good letters

Hope that the future can be better.
Work for justice.
Work for fairness.
Write good letters.


Barry Bonds

Hank Aaron has 755 home runs. Most sports fans agree that this is the greatest record in sports.

Barry Bonds is close to breaking this record. I won't recount the evidence against him, but Barry is clearly guilty of using steroids to cheat. It's not certain he will ever be found guilty in a court of law. But he has definitely been found guilty in the court of public opinion.

The whole steroids mess is a major blow to Major League Baseball. The baseball-watching public just cares less about a game dominated by cheaters. And Barry Bonds is the poster-child of cheating baseball players.

If Barry Bonds breaks Hank Aaron's record it will be a big nail in the coffin of the respectability of the sport. The sport won't likely die overnight. But it will be clear to everyone that the players, coaches, and management of baseball condone cheating, even at the highest levels.

But breaking the record is not guaranteed. If Barry cared more about the Game than himself, he would hit number 754, stop on home plate, remove his shoes, and walk away. That is all of the admission of guilt that we ever need. It is all of the penance that we ever need. Barry could enter the Hall of Fame as the second greatest hitter, and the greatest hitter of the asterisk era. And this is the only way that Barry gets off the field with his dignity.

If Barry steps up to the plate for a chance at number 755, the opposing pitcher should not throw the ball across the plate. Walk him. And continue to walk him until he retires.

Baseball has to wrestle with the steroids issue. So far all we have seen is a refusal to come to grips with the issue. If opposing pitchers give Barry Bonds the chance at 755, then they are condoning his cheating and complicit in his corruption of the sport. Once that record is broken it can't be undone.

Major League Baseball's marketing staff are hyping the breaking of the record. He'll hit 755 and 756, and it will be over.

How much better would it be to cover 40 (or so) games of Barry getting walked while on 754? Will baseball players stick to their decision to punish Barry for his steroids? Will someone break down and pitch to him? Will Barry accept his fate and retire? Or will Barry throw a fit each time he is walked? Whatever happens, it will be a spectacle.

Cauterize the wound and scream because it hurts. It will hurt.

I believe that it would be a huge step towards healing the steroids problem in baseball, if Barry were denied number 755. Players who are using steroids would understand that it really is condemned. It would go a long way towards renewing the publics' confidence in the sport.