Fire Jim Tracy

Friday, December 03, 2004

You Let Me Down, I Said It

I'll make a brief reappearance (it's finals time) to comment on the Giambi mess. What a disappointment--even though it wasn't exactly unexpected (check out this baseball card to see what Giambi looked like as an Olympian). I think it's clear that history will look back at the late 90s/early 2000s disapprovingly; it will especially examine its hitters with a jaundiced eye (paradoxically, the era also featured some of the game's greatest pitchers--Clemens, Johnson, Martinez, Maddux, Schilling). Count me in the group that feels that Giambi's MVP should be revoked and any records stricken from the books. By extension, I will wholeheartedly favor this same treatment for Barry Bonds when that particular story inevitably breaks.

Sure, before 2004, no rules were broken. But when your dad told you about Maris' record for the first time, didn't he also mention that Maris had 162 games to do it in? What are we going to tell our kids about Bonds and his records??? (especially if/when he passes Aaron on the home run list--[shiver]). For legitimacy's sake, doesn't baseball HAVE to strike Bonds' records or put asterisks by them if he indeed took steroids? No serious baseball fan is going to take his accomplishments seriously any way, and I certainly don't want *MY* kids thinking that he was half the player Babe Ruth or Ted Williams were if he cheated (yes, taking steroids is cheating, even if they weren't disallowed) at playing *MY* favorite sport.

(And it's my humble [unscientific] opinion that steroids not only aid/aided Bonds in hitting the ball farther, but also help/helped quicken his bat speed and by extension strengthened his hand/eye coordination)

When the Bonds story breaks once and for all, MLB is going to have an absolute disaster on its hands. Especially if it hits after Bonds passes Ruth or Aaron on the home run list. I'll really enjoy the sound of the collective heart of Giants fans breaking, but that will be the extent of the upside of such a scandal. To heal the wounds and to patch up the sport's legitimacy, baseball will need to strike all of Bonds' significant awards and records. Even if that makes San Francisco fans mad, Willie Mays sad, and Joe Morgan suicidal.

But baseball will recover from the Giambi story and the stories that are at our doorstep. Today's young stars--Albert Pujols, Adrian Beltre, and Carlos Beltran among them--are too good not to be noticed and admired. With a little detective work and common sense, Pujols and Beltre will be belatedly given the MVP awards (Pujols twice, actually) they deserved.

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