Friday, June 02, 2006

Guest Commentary: Barry Bonds - Defending His Records!

The following is a guest commentary by Mr. Michael Rubin, younger brother of site editor/creator David. Michael is an exec with Nikon, one of the Mets' proud sponsors, and is also a life-long Met's fan (and believe me, in their house, it's not like he'd have had a choice!) Remember- if you want a camera, don't just settle for any old camera- go NIKON!! (Was that a good plug, Michael?)

Without further ado, heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere's Michael's thoughts on the Barry Bonds "controversey" (and we at Trades, Tirades & GM Grades welcome your commentaries, as long as they are without profanity).

I'm going to publicly defend Bonds and his records. Everyone focuses on the Steroid Laden 1990's baseball and all the home runs.Yes Steroids are part of the reason that some hitters may have extended their careers or ability (and why Rafael Palmiero needs Viagra). However, 6 other factors need to be weighed in here, only 1-4 of which ever gets much play in discussion...
1) Diluted Pitching Talent (that's the one that gets lots of play); With further expansion came much worse starting and relief pitching making it easier for hitters in the 1990's including Bonds.

2) New manufacturer of baseballs. I think it went from Spalding to Rawlings (I forget) but there is no question that averages and home runs jumped after the change (another that gets some play).

3) Interleague play and the DH; With more American League teams these days, and with interleague play, hitters are getting a lot more opportunities to get home runs and score. McGwire and Bonds benefited from interleague play to be sure. (McGwire of course played in the AL for a while.)

4) Smaller, hitter's ballparks; Let's face it, it's a heck of a lot easier to knock one out at Pac Bell/SBC/AT&T than at Candlestick/Monster Park. With all the new parks of the 1990's came short porches in left and right fields that made for a lot more line-drive home-runs.

5) Everyone talks about hitters using steroids and the "unfair advantage"; the unspoken fact is MANY pitchers ALSO used steroids. There are many misconceptions about how steroids work. Steroids don't bulk you up per se-what they do is help your muscles heal faster and new cells develop faster which allows you to work out more if you are a hitter, maximizing your physical development (whereas without them you'd have to take a rest from the weightroom); for pitchers it's not so much about bulking up, although many did, (I think Roger Clemens bulked up more with cheeseburgers) [Editor's Note: Would they be "Fatburgers?" Read our Clemens Conspiracy Theory later today.] but it also heals those sore muscles so now the pitcher is ready on 3-4 days rest or is really in great shape by day 5.

6) It is well documented that players throughout baseball history have taken Speed and Cocaine (even back in the 1940's) to get that edge before and during a game. I'm not going to go further and accuse anyone, but Congress wasn't holding hearings then (and the press wasn’t digging in deep back then).With all that, MLB itself and the Player's Union, Donald Fehr and all the players can blame themselves for fan disappointment. Because of the strike in 1994, they felt the need to let players get away with everything they could (but lets face it, they always did) to get butts in the seats. So when suddenly Bud Selig is all up in arms-where was he as an owner when his players were juicing or as Commisioner when he could at least have said something, forcing the press to come down on the Player’s Union.That said, I'll celebrate Bonds' achievements with the only prejudice that he is not the nicest guy to the press and is selfish and egotistical-or just your everyday superstar athlete (with few exceptions).
-Michael Rubin

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