One Strike, No Balls

The Major League Baseball season starts this week!  I’m a civilized American, citizen of the world, and a lifelong Phillies fan so I care: you’re a bumblephoquing Floridian so you don’t.  We can agree to disagree on this.

But elsewhere in the universe, the trial of former SuperSteroidStar Bobby Bonds has commenced, and among the first witnesses to confront him is his former mistress.  Hoo-ha:

Barry Bonds’ former mistress testified Monday that he blamed a 1999 elbow injury on steroid use, and that the body and behavior of baseball’s home run king changed during their nine-year relationship.

Called by prosecutors to the witness stand, Kimberly Bell choked up as she recalled Bonds once threatening “to cut my head off and leave me in a ditch.”…..Bell said that Bonds’ sexual performance declined in the later years of their relationship. She said that his testicles changed shape and shrank. She also testified that Bonds grew and shaved chest hair and developed acne on his back.

A visibly uncomfortable Bell testified that Bonds’ behavior also changed over time. “He was increasingly aggressive, irritable, agitated and very impatient,” she said….[S]he testified that Bonds verbally abused her starting in 1999, saying that in addition to threatening to decapitate her Bonds said “he would cut out my breast implants because he paid for them.”  —Newser.com

Hitters like it when their strike zones shrink — it means on borderline pitches, umpires respect their judgment, and give them the benefit of the doubt.  We’re not talking baseball when their balls shrink, though.  As for cutting out her breast implants, well, that’s really stretching the term “dugout” beyond tradition.

Lord knows what he would have done with them, anyway — snorted them?  Injected them into his own shaved chest?  Sold them on e-bay to pay off gambling debts?  No, that would be Pete Rose.

This is only going to get uglier, but the good news is that Bonds himself is no longer suiting up and playing baseball, and the sordid business of his alleged drug abuse and bad behavior both on-field and off will be but a sickening aside on the sports pages.  With the passage of time, I suspect the world will regard him not as an evil force, but a tragic figure, one whose drive and ambition were perverted, then corrupted, first by ego and delusion on his part, then encouraged by others’ greed and apathy to his personal health and well-being.  As P.T. Barnum noted decades ago, freak shows sell tickets.

Too bad.  But the 2011 season dawns, untainted, pure, virginal.  Play Ball!  If you’ll pardon the expression.

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9 Responses to One Strike, No Balls

  1. ya' gotta' guessit says:

    It’s the trial of SuperSteroidStar *Barry* Bonds, Squathole…B-A-R-R-Y, like that famous Indonesian you helped elect.

    • Squathole says:

      Hey, I’m just one vote, not even eligible for the primaries, and it’s rarely for a winner. If you want to thank the person who REALLY helped him get elected, talk to your famous Alaskan. Last I read, she was looking for Libya from her bedroom window.

      • Lois Terms says:

        Aren’t you one of those Florida Nader voters that put a smirking chimp in the White House?

  2. Good blog….we’re fighting three wars, Mike Huckabee liikes to say “Mau Mau”, the economy is shit and Squatz focuses on Barry Bonds’ balls.

    Shame he wasn’t doing coke…it’d be a ‘freebase on balls’

  3. Lu Senz says:

    Good post. That well-named Scrooge up there sounds like a navel-gazer — from the inside.

    Bonds is on trial for perjury, not using steroids. There isn’t any doubt he used steroids, just as there isn’t any doubt that many, many players were abusing them as well. The nature of the competitive sports professional is such that once the practice took hold, many believed they would have to join just to remain in the game.

    As a sportswriter in Chicago for many years, I made my best work telling stories about the outlaws, misfits, troublemakers, and pranksters in the game. Baseball has always been about guys getting an edge on the others — pitchers sneaked nail files and sandpaper on the mound, and they collaborated with their catchers on concealing foreign substances on the ball. Managers manipulate umpires, steal signs with spies in the bullpen and stands, and order the grass cut long or short to frustrate opposing fielders and bunters. Bugging devices appear in visitors’ locker rooms. Phone calls interrupt the next day’s starting pitcher. Etc. Great stuff.

    Players have used caffeine, amphetamines, and all sorts of supplements for years. Steroids were just another wrinkle in the unfolding fabric. Who draws the line and tells players they’ve gone too far?

    Barry Bonds was a Hall of Fame player even before he decided the lock would be the HR record. The same ego that drove him frantically forward exists in every major leaguer or they wouldn’t be there. It’s a matter of degree, and most agree Bonds overplayed it. This is the tragedy of Barry Bonds: in pushing past the boundary that wasn’t even drawn before he crossed it, he destroyed everything he wanted, worked for, and achieved, including his own body.

    There’s a real-world lesson to be learned here, as there is in most sports, but not everybody can appreciate the fact. Right, Scrooge?

    • Borkon says:

      I get all this, Lu. I see both sides. It all might just come done to the undeniable fact that Barry was a real bastard to a whole lot of people, including the media, who delighted in trashing him. He was a lot like his father, who I liked a lot, but who also had a streak of independence and alienated everybody he came into contact with.

      Bottom line question: do you vote him into the Hall of Fame?

  4. Stan Garde says:

    If athletes want to inject themselves with toxins to improve their performance, let them. It makes for exciting entertainment both on the field and off as they crash their cars and get in fights and babble stupidly to live TV cameras. They earn a whole lot more money than anybody else and die young in a blaze of glory. What’s the problem? Win-win for everyone.

  5. London Movie Pro says:

    Excuse me. I say. Did I stumble upon a movie page about James Bonds brother,

    Barry?

    I find the whole discussion of their bollocks quite unseemly and not to my liking.

  6. Flaming Yon says:

    Bell said that Bonds’ sexual performance declined in the later years of their relationship. She said that his testicles changed shape and shrank.

    ….and that’s her sworn teste-mony.

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