D-Bag Of The Week: Barry Bonds

July 20, 2007 – 5:51 am by Ryan Phillips

It would have been easy to pick Mr. Vick as the winner of our Douchebag of the Week Award, but after watching Barry Bonds get within two home runs of the most hallowed record in sports, I had to pick him. I don’t like to get preachy on here too often, we tend to keep it light and fun, but I’ve held off on blasting Bonds for far too long. Besides, I might not get another chance before he breaks the all-time home run record and forever tarnishes baseball’s greatest achievement.

It was quite a week for Barry. Early on he was calling himself an “embarrassment” and said he shouldn’t even be playing – nice that he caught on, I’ve been saying that for years. Then yesterday he smashed two bombs against the Cubs, giving him 753 for his career, just two behind Hank Aaron’s all-time record. We can now safely assume that Bonds will hit is 754th, 755th and 756th home runs sometime in the next week or two, leaving him as baseball’s all-time home run king. With that said, it’s time to cut the crap and get down to the facts because I’m tired of analysts telling me I should be celebrating this achievement, while totally overlooking the big picture. Barry Bonds cheated his way to this record, plain and simple. Before 1999 he was a great player, probably headed to The Hall of Fame, and maybe the best all-around player of his era. But that wasn’t enough for him. He wanted to be known as the best in the game, wanted to be celebrated the way McGwire and Sosa were at that time. He also wanted the money they were getting.

If you haven’t read “Game of Shadows,” you should, it is the finest piece of sports journalism I’ve ever come across. And in it you learn something shocking: Barry Bonds is not a bad guy because he cheated at baseball, he’s a bad guy who also cheated at baseball. More than anything the book reveals that Bonds is a waste of humanity. There is nothing in the book that suggests he ever does anything for anyone but himself. His family even takes a backseat to his own ambitions. Then, when things go badly for him, he blames the media, or the fans for his problems. Who can forget the famous scene from Spring Training one year when, with his son next to him, Bonds said the media was affecting the boy. Yeah Barry, and I’m sure your well-documented, and nearly constant, infidelity is doing wonders for the kid.

But back to the record. Bonds is nothing more than a common thief, stealing this record from Hank Aaron, one of the greatest players and greatest men to ever play baseball. This record isn’t about numbers, it is about talent, sacrifice and perseverance. All were traits Aaron had and Bonds has distorted. Aaron is one of the two or three greatest ever. He’s first all-time in home runs (755), RBIs (2,297), extra base hits (1,477) and total bases (6,856), and is third in hits (3,771). He is also tied for most All-Star appearances with 24 and was the first ever member of the 3,000 hit, 500 home run club. What is amazing about Aaron is how long he sustained his greatness. He never hit more than 47 home runs, but is the only player to hit at least 30 in 15 seasons, and 20 in 20 seasons. He also holds the record for most consecutive season with 150 or more hits (17). Oh, and lest you think he was just a masher, he also won three Gold Gloves. He earned the record, taking it from arguably the greatest player of all-time (Babe Ruth) with a stretch of sustained excellence that has not and may never be equalled. Oh yeah, and he remained humble and carried himself with dignity the entire time. In my opinion, Bonds’ name doesn’t deserve to be next to Aaron’s on any list, let alone one denoting excellence.

Not only is Bonds taking this record from Aaron, he is robbing us all. Any fan who cares about or respects baseball should be outraged. We should all be enjoying a chase like this, not lamenting it. This record means something and if/when Bonds has it, it will represent a time when we were all duped. Bonds claims he was duped as well, saying he had no knowledge of ever using steroids. Well when he joined the Giants in 1993 he wore a size 10 1/2 shoe. He was 29-years-old and in males, your feet stop growing at 18. He now wears a size 13. Something tells me that even if he wasn’t aware of what was going on, he should have picked up on it. His hat size went from 7 1/8 to 7 1/4, despite the fact that during that time he also shaved his head. From 1986 to 1998 Bonds averaged a home run every 16.1 at-bats. Since turning 35 in 1999 he has averaged one every 8.9 at bats. If he had kept his pace of 16.1, he would have entered this season with 590 home runs, nowhere near Aaron’s record of 755. We all know what happened here, and it pisses me off that analysts and some fans in the Bay Area are actually imploring us to celebrate this man and his fraudulent achievement.

