Is Barry Bonds a Cyborg?


Writing in Editor & Publisher, baseball mechanics consultant Michael Witte argues that the protective armor Barry Bonds wears on his right elbow confers at least as much of an advantage as steroids might. With Bonds expected to break Hank Aaron's home run record this week, Witte counts seven ways in which the apparatus, meant to compensate for an injury, enhances Bonds' batting performance. Since I know almost nothing about baseball, I'm in no position to evaluate Witte's claims. But assuming they're true, shouldn't this "unfair advantage" arouse as much outrage as Bonds' alleged steroid use? Or is there something uniquely offensive about using a drug to do better at baseball?

Yesterday Aaron Steinberg, who reviewed Jose Canseco's pro-steroid book in the June 2005 issue of reason, asked whether Bonds should be blamed for steroid use by teenagers. Matt Welch analyzed the government's smear campaign against Bonds in a 2004 reason article. Nick Gillespie took up the subject in 2005 and  last June.

Back in 2003, Dayn Perry deflated steroid hysteria for reason readers. In 2004 I wondered why sports have to be drug-free; I revisited the subject vis-a-vis cycling last year, and in January I considered the civil liberties damage done by the anti-doping crusade. Also relevant: me on altitude rooms and Ron Bailey on artificial legs.

[Thanks to CK for the link.]