on this would be those from the likes of Willie Mays, Frank Robinson, and Hank Aaron -- the guys who did it on the level."
Well, that we have. On Costas Now
(May 5, 2006), Costas asked Mays about Bonds' alleged steroid use
. Mays replied (attention, Danny Boy):
What you're saying, until it's proven that this is what happened, you got to give the benefit of the doubt. I never asked him [meaning Barry Bonds], I don't think I will. I may not get the right answer.
He added that
When Mark McGwire was hittin' home runs out of every ballpark, when Sammy was hittin' home runs out of every ballpark, I didn't hear this.
It's called the Internet, Dan. Try using it.
Ironically, while Dan claims "It's obvious that Bonds used performance enhancers," in the same piece senior assistant sports editor Gregory Lee points out it's likely that Robinson, Mays, Aaron et al did too:
Yes, amphetamines are a stimulant, but they got many players through the season and helped them pad their stats. If it were not for the stimulants, a player would perhaps play 135 games instead of 150 games.
Note to Dan: Read Ball Four
and The Long Season.
Both recount rampant use of "greenies." I expect the book reports by noon Friday.
Even better, read this piece on the use of amphetamines
in baseball from Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus, which notes that some claim as one source none other than Shaughnessy idol Ted Williams:
Pilots and other servicemen were given the drugs to keep them alert during marathon sessions, and they brought the usage back to the game after the war ended. Some have pointed to Ted Williams as one of the initial sources, though there is no hard evidence that this is true. Williams was but one of several pilots returning from the war.
(More irony: in his column today Bob Ryan writes
on a new book from the authors of Baseball Prospectus.)
In another article, Carroll notes that
"There is no evidence that anyone can identify a steroid user by sight. It would certainly save time and money if this were the case. Some pictures of suspected steroid users have been taken at times when the players were said to be out of condition. Again, the only way to prove use of a banned substance is a positive test."
[itals mine] So while more than 80 baseball players have tested positive, Bonds hasn't, and in the absence of such proof it would seem libelous for The CHB to declare his guilt.
I don't typically discuss other journalists in this space, but I couldn't let this pass. In response to the Bonds question, Alan Miller, the Globe's producer for new media, issued this response:
Many feel he has cheated to get where he is. But until last year, baseball did not have any rules banning steroid use. If there are no rules against it, you cannot call it cheating. So while some may feel Bonds's accomplishments may be tainted, Major League Baseball only has itself to blame for where we are today.
Excuse me, Alan, but which drugs are you
on? There is
a rule against it: Use or possession of steroids without a prescription is a federal offense
. Per the article: "The Anabolic Steroids Control Act of 1990 places steroids in the same legal class – Schedule III -- as amphetamines, methamphetamines, opium and morphine. Simple possession of any Schedule III substance is a federal offense punishable by up to one year in prison and/or a minimum fine of $1,000." It is irrelevant, Alan, whether MLB had previously outlawed the drug.