Thursday, July 26, 2007

Sports Scandal Agate Page, Make That Pages

Curt Schilling can be tough to take, but he's an infinitely more pleasant character than Barry Bonds. Leave it to Curt to let his fuel-injected 426 cubic inch Hemi motor mouth create a situation where he looks worse than the misanthropic sports medicine experiment gone bad.

Schilling went on Bob Costas' HBO show to denounce steroids and those players who used them. This did nothing but remind every one who cares that when under oath before a Congressional committee in 2005 and asked questions about this very issue, Curt grew vaguer than Alberto Gonzales. Maybe it's a Republican thing.

Schilling wasn't engaged in a coverup, of course. He just wimped out in a situation where he couldn't take back any words he later found inconvenient. That was prudent, but it sure makes him Schilling look smarmy when he plays the outraged maiden card and tries to be Chip Hilton on national TV.

Thought the second. The weirdest thing about the entire Bonds' brouhaha is that the defenders of baseball purity who condemn the Giants' star never once mention what is customarily thought to be the main purpose of cheating-winning.

Otherwise sensible people like Costas and Keith Olbermann wax eloquent and apoplectic at the prospect of Bonds breaking Hank Aaron's career home run record. But neither of them, or anyone else, ever considers the implications of Bonds' alleged cheating for the TEAM sport he plays. All those "tainted" home runs helped the Giants win a lot of ball games. Are those wins "tainted," too? The Giants won the 2002 National League pennant when Bonds was supposed to be in full lab rat mode. Should they give it back?

The questions are absurd on their face, of course. Trying to alter history is like pulling a thread off the sleeve of a nice sports jacket. One hard tug, and the whole thing unravels into a knotted pile of material both meaningless and useless. The rough public compromise on Bonds' forthcoming feat has already formed. He'll break the record, and most people will feel a faint but measurable sense of dissatisfaction. Sometime, not in my lifetime probably, a consensus will form on how baseball history should regard the Biochemical Bombers of the last years of the 2oth century. Spare the indignation for the sports scandals that involve cheating to LOSE rather than to win, as in the NBA, or the actual manifestation of pure evil in a big star, as in the Michael Vick situation.

My last words on Bonds, I hope. Surely there has to be a bicycle racing team desperate enough and with enough of a sense of humor to offer Barry a ride for the 2008 Tour de France. He'll show those ectomorphs how doping REALLY works.


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