Some people have asked the question, “would you cheer if you were at the game where Bonds broke the record?” Absolutely not. I refuse to cheer for a man who cares nothing for the game I love and respect. Had he cared one bit about the game, or the fans who pay to watch him play, he would have left the game when this scandal broke. He would have quietly backed away and sat at home with his millions of dollars, and left the record book alone. But he didn’t. He chose to continue, not to glorify the game that has given him so much, but to pursue personal glory. I wouldn’t boo him though, he’s not worth it. I’d quietly stand up and head for concourse. I would refuse to give him the recognition he craves.

Where Aaron was (and is) the best the world of sports has to offer, Bonds is the worst. And, in the end, the record changing hands will not change that. But it will certainly be a sad day for America’s pastime when a gallant hero loses his record to a thief.

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  1. 11 Responses to “D-Bag Of The Week: Barry Bonds”

  2. Wow. Someone is angry.

    First of all, Game of Shadows is a one sided attempt to bash Bonds and portray him as a monster because anything less wouldn’t sell as many copies. There is likely a ton of information in the book that is correct, but to preach it as gospel is a mistake. It could be 100% lies and we would have no way of knowing, but because Bonds is a jerk and people want to hate him, we all eat it up like Bonds was saying it himself.
    But that’s not what I want to really comment on.

    You have an incredibly warped perception of Barry Bonds in relation to Henry Aaron.

    You correctly noted that Bonds’ home run per plate appearance spiked at the end of his career (Barry’s best home run ratios were from the age of 34 until 41). However, as is always done, you’ve ignored the EXACT SAME STATS in Henry Aaron. Henry’s best home run ratios occurred between the ages of 35 and 39. Henry, just like Barry, was a more efficient home run hitter at the end of his career than he was in his prime.
    I’ll write that again, and you can look it up because it’s true.
    Henry Aaron and Barry Bonds were both more efficient home run hitters at the end of their careers then at their primes.
    And possibly the strangest thing about that, is that Barry has played through a period of expansion which dilutes the talent pool, changing stadium sizes (most importantly the shrinking of stadiums) and possibly a time when the baseballs were wound a little bit tighter (possibly). Aaron’s increase in home run ratios occurred during a static time in the game.

    Now, yes, Barry is much bigger than he was when he joined the Giants and yes Barry has almost definitely taken steroids and hgh and who knows what else, but how do we know what has helped him and what hasn’t? How do we know what Aaron was on too? Amphetamines? Steroids? Who knows what else?

    Aaron recorded his best home run ratio ever in 1973. Strangely, two of his team mates also did the same. Davey Johnson hit 5 home runs in 1972 and 15 in 1974, but he hit 40 in 1973 (and the difference in at-bats don’t even come close to explaining it). Darrell Evans hit 19 in 72 and 25 in 74, but hit 41 in 73. If we saw this happen on a team today, we would convict them so quickly their heads would spin.
    Luckily for them, they played in the past and unluckily for Barry Bonds, he is playing now.

    Barry Bonds is likely not a nice person, but where in the world does it say he has to be. Love him or hate him (you obviously hate him)Bonds is one of the best to ever play this game.

    Oh, and HGH, which is likely the cause of his head swelling and feet growing, doesn’t help athletes. It’s been documented scientifically that HGH creates immature muscle that may or may not be helpful for the elderly, but is insignificant to a muscular professional athlete, or any person with an athletic build. Look it up.

