Unsealed Court Docments Reveal Bonds Used Steroids — In Other Shocking Developments, Water Proven To Be Wet

If there’s anyone out there that’s surprised at what’s been revealed in the court documents that were unsealed on Wednesday regarding Barry Bonds, I’ve got a bridge in New York I’d like to talk to you about purchasing.

Slightly used -- only one owner.  Cash only.  Call now.

Slightly used -- only one owner. Cash only. Call now.

Despite Bonds’ continual denials, there weren’t many believers left in the former slugger’s innocence — and most of them resided around the San Francisco bay, blinded from the truth by their years of cheering on their city’s favorite son.  Still, the released documents contain some powerful stuff — allegedly five positive tests for performance-enhancing drugs between 2000-2006, written description of the physical side-effects that steroid use had on Bonds’ body (Testicle shrinkage? Yikes!), and candid statements from currently-imprisoned trainer Greg Anderson detailing his confidence on why the drug usage wouldn’t be detected by testing, conversation that was apparently as normal to him as discussing what’s for lunch might be for you or I.

Greg Anderson's ideal lunch run

Greg Anderson's ideal lunch run

It still remains to be seen whether or not Bonds will be convicted on the federal charges of perjury he’s facing;  not surprisingly, Bonds’ lawyers are attempting to get the bulk of the damning evidence removed, and so long as Anderson continues to sit in jail and inexplicably protect a remorseless, conscience-deprived con-artist like Bonds, there remains a possibility that baseball’s all-time home run king* may remain a free man.

However, this information may be the final nail in the coffin for Bonds’ Hall of Fame hopes.  It’s clear, judging by the paltry vote totals that Mark McGwire has received since he became eligible for induction, that there is a large contingent of voters who will simply refuse to vote for anyone who has even the hint of steroid use hanging over their career;  McGwire was largely suspected of steroid use, but never failed a drug test, and the evidence of his actions were less than we’ve seen of Bonds’ already.  McGwire has peaked out at 23.6% of the vote in his thee years on the ballot, with nearly no fluctuation in his totals.  How many of those not voting for him will never cast a vote for any suspected user?  It wouldn’t have to be much — 25% of the total voters taking that approach, and anyone with any link to performance-enhancers will be getting into Cooperstown sometime after I’m elected.

A better test case to gauge that number of voters will be when Rafael Palmeiro becomes eligible for induction in 2011.  Unlike McGwire, whose major claim to baseball immortality centers around his home run prowess, Palmeiro was a more all-around player who accumulated many of the benchmarks normally guaranteeing election to the Hall —  3000+ hits and 500+ home runs his primary achievements.  No player who’s reached the 3000 hit plateau has ever failed to gain induction;  Palmeiro’s initial vote total in a few years should give us a better indication of how many voters plan on using the scarlet syringe as their impetus to leave implicated players off their ballot.

Along with Roger Clemens, Bonds will be an ever harder case to gauge;  this will be two cases of players who likely would have been in the Hall anyway without the use of steroids, and the sheer magnitude of their accomplishments will be hard for voters to ignore.  However, Cooperstown has survived well enough without the presence of the all-time hit leader for the last twenty years, so there would be precedent for excluding both superstars.  My thought is that both will end up receiving a significant amount of support from Hall voters — probably in the neighborhood of 50-60% — but there will be a stubborn block of ballot casters who will under no circumstance deem them worthy, and that will leave both of them tantalizingly short of election — unless something more “shocking” than these recent reports on Bonds comes to light in the future and reshapes the steroid-era debate to something more favorable towards those who have that cloud hanging over their heads.

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