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The former Daily Statesman is now The Dexter Statesman and currently does not have an operating website.

So, does he juice?

Posted Monday, August 6, 2007, at 10:03 AM

This photo came in an e-mail this morning. As my boss said, this looks like an editorial cartoon waiting to happen.
I know this isn't typically what I talk about, but this time I thought it might make an intersting topic.

This weekend, as most of you know, Barry Bonds tied Hank Aaron's home-run record. I still haven't decided how I feel about it.

As far as baseball players go, I don't really care for Bonds. Of course, being a die-hard Cardinal fan I probably shouldn't, but I just don't like his attitude. He seems to be kind of hung up on himself.

His chase for the record, or the single-season record, just hasn't had the same feel as it did with McGwire and Sosa.

I honestly don't think the steroid mess has pushed that many people away. While it might not have been spoken about for years, the existence of steroids in baseball hasn't been a big secret. I mean come on, how else does a player put on 40 pounds of muscle in the offseason? There's only so much that can be done without some type of chemical assistance.

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig didn't even seem to be all that impressed with the shot. He had this "get me out of here" look on his face. You would think at the very least he could have pretended to be interested.

His comments afterwards made clear just how unimpressed he was .

What do you think? Do you think Bonds has been juicing? Does he deserve to be where he is?

Showing comments in chronological order
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I guess it is too late to worry about it now isn't it. Either way he's famous isn't he and will always be part of baseball history. I have not watched a professional baseball game live or on TV since the strike. Not Americas sport anymore as far as I am concerned.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Mon, Aug 6, 2007, at 7:03 PM
Corey Noles' response:
You're right. It's too late now.

A lot of people feel the way you do about the strike. I went probably two years just out of spite. The home run race between McGwire and Sosa was what brought me back and now I'm probably a bigger fan than I was before. I just feel more energy now from the game. Maybe it's because I'm older, I don't know. That race brought a lot of people back, though.

I really miss seeing McGwire at the ballpark. Man, he could put on a batting practice show. I caught a batting practice home run ball off him in 2001. It took some scrapes and bruises, but I have it and it's probably my most prized baseball collectible.

When I was a kid my buddies and I were all avid baseball card collectors. We would spend hours talking about our baseball heroes that included Harmon Killebrew and "Sudden" Sam McDowell and Mickey Mantle, et al. It wasn't until I was a young man that Mantle's alcoholism and chronic womanizing was publicized. I'm glad I didn't know that when I was a kid. Rose colored glasses are sometimes not a bad thing.

Bonds established himself as one of the all-time greats before he allegedly began using steroids. Would steroids have helped Bonds have a higher batting average -- which is largely a matter of hand-eye coordination? I doubt it. Would they have helped him steal bases -- which largely depends on foot speed and agility? I doubt it. Would they have helped him as a fielder? I doubt it. Would they have helped him hit home runs? Possibly. More muscle mass will definitely cause the ball to travel further -- but it will also likely interfere with one's bat speed, which means that one's strikeouts will likely increase. If you look at Bonds year by year stats his at bats per strikeout ratio has been pretty consistent for his career. Corey, you mentioned McGwire and Sosa -- unlike Bonds both those guys struck out a lot.

Plus, you can't ignore that there is no question that Bonds isn't using steroids now. Yet if the voting had been conducted at this years All-Star break Bonds likely would have won the National League's most valuable player award. At the age of 43 he is currently leading not just the National League, but the Major Leagues in walks, on-base percentage and intentional walks! He is also 9th in home runs in the National League.

Bonds was born to play baseball and his stats were awe inspiring before the few years he allegedly took steroids and they are awesome in the years afterwards. Cut out the "suspect" years, and Bonds would still be spoken of in hushed reverent tones by kids 50 years from now. But I do know that if I was a kid today I'd be disappointed at the steroid speculation. It would be as bad as learning there is no Santa Claus -- but then again maybe kids are more jaded today.

-- Posted by FJGuy on Tue, Aug 7, 2007, at 8:34 PM
Corey Noles' response:
I'm not denying ability. He's a decent fielder and has been a great offensive player for all of his career. That I don't deny. Steroids don't improve one's ability to see the ball. They do however increase muscle mass that can make you hit the ball harder and longer. With enough players doing the stuff you create a situation where players have to use just to stay in the game. I don't doubt that most of the players we give hero-status from the 70s through the 90s probably all did the stuff. I don't like them any less for it, but it can definitely tarnish a record.

I don't think it's going to keep Bonds or McGwire out of the Hall of Fame. Their contribution to the sport has been to great for the hall to ignore forever.

If he took steroids, if he did we can't be sure when he started for sure. My concern is not for the home run record isself. I am concerned about other things. Did he ever hit a home run to win a game if or when he was on steroids? What impact would his steroid use have had on the other teams he played against. How did his actions impact pennant races outcomes? It isn't about breaking a personal record. If you really think about it, his actions if true are a major problem for all of baseball since he alledgedly began using.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Tue, Aug 7, 2007, at 10:53 PM
Corey Noles' response:
You make a good point, Truth. If the drugs are as rampant as I believe they probably are in the sport, theoretically it should balance itself out. I'm sure he wasn't the only one and he won't be the last. Maybe they'll refer to this generation as "The Steroid Era" or something.

There may be much use of steroids in sports and baseball in particular, I don't know. My concern for what he supposedly done is the impact it had on the career of other players, such as the pitchers he hit home runs off of when maybe they wouldn't have been home runs without the steroids. Maybe they would have just been long outs. Nine other guys that lost a game because he hit a home run that drove in the game winning runs. How do you give those games back to them if yoiu should. How do we know if SF would have won or lost games without him. This is not a good thing.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Thu, Aug 9, 2007, at 7:16 AM

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Corey Noles, staff writer for The Daily Statesman and Editor of The North Stoddard Countian, is the author of a regular baseball/St. Louis Cardinals column and also uses his blog to sound off on various happenings in sports. He also operates a weekly baseball mailbag column.

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