Roger Clemens, steroids, innocence and bias: An insightful Q&A with my uncle

Here at SportsChump.net, we like to consider ourselves an interactive website.  This time around, my dearest uncle and lifelong baseball fanatic, has graciously agreed to partake in our latest Q&A and perhaps shed some light, or at least his opinions, on Roger Clemens’ innocence, Major League Baseball’s guilt and the steroids era. 

SportsChump: Unc, I know you’ve commented on the website in the past but please give my readers a little more insight, some sort of indication that you’re baseball-talk worthy and not just some bum off the street I chose to discuss the game with.  You don’t have to go into detail about your Bill James summer camp or your Bob Apodaca pajamas but do tell us all how long you’ve been a fan of the sport, your allegiances, likes, dislikes, turn-ons, etc.

Uncle Alex: Actually, they’re Ed Kranepool pajamas, but I digress.  I grew up in NYC, and since my mother was a Brooklyn Dodger fan, I (naturally) became a Mets fan at an early age.  I was hooked in ’69, when the Amazins won that improbable World Series, and I’ve been a baseball fan ever since.  I moved to Boston for college, and became a turncoat in ’86, following the Sox instead of the Mets.  The furthest I’ll go to justify it is by pointing out that the Mets had sucked for a very long time, while the Sox were electrifying early that year.  Clemens’ 20K performance against the Mariners was the specific event, and I think it was so important to me because I was a huge Tom Seaver fan.  Seaver held the previous record of 19, and of course it didn’t hurt when Seaver was traded to the Sox later that year.

Now I follow baseball in general and the Sox in particular.  My rant do jour is the silliness of the Boston media and its habit of trying to manufacture rather than follow the news.  The biggest culprit, IMHO, is Nick Cafardo, who proudly thumps his chest that he was the first to advocate Bobby Valentine as the new Sox manager (See his latest ‘objective’ story). Let’s see how that works out.

BTW SC, I know that your site has gone viral, so if Mila Kunis is one of your followers, my wife has given me a hall pass.

SC: Here are my memories of 1986.  I had just come back from living overseas, spent a tumultuous summer on Martha’s Vineyard and read the Globe’s sports page religiously to see how many Clemens had struck out the evening before.  That Sox team, as you mentioned, was pretty stout, Boggs, Greenwell, Barrett, Hurst, Gedman, Hendu, Rice and Dewey at the end of their careers, but Clemens was the star of that team.  The numbers don’t lie: 24-4 with a 2.48 ERA, CY Young Award and MVP to boot.

Without rehashing memories of how that season ended, what was your take on Clemens then, obviously pre-steroid era and how has your opinion of him changed afterward?

Unc:  He was a stud then and he was treated like royalty.  Until 1993, he lived up to the billing.  However, after several years of mediocre performances and his subsequent departure from Boston in 1997 (Remember Dan Duquette’s famous “Twilight of his career” comment?), I think a lot of people – myself included – wrote him off as another aging pitcher.   So when he became a stud again in Toronto and then the dreaded Yankees, I thought he might have been dogging it in Boston because he didn’t like management, the press, whatever.  Plus, the more press he got, the more unlikable he became (he doesn’t exactly make love to the mike).

Now it’s apparent how he resurrected his career.  Brian McNamee may be one of the only people in baseball with less credibility than Clemens, but there aren’t many people who believe he didn’t partake in PEDs.  I think he’s a person of low integrity who has sullied the game.  I also think that his former godlike status is a press invention – anyone who ever saw Pedro Martinez throw knows that Clemens is not the best pitcher ever – and that using PEDs to keep your fastball at 95 does not prove anything.  You may also remember that Clemens did not come to the majors with that split-fingered fastball he featured in the latter half of his career; he was strictly a fastball/slider pitcher at that point.  If he didn’t have the big fastball, the splitter wouldn’t have been nearly as effective.  Bottom line:  he was a great pitcher for about eight years, a mediocre one for another four, and then a chemistry experiment for the rest.  The credit he deserved for those eight years is more-than-offset by what he did from then on.

