Powered by TypePad

« The NSA Deal - Views Differ | Main | Winning Isn't Everything... »

March 09, 2006


Gabriel Sutherland

One thing about Bonds and the steroids accusations that don't add up to me is his on base percentage. Yea, he has gotten on base a lot more. But why? What could steroids do to help a player draw more walks other than the intentional walks he has received?

I'd like to see those stats carried as part of the equation in measuring how a player has improved so much as he has aged. Did he simply establish a better batter's eye as he accumulated more at bats, seeing more pitches, or did he really get an edge from performance enhancing drugs?


The lack of criminal charges is pretty much the only thing making me question the validity of some of the books sources. As for baseball itself, Bonds never failed a drug test, and never technically cheated. McGwuire used Andro a legal substance at the time. Same goes for Bonds. Watching pro sports try and put up a fight against science is going to just get sadder and sadder and the sooner people realize that it's a fight that can't be won, we'll all be better off.


Something about the whole thing makes me reluctant to chalk his improvement entirely up to steroids. No matter how hard you hit the ball, you still have to crank it on the sweet spot. Sure, you get chip shots that fall in, but everybody gets those.

You're just not going to pad your stats appreciably hitting it over the outfielders' heads. So you got a little more starch in your stroke--what's that good for in terms of average or OBP?

Unless steroids substantially improve your eyesight you have to credit Bonds with developing his hand-eye coordination at the very least.


Its about bat speed and reaction time.

Bonds has the quickest bat I've ever seen. He waits so long after the pitch to swing I've already called it a strike and I'm heading for the refrigerator for a beer. BOOM! His bat just explodes through the strike zone.

Steroids? Obviously. Same as Mac, Sosa and IMO probably my hometown hero Bagwell as well.

Is it all their fault though? They had to compete against other guys that were using them to make a living at a time when baseball didn't have the huevos to do what's right for the integrity of the game and in the best interests of their players. The owners and Selig are in it just as deep as Bonds.

Bob in Pacifica

How many homers are left in his bat? This year will tell. He'll have had his knees fixed and presumably healed, and he'll have a chance to pass Ruth and approach Aaron.

Having been a Giants fan since '74, I agree that Bonds is an asshole, a philanderer and, regarding steroids, a cheat.

The Giants really need his bat in the lineup.


More power=more guys pitching around you. HR and BB feed off each other.

John Edwards -- Annapolis, MD, USA

Bonds always had a great swing and knew how to connect. The juice pretty much just gave him twenty extra feet of distance, which is all it takes. How many times in a game do you see an outfielder going back, almost onto the track to catch a fly ball? For Bonds v2.0, that's a homer.

The real killer here is that Bonds was a shoe-in for the hall of fame. He would have been put in the same category as Mays and DiMaggio. Probably on the all-time all-star team of history. Now his career is more a matter of speculation than reality -- the question isn't how many will he hit, but how many would he have hit. He let it all just fall through his fingers.

Other Tom

A lot of his walks, though not "intentional" for scorekeeping purposes, are indistinguishable from being intentional. According to the SI excerpts, his steroid use did indeed improve his eyesight dramatically. The reason he was not indicted is that unlawful use or possession without the intent to distribute is a misdemeanor, and federal prosecutors don't ask for misdemeanor indictments--they were after BALCO and the distributors. I'm not sure why there hasn't been a perjury charge or tax evasion, and perhaps there will be. Selig's biggest problem would be in singling out Bonds--I would think he'd have to commission an investigation into use throughout the league, and the fallout would be catclysmic.

Kay in CA

I am going to be furious if Bonds breaks Aaron's record and it's not invalidated.

Gabriel Sutherland

crank: Half of the top ten hitters in base on balls were not home run hitters.


Inspector Callahan

All this aside - I think it's time to delete MLB's anti-trust exemption. Then it's time for MLB to tell the US Congress to worry about taxes, spending, and war, BEFORE they worry about how baseball is handling its own internal squabbles.

TV (Harry)

Rob Luke

Most of this discussion misses the point. Players will continue to use performance-enhancing and performance diminishing drugs, legal and illegal, no matter what happens to Bonds. And they'll get away with thanks to technology and innovations that beat drug tests. Better to acknowledge the fact and just publish who's on what whenever MLB gets a positive test in rather than punish the unlucky few who get caught.


More power=more guys pitching around you.

I think the actual equation in this case is More Banjo hitters surrounding you in the lineup=more guys pitching around you.

If my choice was to pitch to Barry Bonds or Deivi Cruz, Neifi Perez, and 147 year old Marquis Grissom, I'd IBB Bonds every time up too.


Half of the top ten hitters in base on balls were not home run hitters.

This link provides stats on each hitter.