    By Steve on Jul 20, 2007

  3. Yeah, Barry Bonds is a jerk. Yeah, Bonds likely cheated en route to the hallowed territory he has reached. But those things notwithstanding, he is the greatest baseball player of the steroid era.

    I think we’ve just see the tip of the iceberg in terms of guys who’ve used steroids. If Rafael Palmeiro was guilty, who doesn’t deserve at least a second look? So if 50-60% — which may even be a modest estimate — of players are cheating, Bonds numbers remain extremely impressive, if inflated.

    You’re right that Bonds doesn’t deserve the record, but most of today’s players don’t deserve their enormous contracts, either. Bonds is a product of this generation, and it’s important to take his accomplishments for what they’re worth.

    Trust me, I’m not a Barry Bonds fan, and I was extremely disappointed when the Giants re-signed him for this season. But this record is a big deal, and anyone who says otherwise is only kidding themselves.

    By Kevin Hayward on Jul 20, 2007

  4. People forget or ignore that records have to be taken in context. It should be essentially meaningless that Bonds is passing Aaron’s HR record. They play a completely different game nowadays. The problem is that people just don’t want to understand this. Whether or not Bonds took steroids (and I don’t think there is much doubt that he did) isn’t important because we have no idea what Hank Aaron did or didn’t do. Plus he played in a different era and also greatly padded his HR numbers by playing in Atlanta (which probably helped him more than steroids helped Bonds).

    As far as the facts in Game of Shadows details, I can understand that it’s probably impossible for your feet to grow 1.5 sizes. However, including his hat size increase just shows that those “facts” are meaningless. I wear a lot bigger hat now than I did in college and I haven’t done anything (and I have shorter hair now). Does that mean I did steroids or HGH? According to that book I did.

    By Tom on Jul 20, 2007

  5. Steve,
    Have you actually read “Game of Shadows?” Because I found it a very balanced account that actually made Bonds seem like he was the last to jump on the steroid chain. It only really “bashed” him for the actions in his personal life (i.e. treating everyone in his life like shit, ordering people around like dogs, being an awful teammate and constantly cheating on his wife) which have all been well documented as facts by other sources.

    On top of that, most of your claims are ridiculous. I’m sorry but there are several facts that we know. Bonds did take steroids and HGH. If you don’t believe that you’re simply ignoring sworn testimony, hundreds of pages of seized documents and his obvious change in appearance. He also has been caught taking amphetamines as well since we know he tested positive last season. Therefore we know he had no problem breaking the rules in some respect. He was going to be one of the greatest players in baseball history before he began to cheat, but he has forever tarnished that by his actions. To say HGH adds insignificant muscle is a joke. Not only does it improve the way athletes can recover from game to game, it also improves vision, can strengthen joints as well as add bulk. So to write it off as nothing is ignoring the facts. And though you imply that Aaron may have used steroids, there is no evidence that steroids made their way into baseball until the mid-1980s. So to say that because his numbers slightly improved and therefore he’s just as likely as Bonds to have used, is ridiculous. His appearance didn’t radically change, and his numbers didn’t jump the way Bonds’ did.

    I included the hat size argument because one of the noticeable changes associated with the use of HGH is an increase in head size. Sure it could be from something else, but it is just another in the line of mounting facts that don’t look good for Bonds. The shoe size argument is far more convincing. And it’s not 1 1/2 sizes, it’s 2 1/2.

    By Phillips on Jul 21, 2007

  6. Most importantly, Henry Aaron was a gentleman. A ballplayer that respected the game and more importantly carried himself with dignity and grace at a time when negros were treated horrifically. As a young white boy who worshiped the ground Henry walked on, I find his home run record being “eclipsed” by Barroid one of the most disgusting events of my life.

    By Anonymous on Jul 22, 2007

  7. LMAO. Did you really just say Game Of Shadows was one of the finest pieces of journalism you have ever wrote?

    And did you also say Bonds is a bigger douche bag then Vick? Because he hit two home runs?