What do you think?  How does a guy like Clemens – who never owned up to it – compare with Jose Canseco, who was at least honest about it?

SC: I think Clemens-Bonds comparisons are fairest.  Those two dominated their positions and their trophy cases show it.  Fifteen combined Cy Young and MVP awards!  Both also denied and lied… allegedly.  But the issue here isn’t the lying, is it?  It’s the cheating in the first place.  Are we letting guys like Pettitte, Canseco and A-Rod into the Hall because they cheated but told the truth about it?  I don’t think so.  Would we have let Pete Rose into the Hall had he come clean about his gambling from the very beginning?  Probably not either.

Don’t get me wrong, there was a time (the Blue Jays-Yankees years) when I hated Clemens.  I hated Duquette just as much for not keeping him on the roster.  Sure, Rocket had his struggles in the mid-90s but how was Duquette to know Clemens was going to ingest a needle, er….work his ass off to get back in shape?

That being said, where does Clemens rank on your own personal, all-time hated athletes list?  And how long would it have taken you to be thrown out of the Clemens jury selection process?  I keep having this visual of one of the attorneys calling your name, you standing up, angrily pointing a finger at Clemens and shouting “GUILTY!!!” at the top of your lungs.  Then Gene Hackman and John Cusack would fight for you to remain a juror to tilt the trial, or perhaps I’ve just been watching too many John Grisham movies.  In all seriousness, there’s no way you could have sat on that jury and fairly judged the man for his innocence or guilt, right?

Unc: I don’t think that the use of PEDs removes someone from the Hall.  And Pete Rose would have gone eventually if he ever owned up to his little problem.  If Pettitte were better, he’d go.  Ryan Braun might go (although I think he never did ’em).  What do they have in common?  They’re likable or (in Rose’s case) worthy of respect.

Barry Bonds is the most hated man in baseball because he’s smart, calculated and smug.  He was already great but he wanted to be the greatest.  He weighed the odds and did what he did.  Clemens is not in his category because he’s a moron.  Clemens is more like Tonya Harding than Barry Bonds.  I mean, couldn’t you see him jumping in the ring with Tonya in a Jell-O-wrestling death match?  Barry would be sitting in the stands, wearing a fur coat, and holding his wager on Tonya.  Barry demonstrated hubris, while Clemens thinks hubris is a new Toyota model.

As for jury selection, I’d be the guy wearing the Red Sox cap, so I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t even call me up.

Back to the Hall for a second:  Many sportswriters think Clemens belongs anyway. Does this say something about baseball, or the fourth estate?

SC:  So then if you don’t think PED use excludes someone from the Hall, Clemens and Bonds are in?  In your mind, objectively speaking, you get a vote, are you putting them in and if so, or not, what’s your rationale?

Unc:  No, neither of them get in.  They used PEDs, and irrespective of the fact that they denied it, PEDs are the reason why they have Hall of Fame numbers.  If Pettitte managed to win 60 more games, I’d vote him in because his use of PEDs defined only a small portion of his career and, according to him, were used primarily to help him recover from injuries.  Same with, say, Brian Roberts. I’d be inclined to vote in A-Rod as well, because if you looked at the three-year period in which he claims to have used them, his numbers were not drastically different from the periods before or after the transgressions.  I suppose he could be taking HGH or another boutique steroid, but I’m inclined to say no.

But guys whose success was so dependent on steroids – Clemens, Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, Canseco, Juan Gonzalez, and Palmeiro come to mind – no way.

SC: I guess that’s where I’m torn, not to mention numb, about it all at this point.  How do we know who took what when?  How do we know Pettitte only did it when he said he did, or A-Rod, or any of them?  Pre-steroid allegation Bonds and Clemens numbers may have been enough to put them in anyway.  And what of the players that used that we never found out about?

The sport failed to police itself so, at this point, I could give a flying leap whether they’re in or out.  It’s all the same to me.  I’m not planning a trip to Cooperstown any time soon.  I honestly feel that Major League Baseball used guys like McGwire and Sosa to regenerate fan interest that had disappeared since the cancelled World Series of 1994.  They reaped the benefits and now the players are paying the price.  Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t feel sorry for them.  The only ones I feel sorry for are the fans left to decide what’s right and what’s wrong for themselves.  At least it makes for good debate.

