Thursday, April 5, 2007

755: From the Eyes of a Bonds Fan

There are very few San Francisco Giants fans outside of the San Francisco area. I just happen to be one of the few.

On Tuesday, Barry Bonds started a season which will be his most scrutinized and most exciting all at once, as he pursues to break the most sacred record in all of sports.

First off, the question is will he make it long enough to hit the 21 (22 from the start of the season, but he hit one last night) HR's needed to pass Hank Aaron? I think he will get it done this season, Bonds is as healthy as he's been in about 3 years. And he had an impressive spring with 7 HR's in 18 plate appearances. I think he will hit 35+ this season.

I always hear people bicker, complain, and lash out towards their hatred of Barry Bonds. Saying steroids made who he is; "He wouldn't have near as many HR's as he does without steroids." But too many people are discrediting his ability. I just finished a book about Bonds's career and his life outside of baseball as well, titled: Love Me, Hate Me by James Pearlman. It's a great read and you will know what I am talking about once you read it. But you will also find some pretty disturbing things as well.

But I need to clarify to the people who look at Bonds with doubt and skepticism. I don't think steroids made him a superstar. Steroids didn't bring him to history's door. And if you followed him in the early to mid 90's you would understand more clearly.

Sure, if he used them, they may have helped his power, and yes they probably did help his body recover quicker. But there is no drug in the world that can help a hitter distinguish between a 96 mph fastball and a 93 mph slider. There is no drug that teaches plate discipline. There is no drug that improves hand-eye coordination. And that's a fact!

Baseball isn't like other sports such as football, where players are useless without strength or size. Conditioning doesn't mean as much in baseball as it does in other sports. Bonds was a great hitter long before his head became inflated and his biceps got big and buff.

He never struck out a lot, and he always drew an amazing number of walks. He stole 52 bases at age 26 and hit 46 home runs at 29. He was heading to the Hall of Fame long before steroids came into question. And the thing about Bonds is, all the other alleged steroid users have tapered off and Bonds still puts up good numbers. So it isn't all about steroids.

As for 755, he's going to break it sometime. The more HR's he hits the more pissed people get. Why not celebrate the record? I mean he's one of the best hitters ever. I think it's time to celebrate Bonds and his HR's. Because steroids or not, he's one of the best players of all time.

( I know I will face some scrutiny with this article, and some hateful comments on this, but hey, bring them on. I want to hear some of your own insight.)


Bryan said...

"Conditioning doesn't mean as much in baseball as it does in other sports."?? Tell that to Jason Grimsley. Fact is, steriods help your body recover more quickly (as you acknowledged) which makes the need for conditioning almost non-existant. Over a 162 game season, that cannot be stressed enough.

About a year ago, ran a column about an independent study done to show how much taking steriods would really effect a hitter's power. They took the findings (that so much extra muscle equals so many more feet to a fly ball) and put it to Barry Bonds' numbers since 2003. He'd be on HR #640 something (I recall it ran sometime after the ASG and I can't seem to find it online) right now with last night's bomb, and that didn't take into account the immeasurable stat of how many more home runs he hit because he recovered more quickly then he would have normally. Now, 640ish is still an incredibly impressive number, but it would amount to where most people think Bonds should be in history: top 3 in HRs, but not at the top.

Look, Barry Bonds is an unbelievable talent and he's the most gifted hitter of his generation, but what rubs me the wrong way is he isn't the best without steriods. He's GREAT, but he's not the BEST, and he shouldn't have the honor of being classified as the BEST if he's truly not. It's sad that sometime later this season he'll be the most hated best ever instead of a beloved top 3. I know which one I would rather see.

And besides, none of this is going to matter in 10 years when Alex Rodriguez is sitting on the top of the HR list.

grittysquirrels said...

Nice post but I am sorry I just hate bonds. Like bryan said there is no way to prove really how many HRs he would have had he not taken roids. While there may be a way to measure how many it would roughly equate to you cannot in any way figure out how many he would bc of injuries and games that he was able to not mis because of steroids.

The thought of Bonds breaking the record really almost makes me sick. I will spend all of the summer rooting for A) The Brewers to win and B) Bonds to go homerless. And if he does break it then all we can do is hope and pray that pujols or Arod do break it after a fan of the game its all that i can really hope for.

stephen a said...

Barry Bonds: second best baseball player of all time

Bryan said...

It's official: I have absolutely no respect for anything steve fetch says about sports anymore.

Mini Me said...

A Bonds fan outside of the San Fran area? I think I just threw up in my mouth.

Minda said...

I'm not going to deny that Bonds has talent. But if he could have done what he has done without cheating, why the fuck didn't he?

twins15 said...

"Barry Bonds: second best baseball player of all time"

If he was never on roids, I might agree with that. As it is, when I compiled my list sometime last summer, I put it like this:

1) Babe
2) Willie Mays
3) Honus Wagner
4) Ty Cobb
5) Walter Johnson
6) Ted Williams
7) Lou Gehrig
8) Mickey Mantle
9) Lefty Grove
10) Barry Bonds

Bonds was an incredible player (best of the 90s) even before any of the steroid allegations, but I have a hard time putting him in the top 5, simply because we don't know what the 2003-2005 (I think those were the unbelievable years) would have been like. Unfortunate, but it is what it is.

stephen a said...

