By Ryne Sandberg, Yahoo! Sports
September 15, 2005
Since last Friday's column about Barry Bonds, I have received lots of feedback regarding his credibility because of the suspicion that Bonds may have taken steroids. Let me restate my thoughts on this topic.
If Barry ever took steroids (and that's an if), then there's a huge problem. Maybe I'm being naive because I wasn't around steroid use in my career, but Barry was an MVP when he was hitting 40 home runs a year and stealing 40 bases. At the time, he was 180 pounds and a star in the outfield as well.
From what I know about steroids, it is more beneficial for mediocre players because steroids can help them become good players. I don't understand how this affected Barry because he was already an outstanding player. He has completely perfected the swing from the left side. He has the quickest bat that I've ever seen and he has more plate coverage than anyone in the history of the game. His eye is better than anyone ever, too. Barry is still one of the top-five players ever to pick up a bat.
Personally, from playing against him, I never had a problem with Bonds. I always found him to be a strong professional that played hard every day – that's what I looked for in a ballplayer.
On to the email and my comments, which are in italics.
How, after your tremendous Hall of Fame speech, can you write an article extolling the virtues of Barry Bonds, an individual so despicable that he personifies all that you castigated in your speech?
Don't get me wrong. I do not condone the use of steroids. However, Barry's physical skills without the use of steroids are still among the best ever. Take a look at his statistics in the late 80s to early 90s.
The game of baseball would be immeasurably better off if Barry Bonds were to never return. Stop kissing his butt for no reason. You should never want him to stand next to you in the Hall of Fame.
Ty, I'll only answer you if you can give me a few Caddyshack movie lines (Chevy Chase reference). No, I'm joking. … I don't feel like I'm "kissing his butt" at all. What he has done on the field will never be accomplished again, and until you show me that he definitely took steroids, then I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and tell you that he is a great hitter.
It's disgusting that you would put Bonds on such a pedestal. The man disgraces the game with his steroid abuse and you kiss his behind in your column. Wake up!
Your sympathy for Barry Bonds is disgusting. Bonds has clearly cheated his way to home run records with Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron on the horizon. I don't know how you can condone these
cheaters who have denigrated the great game of baseball. Bonds is despicable and should retire now.
Come on, everyone knows the reason Bonds hasn't played yet this year is that he's afraid of getting a residual positive steroid test like what happened recently to the Seattle Mariners player. I have tremendous respect for your insights and what you have accomplished. But I can't help but say that you lose a lot of credibility with people like me when you defend Barry Bonds. It's obvious that Bonds has abused steroids and then lied about it.
That's a huge accusation to make, considering that anyone on the 40-man roster is able to be tested. That includes anyone that is on the disabled list. Under MLB rules, he could have been tested every day during the season. I'm sorry if you think I lose credibility, but I believe that the best credibility is to have personal experience with the player. I hate to say it, and I'm sorry if this comes off as a little sarcastic, but when was the last time you were on an All-Star team with Barry.
I guess when Bonds gets into the Hall of Fame, both of his fans will be there – you and his mother.
St. Louis, Mo.
It was so wonderful to read someone actually saying something nice about Barry. He has refused to follow the dictated beat, so he's been pilloried much like Ted Williams was. But beneath that is someone who was raised with, and loves, the game possibly more than anyone in our generation.
PLAYOFF RACES ("Mr. Septembers," Sept. 13, 2005)
I found it odd that you excluded the Boston Red Sox from your list of contenders for the remaining postseason spots. With only a 2½-game lead over the Yankees, including three head-to-head games remaining, the Bosox have everything to play for. The key to any success they might have is unquestionably their bullpen.
Las Vegas, Nev.
If you saw, I also excluded the White Sox, Braves, Cardinals and Padres. All of them are division leaders. From my last list, I wanted to take a look at the wild card and the AL West. I believe the Red Sox will win the AL East. However, if you want to talk Red Sox, I think their biggest problem could be their bullpen. With Curt Schilling in the starting rotation, it leaves the bullpen even more slim. Let's just hope their offense gives them a lot of five-run leads in the late innings.
Why do you continue to ignore the Washington Nationals? They are in contention for the NL wild-card race, and yet you have never even mentioned them in all but one article so far this season. The Nationals deserve at least some noticing for going from the Montreal Expos to a wild-card contender.
I'm sorry, but I still think the Nationals are still the fourth best team in the NL East. Since July 4, they are 25-39 … not exactly top-10 material.
Why didn't you mention the Philadelphia Phillies replacing Jim Thome with Ryan Howard at first base? Thome is hard to replace, but Howard has done well filling in for Thome. I know about the rookie factor but this kid looks like the real deal.
RANKINGS RESPONSES ("Don't worry, South Siders," Sept. 12, 2005)
I disagree with your comment in your rankings that Bobby Cox is "a lock" for NL Manager of the Year. He may win, but it will be very close between Cox and Tony La Russa. How can the media so quickly dismiss the job Tony has done? Both teams have had injuries this year, but which team has done the most to overcome them? Cox has plugged in hot rookies; LaRussa has plugged in journeymen and spare parts. … Who had the tougher job?
Jefferson City, Mo.
I do like what La Russa has done this year, but he has the best hitter in the game (Albert Pujols) and the NL Cy Young winner (Chris Carpenter). That's not to disregard what he has done. I just think that Cox has turned a group of kids (plus Andruw Jones, Chipper Jones and Marcus Giles) into a winning team. He has changed his managing style because of the type of team that he has. He can no longer count on his starting rotation to allow one run over eight innings. He now has to put bigger numbers on the board. Cox also hasn't had a closer all year, but he's still found a way to give them enough of a lead.
Please explain how the Chicago White Sox continue to be No. 2 in your rankings. I'm pretty sure I just watched them get swept by the Los Angeles Angels at home. The White Sox will make the playoffs only because their lead is too great for the Indians to overcome, but don't expect your specious Sox to do anything in the postseason. Your "best pitching staff" in baseball threw some great games over the weekend, giving up 22 runs in three games.
You're right, they haven't been a very good team lately. However, they're still up there at No. 2 because they still have the best record in the AL. What they did early was so amazing that they now have earned the privilege to cruise into the playoffs healthy and fresh, instead of having to battle their way in.
Personally, I think that the Chicago Cubs should tear down Wrigley Field and build another one. They also need new uniforms. A whole new beginning. What do you think?
Isn't that kind of sacrilegious? And new uniforms? I understand the fact about starting over and getting a new start, however, I seriously doubt Wrigley Field and blue pinstripes are the reason for losses. The Cubs are going to turn it around like every other team does – with better scouting and better drafts. The pieces are in place with a solid foundation (Mark Prior, Carlos Zambrano, Derrek Lee and Matt Murton) and the future is bright with guys like Felix Pie (you'll see him in 2006) and Renyel Pinto.
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Updated on Thursday, Sep 15, 2005 8:33 pm, EDT
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