Let me ask you this.  What do you think is fair and just punishment for these guys?  Is Hall exclusion enough or perhaps something further?  Would you prefer a public hanging or just an apology?  And IF they apologized and admitted to absolutely everything they did or didn’t do, would you find it in your heart to forgive them?

Unc: They were deceitful in a form of entertainment, not in providing me my mortgage, so forgiveness is not really the right word.  Maybe respect is more like it, and I don’t think so.  As far as further punishment is concerned, I’m ambivalent.  I suppose Hall exclusion is reasonable from here on out, but are we also supposed to clog the courts with criminal proceedings?  Look how that turned out for Clemens.  I think the enactment of very tough enforcement guidelines is the most important thing, and both the owners and the players association have to be willing to keep it up.  I laughed when the players objected to having their blood drawn for an HGH test.  So you can shoot cortisone into their toe-knuckles at will, but extract blood?  How dare you!

BTW – the sport will not police itself, just like big banks won’t police themselves.  They’ll take providing the perception of a squeaky-clean game if they can get away with fixing it behind the scenes, because that makes them more money (Case in point:  Sosa/McGwire).  I think it’s foolish to hold baseball or any other big-time sport accountable in this way.

SC: In the end, I guess we’re all left disillusioned.  There was a time in my life where I ate, slept and drank baseball.  Baseball cards, baseball stats, baseball everything.  That’s all gone.  I don’t know if it’s just that I became older and other things became more important in my life or whether the strike and impending drug scandal sealed the deal for me.  Do you still watch baseball like you used to?

If professional sports can’t manage themselves, whether it’s college football determining it’s national champion or professional basketball ensuring it’s officials aren’t fixing games, if we fans can’t believe that things are legit, real, then why should any of us bother watching?

Unc: I think that’s a little more cynical than necessary.  I mean, how do you know your corner grocer isn’t ripping you off for your gallon of milk, or your best friend isn’t sleeping with your wife?  You take a risk waking up every day, and believing in something – regardless of whether it’s pure as the driven snow – is still worth it.

And yes, I still watch a lot of baseball.  Why? Because Daniel Nava, who couldn’t make his college team, didn’t get drafted, and ended up getting bought for $1 (according to the article I read)  from an independent league team, has an OPS of over .900 while hitting lead-off for the Boston Red Sox.  It’s fun to watch, and there are still plenty of good things to root for in baseball and other sports.  All the other stuff is just white noise once the game begins.

SC: Therein lies the fundamental hypocrisy of your argument and where we continue to disagree.  You suspect Joe Pathmark is ripping you off, yet you still shop there.  You think your best bud is banging your girl, yet you remain friends.  You think baseball players are using illegal methods to enhance their performance and continue to watch.  If none of that matters, then who cares whether they get into the Hall of Fame or not?  By that logic, let ‘em all in.

Look, I’m not naïve enough to expect purity from everything, however, I do expect the same commitment from friends, lovers and sports that I give in return.  I don’t think that’s too much to ask.  If not, I don’t shop there, I break up with the girl and stop watching the sport altogether.  I’ve already done that with boxing and several ex-girlfriends that shall remain nameless.

I could easily switch this whole ‘sincerity’ argument to include instant replay, another topic on which we disagree, you being against it and me being for it.  What’s to say an umpire didn’t intentionally blow a call to sway the outcome of a game?

Unc: I didn’t say Joe and somebody’s best friend were on the sly; rather, it happens and it doesn’t stop me from going to the supermarket or having friends.

Back to baseball…  Bonds is Pettitte?  I see a difference.  Does Ryan Braun go to the Hall?  He got off on a technicality, so I guess your rules say no.  But by the same token, Clemens gets in because he was exonerated.  How about Whitey Ford, Gaylord Perry and Ty Cobb?  All cheaters.  Umpires? Out, because sometimes they get it wrong.

