Saturday, February 3, 2007

Yo, Meathead!

Well, well, everyone’s favorite poster boy for steroids is back in the news. He’s finally going to sign his contract with the Giants. No, wait, the commissioner’s office won’t approve the contract. Now the contract’s been rewritten. No, wait, Bonds won’t sign the new contract.

Man, I wish there was some way we could just be rid of Barry Bonds—from baseball, from the news, from everything!

I know, I know, people will now say I’m just perpetuating the problem myself by writing about it here. I can’t help it. Barry Bonds is within striking distance of Hank Aaron’s record! Why can’t somebody stop him?

I mean, is there anyone out there who really wants Bonds to play this year? Most fans I know don’t want him to. In fact, it seems as if the pool of Giants fans who disapprove of Bonds is finally becoming more vocal. Of course, there are still some local yahoos who root for Bonds because they can’t figure out what he did wrong. (D-uh!)

Some fans are baseball purists, as well, those who believe that baseball statistics are hallowed numbers. To these fans, among which I place myself, cheating is just not part of the game—ever. In my mind, once someone is found to be a cheat (that is, someone who has blatantly broken the rules, not someone who has practiced questionable behavior before there were any rules barring such), he should be banned from the game. To watch Bonds plod on toward Aaron’s pinnacle without anyone crying for shame is incredibly frustrating to the purist.

I get the feeling most players don’t want Bonds to play this year, either. Mark Sweeney probably doesn’t, though he would never say such a thing out loud and upset the delicate locker-room chemistry that will be needed once spring training begins. Sweeney is the teammate from whom Bonds says he got the substance that caused him to fail an amphetamines test. Thanks a lot, “pal.”

Then there are the players who are purists. These guys believe in the spirit of the game and detest the idea that any records could be broken by cheaters. Can any current pitchers who feel this way pitch to Bonds with a clear conscience, knowing Aaron’s record is on the line?

Nor does Major League Baseball really want Bonds to break the record. Bonds is a complete embarrassment to Bud Selig, as well as the MLB Players Association: Why did it take these groups so long to finally pass rule changes allowing for drug testing? Now Selig has to watch as Bonds inches ever closer to the record held by the commissioner’s friend Aaron, who also happens to embody all that’s noble about baseball and its ponderous history.

Do you notice that you never see anything in the news about how Aaron feels about Bonds passing him? That’s because Aaron is too classy to come out and say what he really feels: that Bonds is an abomination to the sport and should not be allowed to continue, no matter how much money the Giants and the rest of baseball think they might rake in during both home and away games as Bonds gets ever closer.

I heard a rumor about a shady deal that might take place: If Bonds is indicted for perjury, the feds will let him go free, as long as he walks away from baseball for good and leaves the record alone. As much as I would love to see Bonds spend time in prison, it would be fine by me if this deal actually came to pass. Then maybe in years to come we could watch someone who is clean try to match Aaron’s Herculean feat, and Hammerin’ Hank wouldn’t have to feel as if a fraud was taking his home run crown.

SEASONINGS: I have to laugh when I see that the Cowboys are seriously considering Norv Turner as a coaching replacement for Bill Parcells. I do realize that Turner has had success as an offensive coordinator, with the Cowboys when they won all those Super Bowls in the 1990s, and then less consistently with San Diego, Miami, and San Francisco. But his terms as head coach have been pretty grim. He was 49–59–1 as head coach of the Redskins, with only one trip to the playoffs in seven years, and 9–23 as head coach of the Raiders for two years. I don’t know if Turner has the charisma to take on the personalities in Dallas (read “Jerry Jones and T.O.”)—is Jones just looking for a puppet he can control again after three years of a strong-willed Tuna ended well short of a ring? If Turner is Jones’s choice, the Cowboys will sink.

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