Bonds Cashing out?

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The best hitter since Babe Ruth hinted today that he might just retire before breaking the Bambino's lifetime homer mark, in the face of three recent knee surgeries and the ongoing steroids scandals.

"You wanted me to jump off a bridge, I finally did," Bonds [told reporters]. "You finally brought me and my family down. … So now go pick a different person." […]

"My son and I are just going to enjoy our lives. You guys wanted to hurt me bad enough, you finally got me," Bonds said. "I'm mentally drained. I'm tired of my kids crying."

The latest incidence of illegal Bonds-related Grand Jury leaking came over the weekend, when the testimony of Bonds' reported ex-mistress, who says the slugger copped to steroid use in 2000, was spilled across the pages of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Here's my take from December on George Bush vs. Barry Bonds, and here's a column from the March issue poking the Chron for confusing their government-enabling series of Grand Jury leaks to the Pentagon Papers.

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  1. Wow, getting caught cheating sucks.

  2. Damn. Bonds sounds like a typical democrat. I didn’t do it, you can’t prove it, and even if I did it was a conspiracy against me. Between steroids and players unions baseball may not be America’s pastime much longer. I prefer the Professional Bullriders Rodeos where only the bulls are on steroids.

  3. On the plus side, his head may shrink to the size where he doesn’t have to sleep sitting up, like the Elephant Man.

  4. Did he sign it:

    “P.S. I’m taking my ball and going home.”

    Disclosure: As a Dodger fan, anything that hurts the Giants is a net positive.

    Seriously, this is the pansy way out. Guilty or not, this taints him more than any of the accusations. He’s a quitter.

  5. It’s quite possible that Bonds has done enough damage to his body that he legitimately could be risking serious injury by continuing to play. While he is definitely a cheater and a malcontent, I wouldn’t dismiss the possibility that at 40 his body just can’t compete.

  6. Boo hoo hoo Barry. My how you’ve been made to suffer as a professional athlete.

    GUYK,
    Sounds like the typical Republican to me.

  7. It’s all about the knee. McGwire’s chronic knee issues, which are common among longtime steroid abusers (basically the muscles get too strong for the tendons and ligaments to handle), led directly to his retirement. I have a little trouble swallowing that Bonds had to have a second knee surgery because he “bumped into a table”. Plus, the guy is 39 – nagging injuries start to pile up at that age, regardless of whether or not you juice.

  8. WARREN: nope. the Republicans would be trying to figure how to buy there way out.

  9. Nah, they’d shriek about their accusers hurting families, and try to slip away while everyone’s distracted by the outrage.

  10. No, if Bonds were a Republican he would complain he was fired because his boss was a liberal.

  11. If these substances do indeed actually *harm* your body, as Don says, it makes me wonder if “the steroid effect” causes short-term spikes in performance at the expense of longevity.

    Color me a skeptic of the “steroid effect” one way or another, but assuming it exists, let’s look at some known users:

    Ken Caminiti — One MVP season, followed by a injuries, a quick decline, retirement, and death.

    Canseco — One MVP season, and a career wracked by injuries, failed promise, extended decline, etc.

    Giambi — One MVP season & several other good ones, followed by sharp & horrid decline w/ bizarre medical problems.

    I forget where Sheffield stands on this stuff, but his career features sustained greatness that has remained resilient in his late 30s….

    No conclusions, just thinking out loud. If you were a great player already, I’d guess you’d need to be desperate — about recovering from injuries, aging, or both.

  12. No, if Bonds were a Republican, he would claim the Dodgers are the “Team of Death” and his actions preserve the sanctity of life and baseball.

  13. 40-year-old athletes were suffering from bad knees before anybody knew the difference between a steroid and a stereo.

    But what a dick: It’s not like Gwen Knapp broke his knee, or turned him 40. Go out with class, slugger!

  14. Matt, did you mean Hank Aaron’s lifetime homer mark? I realize Babe would be next to be passed, but it is Aaron’s record. And listening to Barry the martyr prattle on, I’m rooting for the classy Hank to keep it.

  15. Kevin — Just bad wording. I meant the Babe, knowing full well that Aaron holds the “record.”

    And yeah, Bonds has been a serious jackass since the day he could talk, I reckon. My brother, who played against him in college, said that even then you could tell Bonds’ teammates just hated his guts.

  16. Bonds is a cheater and all his records should be throw out. As it stands now Sosa is the single season home run king due to McGwire and Bonds cheating. Sosa denied under oath use of steroids, which is fine for me until someone proves otherwise and he is charged with perjury. If Bonds or McGwire make the Hall of Fame that is a great travesty.

  17. Canseco — One MVP season, and a career wracked by injuries, failed promise, extended decline

    …and a line drive that somehow managed to bounce off of his thick skull and into the stands for a home run. Steroids or not, that blooper alone should be a source of eternal ridicule.

  18. Bonds the best hitter since Ruth? Who are you kidding. How good was he before he cheated. Mays, Mantle, Williams were all far superior to Bonds. Bonds should be a footnote in baseball history. Slugger ends up in jail for perjury given to grand jury in BALCO case. That won’t happen as he is too rich and society worships athletes too much for him to be prosecuted, even though he is a criminal.