Bottom line: I’ll err on the side of hypocrisy over dogma any time.

SC: I feel like an old married couple, going round in circles on this, neither of us making any progress or reaching a middle ground.  That is what old married couples do, right?

It’s too early to tell on Braun.  He’s only been in the league six years.  He’s certainly on pace but once again, even though exonerated, he’ll be judged in the court of public opinion for even being associated with PEDs, just as the others have.

I guess the point I’ve been trying to make is this… I don’t care who gets in and who doesn’t.  As opinionated as I might be about a number of things sports-related, the whole Hall of Fame debate when it comes to these guys has me squarely straddling the fence, or at least ambivalent.  I’m not sure which is worse.

I think that if you have the all-time hit leader, the all-time home run leader and the all-time Cy Young award winner, three historical figures of the game in their own right, on the outside of the Hall of Fame looking in, well then, baseball’s got some ‘splaining to do, or at least a “cheaters wing” it should construct to allow them entry.  You also can’t convince me the sport can’t, or at least shouldn’t, monitor itself and hold itself accountable for the actions of its employees.  I don’t think we should leave that responsibility to our government or judicial system.  Ideally, they have better things to do with their time.

I’m not sure what we’ve accomplished here, other than perhaps bore the hell out of our readers… er, provide some healthy insight for debate, but it’s been real.

Is there anything else you’d care to add?  Oh, and I’ll tell Mila Kunis you said hello.

Unc: Actually, I don’t care much about the Hall, either.   Unless, of course, Mila wants to take a road trip.




41 thoughts on “Roger Clemens, steroids, innocence and bias: An insightful Q&A with my uncle

  1. Pingback: Roger Clemens, steroids, innocence and bias: An insightful Q&A with my uncle - BallHyped, MLB | BallHyped Sports Blogs

  2. Sorry dude, but your uncle is full of shit. Using PEDs now are wrong and illegal but why is everyone forgetting that during the time that Clemens & Bonds were using, they were NOT illegal to use. As a comparison, think back to the 1920s during prohibition and guys like Babe Ruth were drinking illegal booze like fishes. Does anyone see the hypocrisy? There’s legal and illegal with no gray areas.

  3. If anyone should be on trial for steroid use in MLB, it should be Bud Lite Selig for closing his eyes to it for the purpose of putting asses in the seats at ballparks.

  4. Snake…

    I’ll let my dearest uncle respond to that question. I’m not too sure anyone’s a Selig fan these days… although at least he didn’t ask Jim Rome if he beat his wife.

  5. Ted is going to be a great comedy this summer. The best part of it will be Seth MacFarlane doing the voice of Ted. Naturally, he sounds just like Peter Griffin (Family Guy). This Friday, the 29th is the release date.

  6. Chris

    If you knew the inherent dangers (renal failure , impotence) of grossly misusing PED’s as an athlete , would you still do it , even when there’s said to be so much at stake in terms of the financial rewards ? That’s the situation that these players faced but they eschewed because they sought to cheat . It was illegal and no one can use the premise about the rules of the game . The rule of law trumps that all .

    You know where I stand on this because I feel that Bud Selig has been a complete a@s when it comes to dealing with this matter , much like Goodell is now doing ng as it regards the testing of NFL players for PED’s , HGH and other illicit substances banned under the CBA (collective bargaining agreement) . How the hell the commissioner say with a straight face that the NFL has a handle on this issue ? They (NFL hierarchy) had an agreement in principle with the union (NFLPA) that had been voted on by the NLFLPA , ratified by their members but they have not started to conduct regular in season or off season testing . Anyone who believes that either of these leagues (MLB & NFL) have done their best to address the issue is clearly retarded .

  7. So Sandusky’s lawyers will seek an appeal on the ground that they weren’t given enough time to represent their client in the best way possible . Are you f$$king kidding me ? This piece of fecal matter is now under a suicide watch . Why waste the friggin’ time with his lame a#s ? Let the mutha-f$$ker hang himself or whatever way he chooses to take his own life , rather than the public having to pay for him to be incarcerated .

