Is the problem Barry Bonds, or is the problem steroids?
Forgive me, I get confused. Whenever someone brings up Bonds in a steroid-related conversation, I tend to shrug it off -- see, I believe that there are folks working on this (heck, some are even making a career off of this) and that the truth will come to some degree of light sooner or later. There are a couple other reason I shrug it off, too, and neither of them are because Bonds plays for the San Francisco Giants.
But I digress.
After shrugging it off, I usually attempt to open up a can of worms that has been staying determinedly closed for a while now -- what have we been missing in this whole scandal? Or, put another way, who have we been missing in this whole scandal?
Some of you may bring up a Rafael Palmeiro, counter with a Jason Giambi or a Mark McGwire, but honestly I give a rat's posterior about any of them. Two reasons for that: 1) apparently, the rest of the nation doesn't give a damn about any of them, either, and 2) because they've all managed to find the eye of the hurricane.
Think about those players' role in this -- honestly, just as big of a role as Bonds', expect that they had the good fortune or common sense to not threaten Babe Ruth's or Hank Aaron's home run marks. That's the only difference between them -- Bonds has more talent, it manifested itself in the form of more home runs, and thus he's the focus.
The focus has wavered from Bonds for only short periods of time: McGwire's evasion in the Congressional hearings, Palmeiro's failed drug test, Giambi's admission -- those things brought us a week or three of Bonds' playing 1st and half fiddle (as opposed to 2nd fiddle). That's it, really. After that...SNAP! back to Bonds in a hurry, and another month or two of focus solely on him.
But to reiterate, I give a rat's ass about those other players, because my musings tend to go off on this tangent -- who else has ever taken steroids, or any other performance-enhancing drug, and gotten away with it?
Furthermore, what did they do during their playing days?
To be sure, not much -- at least, not much anymore. We don't know exactly who they are, or what they did, which tends to make most of us disregard the problem. If it can't be investigated, if the truth can't be found, why look?
Or, why bother, when we can just find Bonds guilty and be satisfied?
That's what this is coming to. People aren't really interested in broad, sweeping justice -- if they were, they wouldn't focus on Bonds. Bonds is a huge, huge fish in the pond, to be certain, but thinking he's the only catch is ignoring the real problem -- steroids.
Right? Steroids, remember? Other people have taken them in their careers, used them to enhance their performance, and done...what?
Did they use the drugs to help them have a career year (Brady Anderson, anyone)? Did they use them in Spring Training to help them win a job on some team's 40-man roster? Or...
Did they use them to help them hit a game-winning homer in April of 1990-something to beat such-and-such team? Perhaps a couple of those performance-enhanced players got hot in August and September, and used their man-made physique's to help propel their squad into a pennant race, or a wild-card spot, or...
...maybe even a few of those guys hit important, playoff series home runs, or...gulp...important World Series home runs.
Do you see the point? How can we know? We can't, really, but not being able to know isn't an excuse to ignore, which is what the vast majority of America is doing. They're ignoring all other possibilities in favor of getting Bonds, because that will satisfy them that all is right with baseball. If Bonds can't break the record, or, if he breaks the record but gets his accomplishments erased from history, then everything else will just fall into place.
Wrong. Everything else won't fall into place, it'll just fall into some dark corner of history that will never see any light.
Kirk Gibson is a hero, because he took some cortisone which allowed him to ignore the pain in his legs long enough to hit a World Series-altering home run. What would Gibson had done if he hadn't taken any cortisone? He wouldn't have hit at all...heck, he wouldn't even have come out of the trainer's room. What is cortisone? A drug, right? A drug that allowed Gibson to do something he couldn't have done otherwise...
...you see where this is going. If you aren't interested in where it leads, then you aren't interested in true justice -- you just want to get Bonds. That's fine, of course, but just be adult enough to admit it. You think the problem is Bonds, not steroids.
And that means you and I disagree.