Roids or not, he's got the two best offensive seasons ever. And labore i dont care cause you wouldnt know what OBP is if you were given the on base part

grittysquirrels said...

Bonds is a cheater...plain and simple. It is literally impossible to know just how great he is because he made the idiotic choice to use steroids. You can speculate, and say things like, "he is great," or "he is really good", but you can't really physically rank him amongst the best all time. He ruined it for himself.

twins15 said...

"Roids or not, he's got the two best offensive seasons ever."

... which may in large part be because of steroids. Obviously this wasn't all due to steroids, and he is a fantastic player before he was ever taking anything. But it's hard to deny that they had a large effect.

He always had a great eye, but would teams have been pitching around him so much if he hadn't slugged .863 in 2001? And would he have slugged .863 in 2001 (when his previous high was .688) if he wasn't on steroids? It's pretty hard to dismiss that his 4 best seasons all happened when it was alleged that he was on steroids.

stephen a said...

Well I mean I don't want to flat disagree with you, but I would argue the key word is alleged. Granted, it's an extreme possibility that he used, but I would argue that steroids didn't make him a better player, just a different player. They added power, but took away his speed. He still had his great eye and ability to get on base, and OBP is the first non sabermetric stat you go to when evaluating how good a player is. Sure bonds more than likely used, but it's still innocent until proven guilty in my book.

twins15 said...

"but I would argue that steroids didn't make him a better player, just a different player."

I would strongly disagree with this.

He was already losing his speed due to age, so I doubt the steroids had that big of an effect on the speed. His OBP was always good (and again, he was a great player before any of this), but during the years where he allegedly (and almost certainly) used steroids the OBP jumped and the SLG jumped.

For comparison, here are the AB/HR totals:

1986-2000: 1 HR/15.09 AB
2001-2004: 1 HR/7.86 AB

Or to take out the first few years of his career before he started hitting more HR:

1990-2000: 1 HR/13.1 AB
2001-2004: 1 HR/7.86 AB

So yeah, that's a large difference. And if you don't think pitchers were pitching him A LOT differently during those years where the power was dramatically up (heck, you can even just look at the IBB numbers), well, I think you're wrong. So I think the power (which again I think steroids played a part in) had a huge effect on the OBP.

If he never took steroids, which is an extremely slim possibility, then I have no problem with him being ranked as the 2nd best player ever. I just think it's about 100% sure he took steroids, making it hard for me to give full weight to really any of the numbers between 2000-2004.

stephen a said...

When were steroids first ruled illegal? have they always been or am i retarded? or both. and I would say this is just as much baseball's problem for not doing anything. Personally I'd rather see a 1-0 game than a 11-10 game but that's a different topic for a different day i suppose.

ming01 said...

Bonds's best seasons weren't all during the alleged steroid use... 1993 was def. one of his top seasons... prolly his third best.

181 H, 38 2B, 46 HR, 123 RBI, 365 TB, 126 BB, 29 SB, .458 OBP, .677 SLG, .336 AVG

ming01 said...

also 1996 is up there too

twins15 said...

1993 and 1996 were both great seasons, but those don't even compare to any of the 4 seasons from 2001-2004. Numbers wise those may have been the 4 best consecutive seasons ever, and they are definitely his 4 best.

grittysquirrels said...

Good to hear this from Aaron...cuz if i was him i wouldn't be there to see the record fall. To a good, honest player and a great guy that i may not even consider a friend= yes. To a cheating, lying, disgrace to the game who's really not a very good guy= i wouldn't either.

Anonymous said...

Do any of you even know what steroids do? That term is being thrown around by everyone and my grandma, like they are experts or something.

Most hardcore steroids were banned between 1986 and 1990. On January 19th, 2005 you could still buy prohormones such as Androstenedione at GNC! A player using that would add distance on his hits too? Where do you draw the line?

I think people need to look at the facts. At 20 years old I was 6'2" at 175 lbs. I started working out, amateur bodybuilding, but I NEVER touched anything AT ALL that dealt with steroids, andro, hgh, or even natural supplements that boost testosterone. I am now 26, and I weigh 220, all muscle, 7% bodyfat. 18" arms. That is 45 lbs in 6 years! I take things like creatine, arginine, glutamine, whey protein, and eat good. Chicken, good clean food.. eggs, etc.. no junk food, soda, etc. AND WE'RE ONLY TALKING 6 YEARS! You are comparing an 18 year old rookie's physique to his physique 20 years later! 20!!!!! Even though the male testosterone level peaks at age 26, your muscle maturity increases until about 33-35. (When most bodybuilders peak out).. And you can NATURALLY build muscle until about age 45. So, quit being wusses and hit the gym. Not saying they didn't use steroids to take the easy way out, I'm just sayin that is it VERY VERY possible to put that kind of weight on without the use of drugs. I did it! And these guys have WAY better trainers than I could ever pay for.

"There are people in this world whose sole purpose is to try and figure out ways on how to undermine the accomplishments of others."

Muscle enhancers cannot slam a 95 mph slider into McCovey Cove. Barry Bonds can.

Personally, I hope he smashes the record.

ming01 said...

Bryan refering to the conditioning thing, you didn't get what I was saying. I was comparing conditioning/strength in baseball to other sports, such as football. Baseball is not like other sports where such as football where you are basically useless without strength. Please take the time to read everything.

TheNaturalMevs said...

Bonds is simply the worst human being in all of sports.