  8. All of a sudden Mila Kunis makes me want to do something really perverse things sexually with a willing female partner . ‘nough said ! I got more hooked unto her and Natalie Portman after seeing their girl-on-girl scene in the director’s extended cut of the movie ” Black Swan” . It got the old juices flowing , alright . Now feeling the same way about rocker Phil Collins’ daughter Lily , who was in the movie “The Blind Side ” and ‘Abduction’ . She’s appropriately age legal by the way , just thought I’d let you know .

  9. I would like to give my opinion on the very important subject of this post.
    I believe that Mila Kunis is smokin’ hot.
    Thank you.

  10. I read somewhere the PED use in MLB was rampant with as much as 85% using at one point… Under these circumstances how can these enhanced players be left out of the Hall? Especially when MLB in all their wisdom (it made the owners a ton of money) didn’t outlaw the practice until the effect on our young came into question.

    In another vein… And I want everyone to understand I don’t go here very often… I look at Bonds vs. Clemens and the results of their hearings as, like it or not, a racist deal. Both (along with how many others) were guilty of using PEDs and denying it while under oath… The black man took it hard because he wouldn’t bend over and take it while the white man (who equally wouldn’t bend over) got off…

    MLB abandoned and made an example of Bonds, pure and simple, and you can all argue that he’s an arrogant asshole all you want but what in hell is Clemens? What in hell are 90% of these pampered athletes?

    Bonds took the fall when MLB and their figurehead (Selig) should have been on trial not the players who have been geared their whole lives to do whatever it takes to win…

  11. Al…

    If what you’re asking me is whether I’d take years off my life down the road for another $100 million contract in the short run, well, that’s something I would definitely have to consider, just as a number of professional athletes have so far.

    We’ll see what happens to these guys ten, fifteen, twenty years down the road. Maybe only then will some light be shed on all of this.

  12. Al…

    As difficult as it is to understand, Sandusky had a right to a fair trial and his attorneys are just doing their job.

    Either way, the guy’s gonna fry and everyone knows it.

  13. Aer…

    I would have asked that in a poll question but I figured the answer would have been unanimous.

    The real question is whether she’s in anyone’s Top 5.

  14. Snake…

    When Old School, Wedding Crashers and Borat came out over the past few years, they marked a rebirth in R-rated comedies.

    Think about it.

    For the longest time, we had some nice PG-13 comedies, Dumb and Dumber comes to mind, but nothing that really pushed the envelope a la Animal House and Caddyshack.

    It’s good to see.

    I have a feeling Ted will do that and then some.

  15. Dwin…

    That’s exactly my point. We don’t know the truth about anything that happened in that era. So we judge some athletes because they’re not media-friendly but vote in others because we like them more? I’m not buying that argument at all. I’m glad most of you are seeing how delusional my poor, uncle Alex is. He’s old school and he knows it.

    Re: the race card, Dwin, I remember hearing Stephen A. rant about that a ways back but I honestly think they went after Clemens just as hard as they went after Bonds with neither of them getting preferential treatment.

  16. Chris… Do you think Clemens was innocent? I think we both know the answer to that… And yet Clemens walked…

  17. Innocent’s a loaded term, Dwin.

    Are you asking me if I think Clemens took steroids? Are you asking me if he broke the law? Are you asking me if he deserves to be in the Hall? Are you asking me if he should be judged any differently than any other player of his era that did or did not use performance enhancing drugs?

  18. Come on Chris… Innocent in terms of the charges brought against him in court that resulted in a judicial mess that they all walked away from… They didn’t walk away from Bonds… I fail to see the difference other than one was an uppity black and the other was white…

    I’m not here to convince you and I know I’m not changing my opinion… Bonds was wronged.

  19. I gotta be honest with ya’, Dwin.

    When it comes to the Bonds-Clemens trials and all the crap that’s happened, I really turned my head the other way. I didn’t follow it religiously because it didn’t interest me.

    Since I didn’t pay close attention to either trial, I can’t say for sure whether one athlete (Bonds-black) was mistreated more than the other (Clemens-white).