And here is the list:

1. Barry Bonds* (40) 2311 L
2. Rickey Henderson 2190 R
3. Babe Ruth+* 2062 L
4. Ted Williams+* 2021 L
5. Joe Morgan+* 1865 L
6. Carl Yastrzemski+* 1845 L
7. Mickey Mantle+# 1733 B
8. Mel Ott+* 1708 L
9. Eddie Yost 1614 R
10. Darrell Evans* 1605

Evans is a longevity stat, but he had 414 HRs.

Yost is an old-timer.

Morgan and Henderson were great-eye lead-off hitters with 268 and 297 HRs respectively.

Going down the list, Wade Boggs at 22 and Pete Rose at 12 have limited power, but great batting eyes. Most of the rest are obvious sluggers - from the top 25, only those mentioned plus Eddie Collins (old timer) and Dwight Evans (ranked 25th in walks, and with 385 career HRs) lack 400 HRs.

So of the top 25, 2 old timers and 5 "moderns" lack 400 homers.

I'll bet the graph of Walks/Appearance versus sluggug percentage shows an obvious correlation.

And in Bonds' special case, he was so much better than his teammates that throwing him a strike was foolish.


Yeah and arguing baseball stats with crank is a losing proposition. Go check his site and see some of his research.

In fact I was going post post over there this morning and decided they knew way too much more about this Bonds thing than I did and I should just buzz-off.

Interesting thing about this Bonds deal - for me, it changed how I feel about Pete Rose getting in the HoF. Now I see the point people have been making about what he did on the field.

Same thing with Bonds. He was going in the HoF before all this anyway. Put him in, put Rose in, get it over with.

I'll never be able to look at those home runs in the record book without shaking my head though, and that's a shame because statistics is one of the things that makes baseball beautiful.


BB was amazing on his own for years. His years with the Pirates were beautiful-- he didn't need to take anything to compete. That's the thing with him- the argument that he had to juice because other guys were juicing just doesn't work. His problem was that he just didn't want to get old and retire. He's vain and competitive and he wanted to go on (and go out) as the best.

There was a time in my life when I saw BB out and about frequently- it was in the early 90's. He was a slender man AND the MVP. It was obvious the man's entire body type changed between those years and the later Giants years. Obvious. That baseball pretended not to see it is inexcusable, and both he and his team should be sanctioned.

Other Tom

Bonds was a surefire hall-of-famer without steroids. Rose was a surefire hall-of-famer but for gambling. Keep them both out. The reason Rose was banned was for destroying the integrity of the game by (at least potentially) altering the outcome of games improperly. Bonds has done that on innumerable occasions through his cheating. If you look at his pre- and post-steroid statistics, it is as evident as can be that he would never have remotely approached Ruth or Aaron but for his cheating. I can see no way of preventing him from catching them, but if he is banned from the hall no one in the future can ever raise any question about the methods he used to compile his numbers. One effect of steroids not mentioned on this thread is the effect on longevity--they prolong careers, in addition to ameliorating fatigue in the course of a season. Bonds's ratio of at-bats to homeruns was cut virtually in half at exactly the age when his father was forced to retire.


Exactly, Other Tom. Bonds watched Andy VanSlyke, and Gary Redus, and Bobby Bonilla get older and lose their superiority. Bonds wasn't going to let that happen to him. As their bodies gave in to age and use, his body transformed into this incredible bulk.
He shouldn't be allowed in the Hall of Fame- its a fair consequence of his action, and a good message to send other players.


Well, the baseball writers control both the Hall of Fame entry and the MVP award - why don' tthey turn their energies their, instead of trying to figure out whether Bonds cheats on his cash payments from card shows like every other player probably does?

Billy Bob

Three points for the Barry Bashers:

First, if Barry Bonds did, indeed, take steroids through 2003, as the book alleges, he broke NO baseball rule or regulation. Sure, he got an advantage, but so did anyone who lifted weights or took other steps to get stronger and in better shape. Where do you draw the line when there were no rules against what he did??!!

Second, the steroids don't put on the muscle, it's the Human Growth Hormone, or HGH, which the book alleges he took. The steroids help him work out more frequently (it is taken by tennis players to help them play on multiple consecutive days). Barry's work out routine is legendary - hardly anyone can keep up with it. That could be explained by the steroid usage, but it's not like you take steriods and sitting around the house and bulk up. It still takes a lot more work than almost any other player is willing to put in.

Finally, in the 70' through the 00's, almost every player routinely took "greenies", or speed, to help them play. If you're going take away anything from Barry, take all awards from everyone in this era.

Enough of the Barry Bashing!!


Billy Bob,

Yes, and no.

Anabolic agents are just that, they not only build muscle, but add speed, reduce fatigue, promote rapid healing, add quickness, improve conditioning, etc.