  19. GUYK,

    you said “Bonds sounds like a typical democrat. I didn’t do it, you can’t prove it, and even if I did it was a conspiracy against me”

    Actually he sounds like Tom DeLay.

  20. professional sports :: retarded.

    the congress which investigates professional sports :: ______________

  21. jc–

    Correct, if by “priceless” you mean “clueless bunch of morons.”

  22. Borrowing from a friend of mine regarding the Olympics: Just legalize all the drugs and have a steroids bonanza on the field. Would that really diminish sports, especially compared to the spectacle of yet another mini-War on Drugs?

  23. “Bonds the best hitter since Ruth? Who are you kidding. How good was he before he cheated. Mays, Mantle, Williams were all far superior to Bonds.”

    Like all comparisons between different ages, it’s hard to say. But considering the amount of training, nutrition, and strict workout regiments today’s players go through do you think a guy like Ruth could even make it in the majors today?

  24. swami — Bonds, too, has been under oath (and without a lawyer present … so much for Miranda!), and there he denied ever knowingly using illegal or banned steroids. He may yet be tried for perjury, but that’s where it stands now. Sosa, whose answer was actually quite legalistic, has not, unlike Bonds, been made the center of a federal government fishing expedition. I have little reason to believe him more than I believe Bonds.

    And at the risk of having a pointless argument, Bonds was the best hitter in the National League in 1990, 1991, 1992, and 1993, finishing first, second, first and first in the NL MVP awards, when he was still a pretty skinny little punk. Using Bill James’ Win Shares method (which I believe to be the best way to compare players who performed in vastly different eras and ballpark contexts), Bonds was the best offensive player also in 1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004; the second-best in ’94, ’96 & ’97, and the third-best in ’98.

    Compared to Bonds’ 10 first-place seasons, Mantle had 10, Williams 9, and Mays 3. None had seasons with as many offensive WS as Bonds’ 2001, 2002 or 2004, and his 1993 amount would have ranked second in Mantle’s and Williams’ career, and first in Mays’. I’d still rather have Mays or Mantle on my team, personally, but as a pure hitter, we haven’t seen the likes of Barry since the Babe.

  25. swami: yep. Delay took lessons from Bill and Hillary. heck, it worked for them, why not Delay?
    Maybe Bonds should have said” I did not have sex with those steroids. You people just don’t understand the definition of ‘if’ and everyone would have supported him when the league impeached him.

  26. I don’t really follow sports, but I thought Sosa was caught corking his bat. Even assuming he didn’t use steroids (though I think the evidence that he used is about as strong as the evidence that McGwire used), he’s still a cheater, right?

  27. Matt,
    Actually it was in a game. He said he used the bat primarily for batting practice and he accidentally used it in the game, but he was ejected from a game for the actual corked bat. See here.

  28. So whether or not he’s lying, he was demonstrated to be a cheater, at least once. Something tells me this wasn’t the first time.

  29. Well, Don is not wrong, but streroids are not automatically bad for you. I think that if they were legal (in both the sport and for the rest of us) and that the athletes were given their cycle schedule by reputable doctors, athletes could use the substances to enhance themselves without the injuries. Where the problem begins is where these guys figure “if x amount of this substance helps me, then x times 10 amount of the substance will help me even more.” Of course, this is where your muscles grow too quickly for your tendons, ligaments and bones. Also, if steroid use was above the board, we could analyse their effects instead of having no idea who is and who isn’t using them. Gee, much like how other currently-illegal drugs would be much safer for public consumption if they were made legal.

    But I know, it’s cheating and cheapens the game, so we must keep steroids illegal. Oh yeah, and can’t we please think of the children?

  30. Just saw Bonds on the night news. He reminded me of Richard Nixon ” the press want have me to kick around anymore.”

  31. Bonds shrugged?

  32. nawww, he just cried because the press hurt his family. Were they on steroids also?

  33. Athlete Shrugged

  34. I don’t follow baseball very much, so please help me out. Is using steroids cheating? I assume there’s some rule against it, but if the league makes it obvious that it won’t be enforced, how is this cheating? A corked bat, on the other hand…

  35. I think baseball was the closest thing a typical American could relate to. Someone with a paunch, a bit of gray hair, bird legs, and an awkward run could still be a hero. There were also very classy personalities.

    But now it’s about spiking up with hormones, lots of bling bling, and generally acting like total assholes. They might as well be professional wrestlers.

  36. I watched Bonds on ESPN last night and never have seen such a pathetic whiner in my life. He’s embarrassing to even listen to.

    BTW Matt–you should have added to your list of steroid abusers and their subsequent careers:

    Arnold Schwarzenegger–multimillion dollar movie career, governor of California.

    Obviously steroid use doesn’t automatically equal physical destruction. And obviously Republicans aren’t against ALL steroid use. Wonder why Arnold hasn’t been subpoenaed yet?

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