    Nobody likes Clemens. Nobody likes Bonds. They both have that in common. They’re both considered guilty of, as my uncle states, “sullying the game.”

    Bonds may have received more intense, or perhaps unfair, coverage because of that Game of Shadows book those two San Francisco Chronicle writers put out.

    But I can’t say for sure whether the Bonds case was any more racially motivated than the Clemens. That may very well be the case. Racism still exists in this country because too many of us fail to recognize, respect and appreciate the differences in others.

    Again, when it’s all said and done, I don’t think either of these guys are liked very much, regardless of their skin color, and I don’t think they get into the Hall, at least not at first.

  20. Let’em all in! I wonder how much it means to have Hall of Famer attached to your name when GOAT is floated around when you talk about Clemens and Bonds. Wouldn’t you rather be a GOAT than a HOFer anyways?!?

  21. Sandusky’s lawyers had the chance to ask for a delay originally and they chose not to do so . And then , they were going to use the premise that their client had a clinical disorder that led to his behavior , having consulted with several prominent therapists . But low and behold, they knew that crap wasn’t about to “fly” with the jury at all .

    Shrinkage to the <b"boys " and your sword” …….. you’d actually risk that ? C’mon man say it ain’t so ? LOL,LOL,LOL !!!

    I’m just your “horny” lil’ devil . Who wouldn’t want to ‘nail ‘ Mila Kunis ? See her in the girl-on-girl action from the movie ‘Black Swan’ (with Natalie Portman)

    Clemens’ lawyers ran rings around the prosecuting attorney and the government’s entire case . Pettite in part recanted part of his testimony and McNamee came across as a lying as#hole .

    If the Justice Dept can’t win a case such as this , even in light of the weak evidence that they had then what damn chance do they really have in going after the “white collar criminals ” of Wall St ? You’ve read my piece and the fact that the Justice Dept has yet to successfully prosecute any prominent bank executive in the wake of the Wall St financial meltdown , even though there’s enough proof of some really egregious malfeasance .

    Right now not even Selig hasn’t got a handle on this bs (misuse of PED’s) but yet you have idiots suggesting that baseball is now better off in terms of their testing protocols than it was a decade ago . How so ? Baseball much like the NFL is headed by up by a real as#hole !

    Goodell’s claims that the HGH testing will happen this season is god-damn joke ! It was meant to be in last season and not a god damn thing happened . Where’s the frigging common sense coming from in terms of the hierarchies of the NFL MLB ? C’mon Chris , answer me that ? Or can any of your patrons answer that question succinctly ?

  22. Chap…

    Baseball’s pretty full of itself. Has been for a while now.

    I want to know what sportswriters are going to do with all these extra votes now that Sosa, Clemens, Bonds and the rest of the shooter-uppers aren’t going to be getting theirs.

    I have the feeling we’re going to be seeing a bunch of non-deserving guys get in, the fringe guys who normally wouldn’t, because writers feel like voting for them instead.

    And then what do you have? The Hall of Pretty Good, that’s what.

  23. Al…

    With all that’s going on in professional sports these days, it looks like I’m going to have to renew my subscription to Court TV.

    Or maybe ESPN should just buy them up and save me the trouble.

  24. Chris

    ESPN /ABC and parent company Disney are making boatloads of money .

    Avoid Court TV as well as HLN with Jane Velez Mitchell and that nut-job on estrogen Nancy Grace .

    Speaking of which n why the hell would Marlon Byrd be using a PED associated with and used by weightlifters to counteract the effects of having a large pectoral muscle ? Byrd says his use of tamoxifen was a genuine mistake . That’s absolute bulls#it and he knows .it ………. because this was the very same player who jumped to the defense of Victor Conte of BALCO fame . The damn hypocrisy within baseball still continues and those morons who still feel the game has an essence of purity to it may well be anally retentive .

  25. On the night that Hank Aaron broke the home run record why was it that he was vilified by a bunch of racial bigots and not only his life was threatened but that of his immediate family ?

