April 10, 2006
Here comes the whitewash

Have I mentioned lately that Chron sportswriter Richard Justice is an idiot? In case I haven't, let me correct that oversight: Richard Justice is an idiot.

I'm sure it makes him feel all tingly and self-righteous to advocate wiping out Barry Bonds and anyone else associated with steroids from the record books. I'll say it again, this time with smaller words: The record book is a record of what happened. Not what you want to have happened, not what should have happened, not what might have happened, but what did happen. What comes next when you start denying that? Will all the pitchers who were victimized by Bonds have their stat lines retroactively adjusted? If we discover that some schlub would have won a league ERA title had he never faced Barry Bonds in a particular season, will we change that, too?

Nothing good can ever come from changing history in this fashion. I don't know what should be done with Bonds any more than Beelzebud Selig does right now, but I recognize a wrong answer when I see one. Don't give in to this, Bud. Don't tell us that we never saw what we saw, and don't tell us that numbers mean what you say they mean. We're all grownups here, certain sportswriters excepted. We can judge for ourselves. Keep your hands off the record books.

Oh, and by the way, Richard: Way to implicitly smear Sammy Sosa, about whom no one has made any credible allegations of steroid use. You're a class act, dude.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 10, 2006 to Baseball | TrackBack

Justice is obviously smarting from people asking him why he and his fellow journalists never - as he claims - considered the possibility that steroids were being used in the early to mid '90s and seems to think this will vindicate him.

Posted by: Pete on April 10, 2006 1:08 PM

Has Richard Justice ever kept score at a game? When the game is over you have to "prove" the scorecard:

"First, total the number of runs, men left on base and opponents' putouts for one team. Next, total the number of at-bats, walks, sacrifices, batters hit by pitcher and awards of first base due to interference for the same team. If these two totals are equal than this team's box score is proven."

All of the stats and records are tied together because of the nature of the game. There are always six outs per inning. Those must be accounted for and if we start taking hits away, do we count them as outs? That means ERAs would change, and it also means scores would have to change, so team records would change. I'm no baseball expert, just a die-hard fan, but even I know that there is no way to start adjusting individual records without it creating a domino effect. Justice is an idiot.

Posted by: Kevin C on April 10, 2006 2:45 PM

Gaylord Perry was a cheater. Mike Scott was a cheater. Or did the move Texas change your perspective on that? And what about the relief pitchers on steroids. If Bonds hit a home run of a juiced up reliever does that still get to count?

Mind you, Bonds irks me. And there should be some sort of punishment for his crimes, and those of McGuire, Sosa et al if they can be proven to have violated the rules. (Andro was a steroid or steroidish substance according to "Juicing the Game" albeit a legal one - so no rules violation there.)

Perhaps for Bonds, being Bonds is punishment enough. For McGuire, not getting to be Mark McGuire (say it ain't so, Mark) might also be punishment enough.

Posted by: benton on April 10, 2006 3:36 PM

Bonds belongs in the Hall, just as Pete Rose does, but he'll never make it in because of righteous jerks like Justice and his cohorts on the BBWAA (whom Barry pissed off years ago).

This obnoxious social piety is getting so bad that before long the only players eligible for the HOF will also have to be members of the FCA.

Posted by: PDiddie on April 10, 2006 11:51 PM

Oh, you had to get me started. And I'm not even a baseball fan!

First off, Kuff is right. Changing the record books is downright Orwellian. If Selig feels he must go down that road, the "asterisk" would be a better approach. State Bonds's record, state how he got it, and let the fans decide.

I have some sympathy for PDiddie's comment. I always felt that baseball had the legal right to ban Rose, but I've also felt that that punishment was overly harsh, as it would be for Bonds. (And siccing the IRS on him for failing to report his gambling "winnings" - even though, like Bill Bennett, he was a big net loser - was downright mean-spirited.)

The big question, though, is whether the investigation now heating up will look at the complicity of managers and owners. My guess is no - they'll just make scapegoats of Bonds and a few other players who've been "juicing," and ignore the fact that no one really wanted to know, except the fans.

Posted by: Mathwiz on April 11, 2006 3:09 PM

Why not just yank Darryl Kile's number down from Busch-3 and his initials down from Minutemaid? His death was medication-related, wasn't it?

Posted by: Laurence Simon on April 11, 2006 3:53 PM