Bonds undeserving of negative image

    Major League Baseball records will always be scarred with an asterisk next to Barry Bonds’ 73-home run record. There is no doubt in my mind that Bonds is juiced, but the degree to which performance-enhancing drugs have affected baseball is debatable.

    Bonds-haters will point out that Barry never came close to 73 home runs before 2002. They are right. In fact, that’s the only season that he ever hit more than 50 home runs. He’s only led the league in homers twice in his career.

    Yet Bonds remains the center of the drug controversy in MLB because he has the record. He is the king of the hill and someone has to tear him down somehow. The problem for future generations of baseball players will be how to do that. There is serious talk of banning substances like Zinc Monomethionine Aspartate, the supplement that Bonds has been using for several years, but what effect will that have on the game? Let’s look at what would happen if MLB were to ban the substance and begin testing players for it immediately, and what the punishments would be if the players tested positive.

    MLB cannot and will not punish for past offenses, so players who have been using would have to stop, but they’d still have reaped virtually all the benefits. Then, the players who are forced to stop using will go to a nutritionist and will begin a regimen of new supplements that are still completely legitimate. When MLB sees the problem with the new drugs, they will be banned, and the players will go through the process again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    Science will always have the edge on sports in the field of medicine; the sooner that this is understood, the sooner a feasible solution can be established. It will not rely on drug tests or investigations to figure out what the next big performance enhancer will be; the best solution will be integrity. Integrate a clause into the baseball union that forbids the use of unnatural, performance-enhancing supplements. Force the guilty player or players and the club as a whole to suffer severe repercussions for violations of the code. This should promote players and other staff to actively prevent controversial substance abuse while maintaining integrity in the game. If action like this is not taken, it can be assumed that, in the future, records will not last more than a few years before being shattered by the next big drug (user).

    Back to Bonds: It might not be fair, but he is not the guy to hassle about it. He has established himself as a great player because he is a talented hitter. He knows what pitch is coming and how to hit it. He is still the only player to have 400 home runs and steals in his career. He is still one of the undeniably greatest players to grace the field.

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