Tuesday, March 02, 2004

The Excuses are Wearing Thin

Oops, it appears that St. Barry Bonds is implicated in receiving steroids from the folks at BALCO.

Now the statheads are in a real dilly of a pickle, as Flanders would say, because the various excuses they have peddled in defense of their record-raping God are now falling down brick by brick.

First they said he wouldn't do it, and that it was libel to deduce or surmise that he did. It was a thought-crime, even. Ridiculous standards of evidence were insisted upon.

When confronted about bias the impression I recieved was that, no, they weren't defending Barry because it was Barry, it was about the principle.

Then more evidence piled. The attitude quickly shifted: well, MAYBE he did it, but it had nothing to do with his records, and its none of anyone's business if he did. People who accuse St. Barry are just on a witch hunt.

When skeptics like me would employ an argument roughly taken from the Hume/Sagan handbook ("extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence", which I altered and, paraphrased, could be stated as "extraordinary achievement requires extraordinary scrutiny", myself and people like me were again sneered at, and offered anecdotes of Ted Williams having a nice OPS in his late 30s, Hank Aaron having great seasons late in his career, and to top it off, Lee Lacy (yes, Lee Fucking Lacy) having a nice year in his late thirties too. This was supposed to exonerate Bonds, who hit 73 Home Runs at age 36, an age when reflexes and strength are waning in ballplayers. 73 Home Runs. When pushed, these people would then employ an appeal to pseudoscience, by stating the eugenics case that Bonds's genes were just that much superior to everyone else's -- everyone else in the history of baseball, apparently.

But now the safety blankets are being removed from these Linuses by a grand jury. And how deafening are the squeals (I love it!). There are so many "I hate it if this is true" admissions, quite letting the cat out of the bag that their denial was based not on the bullshit principle so many first espoused, but actually on a most flagrant and childish form of idolatry.

I think Orwell said that one should always consider a Saint to be guilty. Well, the statheads have made Barry a Saint. What goes up must come down in these affairs, because no one can truly embody that sort of perfection.

Bonds, who is a genuinely great ballplayer but not as great as THEY say he is, who is a certifiable asshole and who says things that can be genuinely taken as racist, will eventually get the asterisk that his record-raping deserves. So too will the stats of the equally deserving (but not equally sainted) Luis Gonzales, Sammy Sosa, and Mark McGwire. Of all of them, the only one who, I think, may have approached (but not broken) the Home Run record WITHOUT being "steroided" was McGwire, a huge man by any standard and one who, unlike the others, actually put up impressive Home Run totals before the steroid era.

I'm very close to saying to the Bonds hagiographers, in Gore Vidal's phrase, the "best words in the English language after 'I win': 'I told you so.'"

And considering how rude and obnoxious many of them have been to me, and how many have cravenly prostituted their otherwise fine intellects in the service of beatifying Barry, I'm gonna fucking gloat.

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