Monday, August 06, 2007

Baseball: Barry Bonds and Pete Rose

I used to be into sports a lot more. These days I play almost no sports (except for my Tai Chi and Kung Fu class, and the occasional round of golf), and watch very little. This weekend was unusual. Yesterday I happened to catch the 500th homer hit by A-Rod (Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees). I missed Barry Bonds 755th homer yesterday, but saw it several times on SportsCenter this morning. And tonight I actually watched nearly all of the Mets game where Tom Glavine got his 300th win. That's a pretty big weekend of watching sports on TV for me.

Especially with Bonds' home run chase, I've been following these events more than usual. Bonds has been quite controversial, though I think people are making way too much of the controversy. Maybe he took steroids, and maybe he didn't. I don't think that has much to do with his results on the field. If you believe the talk about steroids, everyone in baseball was using them (or at least a lot of players), and not that many hit home runs like Bonds.

Hitting a baseball thrown by a major league pitcher is a very difficult thing to do. Steroids do not improve your vision, your patience, your hand-eye coordination, etc. Barry Bonds should be celebrated for his accomplishment. It's disappointing to see how he's mistreated by the media and many fans.

I rarely talk about race, but I do think there's something about it here. Pete Rose is fairly popular among baseball fans. I did a little research and Rose consistently does well in polls as to whether he should be reinstated and in the Hall of Fame. Bonds does much worse in comparable polling. This even though betting on baseball (Rose's transgression) is at least as bad as steroid use, and worse in my opinion. It's hard to explain the difference between Bonds and Rose and how they're treated, except for one thing. Bonds is black and Rose is white.

Pete Rose and Barry Bonds have had fantastic careers, and both should be in the Hall of Fame (Bonds when his time comes, Rose immediately).


Chip McCormick said...

There is some evidence that steriods can increase a players ability to make home runs.

The latest Inside Sports (on HBO) focused on Bonds with opinions from Selig, John Rocker and chemist who was arrested a few years ago for developing and selling a steroid that could not be found by the tests they had available then.

According to the chemist, steroids can cause players to hit a baseball more accurately. I think he attributed this to improved reaction time, which lets the player adapt to the pitches earlier.

Unknown said...

I understand Chip's comment, and it's certainly possible that steroids (if he used them) helped Bonds hit better, and more homers. But they didn't add 100 homers to his total. Maybe 10. Otherwise all the other guys who used steroids (supposedly half the league) would have hit a lot more than they have.