Bonds Not So Bad

Barry Bonds is in town.

I know that I am supposed to write bad things about Barry Bonds. That I am supposed to show him my utmost contempt.

But I will not do that because I do not hold Barry Bonds in any kind of contempt.

As was stated way back when I started this little gig for the Press (speaking of which, hey guys, I’m still waiting for that first check), I used to work for the Houston Astros video crew. I did this for the 1988-2001 seasons, so, I saw a lot of baseball players.

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And Barry Bonds is the best that I’ve ever seen.

I was there for Nolan Ryan’s last season as an Astro. And I was there when Craig Biggio was called up to start his major league career. I got to watch Hall-of-Famers Mike Schmidt, Tony Gwynn, Ozzie Smith, Eddie Murray, Gary Carter, and many others. I saw lots of soon to be Hall-of-Famers like Rickey Henderson, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Randy Johnson, John Smoltz, Alex Rodriguez, Pedro Martinez, and Ken Griffey, Jr.

(I should probably stop this list before I go all Harry Blackmun).

And Bonds is the best of the bunch. And that was before the steroids.

So, I’m not going to write to condemn him. I just can’t.

Did he cheat? You know what, I think that he did. But so did Jason Giambi, and he’s still a respected ballplayer. Same with Gary Sheffield. Lots of teams still want Sheffield. Hell, Sammy Sosa’s still playing.

So why is Bonds the hated one?

Sure. He’s an ass. But, as the people of Houston are finally learning, so’s Roger Clemens. And his name’s been linked to steroids many times. The only reason Rocket’s now on the hated list is that he dared to leave Houston and return to New York. But the Houston media’s never taken this seriously.

Former Astro Jason Grimsley has been nailed for steroids. The name of former Astro Luis Gonzalez has also been linked to steroids, as has Jeff Bagwell. And let’s not forget Ken Caminiti.

You know something, that’s an awful lot of Astros linked to steroids. And all of this since Drayton McLane took over the team. (Yes, I’m sure it’s all a coincidence, but Grimsley, Gonzalez, Caminiti, and Bagwell were all on the team at the same time, and Gonzalez, Caminiti, and Bagwell all began to bulk up at about the same time.)

So, while the Houston fans may be booing Barry Bonds and decrying the evil things that he has done to the game, perhaps they should be doing some deeper thinking and wondering, perhaps, about the apparently great evil done to the game by Drayton’s “Good Guys.”

I’m not going to condemn Barry Bonds. I truly believe that he is the greatest player that I’ve had the chance to watch play baseball. And I’m not condemning the Houston Astros. But perhaps it’s time that those with the ability to do so start asking some tough questions of the Astros organization. -- John Royal

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