Posted by: drew | March 10, 2006

Barry Bonds, the “Bill Clinton of Baseball”

Interesting comparison to draw. Despite the fact that Clinton has since taken responsibility for his actions, and it could be argued that his record and continuing deeds place him above the “Bonds bar” in many respects, it is true that Bonds’ behavior right now isn’t so different from Clintons during the Lewinski fiasco.

Doug Gamble writes:

Will he pay a price for the credible cheating charges that have been made against him? Probably not. Bonds has proven to be the Bill Clinton of baseball, portraying himself as the victim of those out to get him and refusing to take responsibility for his actions. And, at least up until now, the Teflon coating has held firm.

I predict that, when Bonds becomes the all-time home-run champion, there will be no asterisk beside his name in the record book because of probable cheating. He will not be prevented from entering the Baseball Hall of Fame. And, when the Giants make their first appearance before a home crowd this season, Bonds will be greeted by a standing ovation.

We no longer live in the “Say it ain’t so, Joe” era of “Shoeless” Joe Jackson and the Black Sox World Series scandal of 1919. We live in an era of, “So what? Everybody does it.”

Like Clinton, Bonds has had his enablers. Authors Fainaru-Wada and Williams report that Giants’s management ignored blatant signs of drug use, including Bonds’s association with a trainer known to be a dealer, so as not to upset their star player. Also ignored was Bonds’s working out at a gym known as a venue where steroids were readily available.

Fans are going after Bonds because they feel he’s besmirched the game. He’s a cheater. MLB has enabled this by dropping the ball over and over again as well.

Republicans went after Clinton with even more zeal, but perhaps also on moral grounds. Clinton got in real trouble when he lied under oath. (all semantics and hair splitting aside).

Will Bonds ever be “nailed”? How much direct evidence does the public and MLB need?

I’ll take Mr. Gambles tack and declare:

Barry Bonds is the George W. Bush of Baseball.

Unlike Clinton, Bush actually has gotten away with his administration’s behavior. This seems a more fitting parallel to draw.

Despite a preponderous of evidence, will Bush ever officially be held accountable for his actions? I’ll grant you that this perspective depends solely on whether you think this Administration has actually done anything “wrong” or “illegal”. Fair point.
On the same token, there are folks who give Bonds a pass because “that was the era”.

Will Bush’s name have an asterisk beside it in the list of American Presidents?

History will tell in due course, but I’m not holding my breath.

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