What should keep a person out of the Baseball Hall of Fame? If your name is Barry Bonds, that's one good reason.
Anabolic steroids create bonds in muscle fiber where there were none before. Blood flows through cells of all muscles, which are magnified and multiplied through the introduction of synthetic testosterone like a controlled cancer.
Damage through activity is reduced and healing accelerated.
That's what this class of steroids does to muscles. But they don't always do the same for careers. Game of Shadows by San Francisco Chronicle reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams pushes the knife in a little deeper into Bonds' career and reputation. No wonder he hates "the media."
Especially when someone gets caught. Now it depends on how success is viewed. I set the level at losing the respect of fans while the player may measure success exclusively in dollars, which have become blood-brothers with enhanced performance and results.
Cheaters don't belong in the Hall of Fame. I'm not willing to say that's an absolute, as it's all about the crime involved and its frequency. But when your success is as a result of an ethical cancer, you may have performed better but you have failed at being a better person.
But ESPN offers you a show, Bonds on Bonds airing Tuesday. A better title? "Broken Bonds."
Just over a year ago Congress held hearings, inviting players to do their best Ollie North act and deny any wrongdoing. Under the authority of the Federal Controlled Substances Act, the House's Government Reform Committee talked to players and coaches, including the Padres' Kevin Towers, who was in confessional mode.
It resulted in this year's much stiffer penalties. In the court of public opinion, of course, athletes are ahead of the game because some people have invested a lot of time, money and lung power in support of their players.
And I certainly can be considered guilty of this. I still have fondness for former Seattle Supersonic Shawn Kemp, a druggie womanizer who let his weaknesses overcome his strengths. But that type of failure seems a different animal then injecting for better performance. And I don't grudgingly accept that his illegal drug use was a good thing or that the appropriate league should turn a blind eye.
In the arena of sports all illegal drugs are bad, but performance-enhancing drugs are worse than others.
From a sports fan's point of view, because so many big stars have been suspected and, physically, have proved they've taken anabolic steroids without a medically-prescribed reason, the idea that none of their performances should end up in the Hall of Fame, is painful. In fact, it calls into questions the existence and the usefulness of the Hall of Fame if its best players â€” Pete Rose â€” are banned. In fact, all kinds of records and players could be called into question through the years, so the real question is, how do you drop a cut-off point? Maybe you create a Prance & Enhance League?