Thursday, April 14, 2011

Jon Heyman gets it right

Here is an article from Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman where he gives his reaction to the Barry Bonds case and his place in baseball history.

In summary, he thinks it is fair that at least one of the counts held up and thinks Bonds should be punished in the way other BALCO felons were punished, with home confinement, and should not be treated as a special case. As for his place in baseball history, Heyman says:
            The Hall already inducted spitball pitcher Gaylord Perry without a stitch of uproar. Perry wrote the book (literally) on how to deface baseballs to get hitters out. A case can be made that Bonds' type of cheating is worse. But unlike Perry, I'd say he did it at a time when many were doing it, and he didn't start doing it until he already had a Hall of Fame career. I don't admire Bonds as anything other than a ballplayer. But that's what he was -- a ballplayer, probably the best I or many of us have ever seen.
I disagree a lot with what Heyman usually writes, but he gets this absolutely right. I recommend reading the whole article because it is so level headed and thoughtful I cannot believe it came from a national publication. There are a lot of cheaters in the Hall of Fame (Perry, Aaron and Mays used amphetamines when they were banned), a lot of guys who were bad people (Ty Cobb fought an amputee in the stands) and a lot of guys who played with unfair advantages (Babe Ruth played only against the whitest of the white). The Hall of Fame should be a place that captures all of baseball's history, good and bad, and puts it properly in its place. Put the best players in there regardless what they did. If you want to make note of their indiscretions that is great, but get them in there. Barry Bonds is the greatest hitter I have ever seen steroids or not and if I am ever going to bring my future sons Blade, Dallas and Willsmith there, Bonds better be voted in.

(Hat tip to Craig Calcaterra at NBC Sports for pointing this out and putting his own issues with Jon Heyman aside)

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