Barry Bonds worked out yes, but his ability to do and the benefits of those work outs were produced by performance enhancing agents.

Having said that, I don't believe Barry Bonds cheated. He used whatever advantage available to him to maximize his performance.

It is possible though that he broke the law, or several laws: perjury, tax evasion, receipt of controlled substances without prescription, etc.

And yet these are not the reasons that might keep Barry Bonds out of the Hall of Fame.

Rather, it is the fact that he lied to the public, his teammates, coaches, managers, repeatedly, knowingly, consistently, over many years.

Baseball, like other great systems is transcendent. The Game is greater than any one player.

The Game matters, and Bonds' behavior may be deemed harmful to the Game.

It will be his cowardice that keeps him out of the Hall.

Say what you will but we are a forgiving people. All he had to do was say, "I was juiced, and I am sorry." And all would have been forgiven.


Shame, this.

richard mcenroe

Never mind the steroids. If Bonds wants his records to stand, have him kill a fifth of bathtub liquor before each game like Ruth did.

Let's see his swing then.


Barry Bonds used Steroids

Did you see this...

Other Tom

For Billy Bob:
First, no one cares whether he "broke any rule or baseball regulation." If he did what he is quite clearly shown to have done, he broke federal law, and did so in order to gain a competitive advantage over his colleagues and predecessors who didn't break those laws. Everyone knows why there was no "baseball" rule against this conduct: labor negotiations and resulting contractual agreements, which could legalize murder if both sides agreed.
Second, it doesn't matter much to any sentient being which of the many substances he took put on the muscles, improved the bad speed, and apparently cured his vision problems. None of the people with whom he is competing in posterity took any of them at all. He is cheating against them, and he is lying about his cheating.
Finally, I know of no reason to believe that taking "greenies" would enable a hitter to double his ratio of homeruns to atbats, or to increase his batting average by forty points after the age of 35. But if anyone can show me any reason to believe that greenies would have such an effect, and that this or that player took those greenies, I would be happy to see their records expunged and the players themselves thrown out of baseball.
Then maybe the US could beat Canada.

Robert Speirs

I can't believe anyone cares what drugs any baseball player takes or took, or why the law cares, at all. They're grown men. They are in control of their own bodies. Anything else is whining and tyranny.


Well, or a demand for fair sports and true atheletes. If we're going to look the other way when people cheat in sports, what is the purpose of having rules? If it's ok to juice yourself, why not cork the bat? Or scuff the ball before a pitch? Or fix the game? It's all the same to the fan, right? Doesn't really hurt anybody.


I can't believe anyone cares what drugs any baseball player takes or took, or why the law cares, at all. They're grown men.

Well, Barry Bonds is a grown man getting paid millions of dollars to take certain risks with his body, and he can certainly afford a trainer, a physician, and anything else he wants.

However - if baseball does not ban these steroids, they are creating a powerful and perverse incentive for high school kids who want to improve, or border-line prospects who want a major league contract.

IIRC, there is a pretty good minor league testing program (weak union), but I have no idea what the testing and rules are in, e.g., the Dominican Republic.

Oddly, by this logic steroids ought to be allowed *only* for highly paid Major Leaguers. Well, there it is.


Then there should be safe leagal ways for high dchool students to improve. Sending them toward a black market is not going to solve anything.

As for greenies, most baseball fan knows that come the All Star break many player begin to lag a bit. A good example is David Wright, who could hit a ball out of the infield the few weeks before the break. Speed (the drug) changes that. instead of lagging, a player is energized heading into the break. Now 50 percent of the players were estimated to have used them, setting a "bad" example for the nation's youth and while not technically cheating, gaining an "unfair" advantage over those players not using. Should we have federal investigations and toss recods for those found to have used speed? This goes back decades! This is insane.

Bob in Pacifica

Regarding walks and home runs, during his steroid run he was lucky to get one or two pitches A GAME in the strike zone. That, plus the rest of the lineup being pretty mediocre gave the opposing pitchers no reason to get near the plate with Bonds. For some of that stretch he did have Jeff Kent in the lineup with him, so that gave him some protection, but otherwise he was on his own.

As for whether or not his records stand, how do you figure where the talent ends and the steroids begin? You can't. And throw out everything before Jackie Robinson, because the majors didn't let African Americans play. And throw out everything after the late sixties because of advances in medicine (rotator cuff surgery, training methods, etc.). Once the Hall of Fame is emptied of all the fakes, I figure this will clear the way for Frank Malzone's place of honor.

Not that it really means a damned thing. Now, whether or not the Niners can get a good tight end in the draft, that's important.


Apparently my "s" key was not working this morning.

Bob in Pacifica

When I get excited, my "s" key becomes a "!" key.


I wonder if instead of a tight end the Niners go for a new quarterback.

The comments to this entry are closed.