Wednesday, August 8, 2012

ESPN's SweetSpot: Bonds is Right

In a recent SweetSpot column, David Schoenfield discusses the  Hall of Fame candidacy of Barry Bonds.  Schoenfield agrees with a statement made by Bonds that he deserves to be a Hall of Famer.

Hall of Famer?

Schoenfield says that if people are holding Bonds' PED use against him, then they should only consider his career up to 1998, and judge him based on that.

Isn't that kind of like saying when evaluating O.J. Simpson's life, we should only consider what he did up until the point when his ex-wife was murdered?  Up until that point, he sure seemed like a swell fellow, right?

Even if we ignore his post-1998 career, it may be a bit naive for us to assume that Bonds didn't use PEDs before 1998.  Steroids were reportedly prevalent in baseball throughout most of the 1990s, so why should we assume that Bonds only joined the party in 1998?

Schoenfield goes on to demonstrate just how dominant Bonds was prior to 1998.  Based on the evidence presented, it is clear that the ten years of Bonds' career between 1988 and 1997 is about as strong as any player has ever had.  If we only used that as our criteria, then I think just about everyone would agree that Bonds is indeed Hall-worthy.

Schoenfield should have just ended his argument there.  Unfortunately, he follows up by saying that Bonds' alleged cheating should have no impact on whether or not he gets in.  He says that people shouldn't play the "moral police" in determining who deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

Really?  Hasn't baseball always done this?  Last time I checked, Pete Rose isn't in the Hall of Fame.  Should we just ignore the fact that he bet on baseball because he had a good career up to that point?

Apparently, Schoenfield doesn't hold cheating against a player because as he points out, several other Hall of Famers may have cheated in their careers.  I guess since everyone cheated, we can't hold it against anyone?  Even someone who may have ruined baseball's most cherished records because he cheated?

This is one instance where Schoenfield should have just stuck to the numbers.