Barry Bonds’ legacy looks as iffy as his team’s chances of making the postseason.
The star San Francisco Giants left-fielder is on the cusp of baseball immortality. He has the potential to do more with the bat than any other player.
Meanwhile the window of opportunity for his team is quickly closing. The Giants record as of 26 July is 42-57. They are 12 and half games out of their division and 11 and a half out of the NL wild card.
Nevertheless, Bonds continues on his date with destiny. As of 26 July, he has 753 career home runs. He is 3 shy of breaking Henry ‘Hank’ Aaron’s 33 year-old record for the most in baseball history.
Moreover, Bonds already holds other records. In a season he has the most walks (232 in 2004) and home runs (73 in 2001) of all-time.
Yet his greatness is anything but assured. Unfortunately, for all the times his name will be in the history books only one name will define him: BALCO.
The notorious steroids company has tainted the careers of many ballplayers from Jose Canseco to Rafael Palmeiro. Many were found guilty of using steroids BALCO supplied through their personal trainers.
Bonds was investigated for alleged steroid use during the BALCO trial. He was never found guilty of it though the American media gave the impression that he had used steroids.
The truth about Bonds is he is over the hill. He is 43 years old with weak, arthritic knees. Bonds has 21 seasons under his belt and his power and reflexes are weakening.
Bonds should be a guaranteed hall-of-famer based on his numbers. With all due respect to Alex Rodriguez and Ken Griffey Jr. there’s no one in baseball that has the potential to match what he has done.
The truth is he probably will not be in the Hall of Fame. Past stars like Mark McGwire have been denied entrance for their links with steroids.
Whether or not Bonds took steroids doesn’t matter. The general public already thinks he does and everything he has done will be attributed to it.
For me, the disgrace of this reality is two-fold. The baseball fans of my generation will not forget Bonds’ link to steroids. They will be forever sceptical of all baseball achievements, especially those by power hitters like Bonds.
Eventually, the generation after me will pick up and internalize these feelings. The result is many will never grow into baseball fans, forever deeming the sport full of cheaters.
As far as I know, breaking Aaron’s record will give Bonds a new name. Bonds will be synonymous with most career home runs. He will be labelled baseball’s home run king.
Therefore, I intend to respect him and that title. Even if in some circles I will be seen as supporting a cheating, high-profile steroid user.