Sep 22, 2005

Dan Wetzel is an Ass

Sir, you really need to get a grip.

About 90% of the time, I am going to shake my head when somebody plays the race card. But in the case of Barry Bonds, I think we should look at the way the media in general has handled the question of drug use by American athletes.

Let's examine, for example, another unquestionably good athlete, Lance Armstrong.

When the French Press was breathlessly reporting that a lab had tested urine samples Armstrong had provided in 1999, and had found traces of performance enhancing drugs, the sports media merely scoffed.

I can't think of one writer who took the allegations seriously, in spite of the fact that nobody has bothered to deny that the samples were indeed Armstrong's; other than Lance, that is.

Let's juxtapose that with Barry Bonds, who, during his incredible carreer has never even once tested positive. The media has, in spite of this inconvenient fact, insisted that Bonds has taken steroids. In fact, the more strident, such as yourself, assert that Bonds' guilt or innocence is decided merely on the suspicions of the public.

One of your respondants even had the audacity to claim that he couldn't have faced aggressive pitchers. Yesterday, Bonds homered, his 4th homer in 4 consecutive games, off of pitcher number 416. The opposing team could only shake their heads as they headed into the dugout. The pitch was not a hanging curveball or fastball left over the plate like the one Livan Hernandez offered him on Tuessday night. It was a perfect cutter low and inside.

I have been a Giants fan since about 1985. I was actually upset when Barry was signed. His arrival was sure to supplant my favorite Giant at the time, Will Clark. But I have since been won over. I have never seen anyone who could hit the way that Barry hits. Barry was no slouch before coming to the Giants organization and he just keeps getting better.

But Barry doesn't like the media. And most hack writers - there are very few good sports writers left - like to take cheap shots at Barry because it fuels controversy and ratings.

You can believe whatever you wish to believe, but without any evidence, and I mean not even a shred, to bolster that belief, you and all of the other bandwagon devotees merely look irrational and just plain mean.

If gaining weight and body mass were evidence of steroid use, Congress had better stop worrying about drug testing within Major League Baseball and start testing the hamburgers over at McDonalds. Half the school children in America are chronic steroid users, apparently, and something needs to be done immediately.

Furthermore, chronic steroid use shortens carreers and can even cause serious illness and death. Lyle Alzedo is a fairly good example of this.

And if all of that has no bearing on the seemingly irrational thought process of Barry's detractors, consider that he has come back this September and hit 4 home runs in 4 consecutive games, would have hit his first pitch for a dinger had it not been interfered with by an overzealous fan, has a .318 batting average and enjoys record sellout crowds in opposing team's stadiums.

For all of the talk that Barry's "cheating" has turned the public against him, the reality seems to vastly contradict his self-aggrandizing critics.

Barry is simply the best hitter to ever play the game and most who deride him do so only because they don't want him to overtake the fat, beer-guzzling, mouth-breathing, white guy who preceded him. The mostly-white sports analysts and writers wouldn't bat an eye if this was Derek Jeter or Mark McGwire. In fact, McGwire still has a few apologists in the media. But let's be fair. McGwire hasn't tested positive either.

Look at how many sportswriters are still pining away for Charlie Hustle's induction into the hall of fame, in spite of a mountain of evidence proving he bet on baseball.

Barry is better than either of those two in my opinion. And no. I don't believe he was a steroid user. I have no evidence that would give me any reason to believe otherwise.

But to be honest, I don't care if anyone uses steroids. I think it's a non-issue. I don't think that drugs ever enhanced anyone's performance behind the plate. Hitting a 101-mile-per-hour fastball out of the park is equally improbable whether or not one uses steroids.


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