    I liked this site, I did. But you can be sure that I’m no longer checking back ever again after this bullshit.

    And no, I’m not a Giants or a Bonds fan.

    By Brian on Jul 22, 2007

  8. No I didn’t say Bonds is a bigger douchebag than Vick. Just said that he got our pick for this week because: A.) We already covered the Vick thing and B.) It’s more of a lifetime achievement thing for Bonds. As for “Game of Shadows” I said it is one of the finest pieces of SPORTS journalism I’ve ever read. And yes I do believe that. Phenomenal amounts of research and cultivating sources to get to the bottom of a scandal that permeated throughout the sports world. Yeah I’d say that’s great journalism.

    By Phillips on Jul 22, 2007

  9. Bonds has played the last 7 seasons in the most unfriendly hitters park for lefties in all of MLB. Stir that into your analysis along with the fact that he sees 5 pitches to hit a game, and faces mercenary lefties brought in just to face him on a nightly basis! Bonds is an amazing athlete, and the greatest hitter of his generation. Stop whining about what he did or didn’t do! If you want to throw a hissy fit about Barry, maybe you should direct it at Bud Selig who relished in the revenues and attention brought on by the homerun chases of the late 90’s! If anyone is complicit, it’s the powers that be in MLB.

    By Anonymous on Jul 23, 2007

  10. phillips,
    I’ve never read Game of Shadows nor do I plan on reading it.
    With that out of the way, I do not understand for one second how you think my claims are ridiculous, especially since I have done nothing but state facts.
    Let’s review what you think is ridiculous:

    1. Bonds did take steroids and hgh and amphetamines and other drugs..

    Yes, I am aware of that and if you re-read what I wrote, you will see that I completely agree with you on that point.

    2.To say HGH adds insignificant muscle is a joke. Not only does it improve the way athletes can recover from game to game, it also improves vision, can strengthen joints as well as add bulk. So to write it off as nothing is ignoring the facts.

    You, sir, sound like an HGH salesman and sadly it is you who are ignoring the facts. HGH is not a miracle drug as we are led to believe. Look up any number of medical test done with HGH… all of the clinical trials (clinical trials are the real proof of what a substance can and can’t do, not its marketing campaign) and you will see that HGH is completely ineffective for athletes, that it does not, in fact, do any of the things that you claim it does.

    3. here is no evidence that steroids made their way into baseball until the mid-1980s.

    Is that information from Canseco’s book? The funny thing about that statement is that Congress held a hearing to deal with steroids in baseball in 1973. 1973!
    One of Aaron’s own teammates (a pitcher) has stated publicly that steriod use was rampant in his time.
    It is illogical to think that baseball players in the 60s and 70s weren’t popping pills and the like. They lived through the drug culture. Everybody was using drugs, why would baseball players be any different than the rest of society.

    4. So to say that because his [aaron] numbers slightly improved and therefore he’s just as likely as Bonds to have used, is ridiculous. His appearance didn’t radically change, and his numbers didn’t jump the way Bonds’ did.

    You haven’t looked up his numbers, have you. This is not a slight increase. It is a major increase. We hold it to be fact that players do not get better as they age into their mid 30s and 40s, but Aaron did. He became much more efficient at hitting home runs, which means he either became a better hitter with better hand-eye coordination at an age when his eye sight and coordination should have been deteriorating and/or he increased his bat speed and strength at an age when both also should have been deteriorating. On top of that, please explain how he seemed to hit a wall after the 1973 season, seeing his home run rate plummet (get much much worse), coincidentally i’m sure, the same year as the steroid investigation in Congress. Would you say that all the aging he was supposed to have incurred during his late 30s hit him all at once in 1974. Because if that is true, then he is some sort of super human.