    But yet here we are discussing why Clemens and Bonds may or may not have been mistreated by this so-called Justice System or proper lack of it thereof because of the incompetency of the Justice Dept .

    We gloss over stuff like that because we don’t want to show the inherent fabric of society .

    .

  26. So Marlon Byrd get a 50 game suspension for using tamixofen …… a drug used by weightlifters to lessen the accentuation of their pectoral muscles . The player believes it was a glaring mistake on his part . That’s utter bull#hit because Byrd was in full support of Victor Conte and BALCO Labs . Not only that, he was vocally supported Conte during his trial . Now what ?

    The fans still believe this game to be pure and principled but that was eschewed long ago .

    tophatal …………

  27. Overall, a very interesting piece. Unc said “Barry demonstrated hubris, while Clemens thinks hubris is a new Toyota model.” Truer words haven’t been spoken. However, he then goes on to put Bonds in a category with players “whose success was so dependent on steroids,” such as Clemens, McGwire, Sosa, Canseco, Juan Gonzalez, and Palmeiro. This I have to disagree with. Bonds was a Hall of Famer long before performance enhancement.

    According to Wikipedia, “Bill James ranked Bonds as the best player of the 1990s, adding that the decade’s second-best player (Craig Biggio) had been closer in production to the decade’s 10th-best player than to Bonds.” Bonds could do everything – hit for average, power, draw a ton of walks, steal bases, and cover a lot of ground in the outfield. He was also tough to strike out. He is alleged to have started taking ‘roids at the very end of the 90’s.

    Without performance enhancement, Bonds’ total package would have placed him among the top 5 or 10 offensive players in the history of the game. With steroids, Bonds became a superhuman specimen, the likes of which has never been witnessed. Forget about Ruth, Aaron, Mays – Barry Bonds on steroids was better than all of them. Without ‘roids, he was in their class.

    Without ‘roids, I believe that Clemens may have been a borderline Hall of Famer. If he could have pieced together 80 or so wins after the Red Sox with diminished effectiveness, he would have merited serious consideration. McGwire, Sosa, Canseco and Gonzalez would not have come close. It’s hard to know the details of Palmeiro’s usage and how he was impacted, but I suspect his ability to stay on the field after the age of 34 was enhanced.

  28. Al…

    I can’t disagree with you on those counts.

    And I still contend one of the greatest sports biographies I ever read is Hank Aaron’s “I Had A Hammer.”

    Absolutely amazing the shit he went through.

  29. I agree with you, 2000, and I told him so.

    Bonds’ pre-steroids numbers were good enough to put him in the Hall.

    And overall, if you forget about the steroids, compare Bonds’ numbers blindly to the rest that played the game and it’s hard not to put him Top 5 ever.

    Thanks for siding with me along with the rest of the guys. I think my uncle is currently is hiding but I expect a backlash from him any time now.

    Stay tuned.

  30. Chris

    I’ve read that Aaron biography and it was outstanding .

    However people forget also that Larry Doby also had to go through the same vitriol as well .
    Shame to think that the country has progressed but at times we still can very witness the “darker elements ” to it .

    Goodell is backsliding on mandatory testing in the NFL , that it has become embarrassing to watch this a#s in his current position .

    And when will Selig get a clue concerning tv replay or is his moronic a#s waiting for the reinvention of the wheel and the motorized version of a motorized buggy ? The sports’ landscape has now become a cluster f#ck of idiots within the executive positions of the hierarchies .

    Now you have the Penguins in the NHL giving a player ( Sidney Crosby) a 12 yr $104 million deal . The kid has just come off three concussions , two of which were Grade 2 . There is no way in hell he will fulfill that contract . And less we forget the Coyotes are on the brink of bankruptcy and Gary Bettman as the NHL commissioner is so damn clueless . He’s now talking about the fact that he hopes that he and the union can reach a peaceful accord with regard to a new collective bargaining agreement . Say what ? The last time around the union buried the NHL hierarchy’s in so much sh#t they’re still digging themselves out of the mess .

    Are each of the commissioners of the four major professional sports without a backbone ? My answer is most definitely yes !

    tophatal …

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