Why Bonds passing ‘the Babe’ is not the story that it should be

Justin Satzman

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In what should be one of the biggest stories in sports history is suddenly becoming a nuisance. Barry Bonds will become the player with the second most home runs in history. He will pass Babe Ruth sometime this season.

But the fact that no one is excited about it is the bigger story. There are many reasons for this. One could be the fact that Barry Bonds has gone through numerous investigations, alleging that he used performance-enhancing drugs. Namely, that he used steroids.

Let’s just get this out of the way; Bonds is a great player. It pains me to say this being a Dodger fan and a person who respects the game. But baseball has always had these little problems, which is something no one talks about.

I know that many people regard Babe Ruth as some godly figure, but let’s look at him logically. He played in an era where all the players were white and did not keep in shape. Ruth’s meal before a game was hot dogs and beer.

Imagine how many good players there would be if some minorities in the Negro League were allowed to play. Ruth may still have been a great player, but he may not be regarded at the best.

This era, the one that Bonds has made his mark in, will most likely be known as the “Steroid Era,” because the majority of the players have been accused of taking steroids and a couple of people have admitted to taking them.

Now Bonds takes the majority of the criticism for a couple of reasons. One is because he is on the verge of breaking Ruth’s record. But another one could be race.

It has been well-documented that Bonds is arrogant and basically a jerk to the media and to some baseball fans. He gets angry with the media for reporting on him. He once even called a press conference just to tell the press that it had worn him down. I have no idea why you would tell the media this. Bonds does bring a lot of this negative attention on himself with his arrogance.

With this being said, however, Bonds is not the only person who is accused of taking steroids.

Jason Giambi admitted to taking steroids, and was basically given a free pass as soon as he started to produce again.

Jose Canseco admitted to taking steroids. He even wrote a book about it, and because of it new drug testing polices are in place because of his tell-all book, “Juiced.”

Mark Maguire, who was accused of taking steroids, pleaded the Fifth Amendiment in Congress, is never talked about because he is seen as a hero for breaking Roger Maris’ single season home run record in 1998, which Bonds broke again in 2001.

Sammy Sosa, who seemed to have forgotten how to speak English when he was summoned by Congress, is never talked about anymore regarding steroids.

Major League Baseball is not even going to have a stoppage of play when Bonds breaks Ruth’s record, because they do not want to be associated with Bonds.

But baseball needs to realize that this is their own mess. It ignored the accusations after the strike in 1994 because the home runs brought the fans back.

These are not new accusations, but now baseball has to deal with them and putting an asterisk next to these records will not make them go away.

Baseball will survive this like it survived other scandals, but if the sport keeps alienating older fans, it will not have many fans left. It does not market to younger fans well, who would rather play basketball or football and it does not market to the inner city at all. But if something does not change soon, baseball will no longer be America’s pastime, if it even is anymore.

Justin Satzman can be reached at sports_sundial@csun.edu.