    I am not trying to say that Aaron used steroids. All I am pointing out is that the only difference between Bonds and Aaron is that we know Bonds has grown to ridiculous sizes and Aaron hasn’t (I actually don’t know if Aaron ever grew in his late stage because the only thing i’ve ever seen of Aaron is him hitting #715, I’ve never seen Aaron his rookie year, or Aaron half way through his career. Has anyone else? And would these people have been paying close attention to see a difference in size). On top of that, do we think Brady Anderson grew to massive proportions? Brady is assumed to be a steroid user because he out of no where hit 50+ home runs and then disappeared. I remember Brady and I didn’t see a massive change in size as we see in McGwire, Sosa, and Bonds.
    In fact, it is thought that many major leaguers used steroids, including pitchers. Eric Gagne is bigger, but who else. Guillermo Mota isn’t much bigger and he was caught. Alex Sanchez (not a pitcher) didn’t grow any bigger and he was caught too. So why does Hank have to grow show that he was doping?

    Once again, i’m not trying to prove that Hank used PEDs, instead i’m trying to show how your argument that he didn’t is faulty. The only real proof that Aaron didn’t used steroids is that he never failed a test and since he also never took a test, we will never know the truth.

    Barry Bonds also hasn’t failed a test. That doesn’t make me believe he never took steroids, but if Barry is a user who has never failed a test, how can we believe that anyone else who has ever played the game of baseball was/is clean?

    Yes Barry is a jerk and Hank was probably a nice guy, but so what. Start thinking logically and apply facts.

    By steve on Jul 23, 2007

  11. Steve,
    “First of all, Game of Shadows is a one sided attempt to bash Bonds and portray him as a monster because anything less wouldn’t sell as many copies. There is likely a ton of information in the book that is correct, but to preach it as gospel is a mistake.”
    “I’ve never read Game of Shadows nor do I plan on reading it.”
    You just lost all credibility. How can you bash a book when you’ve never read it? Did someone tell you that it was BS, therefore you believed it? If I told you “All the President’s Men” was just a character assassination of President Nixon and not 100% true would you believe that? Read the book, trust me, you’ll understand why virtually the entire country (outside of the Bay Area) are so angry, and it has very little to do with his personality.

    By Phillips on Jul 27, 2007

  12. Wow, that’s your comeback to all of my facts. Oooh, I didn’t read game of shadows, so what. I’m incredibly disappointed in you. I don’t need credibility. I’m not voicing my opinion. i’m simply relaying facts to you. F-A-C-T-S. It does not matter one tiny bit that I have a negative opinion about a book that i’ve never read. It does not matter one itty bitty tiny bit. So i’ve over stepped by knocking a blatant attempt to earn money that was published without any input from the man it’s actually about. Sorry, but i just don’t care to read garbage like that. Even if it said Barry Bonds enjoys gardening and donates all of his money to children’s charities I still wouldn’t read it.

    All that matters are F-A-C-T-S. You dismiss me because you can’t back up anything you’ve said except for the contents of a book that i haven’t read. Way to have some integrity. You sure showed me. I never read that book nor do I care too. I know Barry Bonds is a jerk and I know that most people in the world have no problem lying to spin a profit. I don’t need to read a book to know that Barry used performance enhancing drugs.
    Is my comment about the book even that far off? You read the book and you think Barry is scum. You tell me that if I read the book i’ll understand why the country is so angry. So, the book must make Barry out to be a pretty bad person. It doesn’t sound like a book that on an even keel. It doesn’t sound like it’s just presenting information and letting you decide. It sounds like the book is slanted against Barry. Once again, I wouldn’t know. i’ve never read it and I don’t know anyone who has either.

    Get over the book thing. Skip the first paragraph of my original comment and tell me where i’m wrong. It’s sadly obvious that you can’t so instead you’ve attempted to discredit me. Way to go. You should be a politician.

    It doesn’t matter how much of a jack-bag I am. Look up the facts.

    By Steve on Jul 27, 2007

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