« Mark Teixeira Trade Speculation | Main | Padres Need A Bat »

Did Cal Ripken Read Game Of Shadows?

I am not one to get up on a pedestal and preach about steroids.  If you offered me fame and riches beyond belief, I might try give 'roids the old college try, consequences be damned.  I understand why Barry Bonds did what he did, and don't hate him for it.  Nonetheless, you have your head in the sand if you act like 1)there's any doubt Bonds took steroids and/or 2)his home run record will be on equal footing with Hank Aaron's.

I know it's really hard to hit a baseball no matter how jacked up you are.  I know that Babe Ruth faced watered down pitching with no minorities.  But Barry Bonds injected himself with many, many PEDs for years.  If any advantage deserves an asterisk, it's blatant cheating.  Check out this quote from Cal Ripken on Bonds:

"I'd like to think that until there is evidence or proof that he's done something wrong, you would give him the benefit of the doubt."

Seriously?  Sit down, read Game Of Shadows Cal.  There is overwhelming, staggering evidence that Bonds used PEDs.  For former and current players to deny it is ludicrous and insulting to fans.  I can respect a "no comment" on the issue, but not denial.  You can call Curt Schilling a blowhard, but at least he's honest.  Said Schilling on Bonds: "There's no gray area."  Exactly!  With, say, Jay Bell or Brady Anderson, there's plenty of gray area.  We need some evidence beyond a home run spike.  Fluke home run spikes can happen without PEDs. 

With Bonds, there was a well-researched book written and even his own grand jury testimony.  To act like there's any question here is sillier than presuming O.J. innocent.  I am not calling for Barry's head but let's call a spade a spade.

Please forgive me for the rant; I try to keep MLBTR mainly steroid-free.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Did Cal Ripken Read Game Of Shadows?:


Great article and a really good point.
But when we all look back at his career 10 something years from now how would we see him, as a Great hitter who did something he shouldnt have OR the greatest cheatter ever to play the game?

Right on. I agree. I don't hate Barry for what he did...many players did the same thing. Tons in fact. However, if anyone is actually going to say that they don't know that he took them, or even worse (giants fans), that he didn't take them, they are insane.

I like Bonds the baseball player. I can't stand him for the way he treated people for years and years around baseball. I can't stand that he said that Ruth was white, so he has had it harder than him. Did he battle addiction and alcoholism his whole career? Barry is an amazing talent and crappy person.

The top 3 single season home run record holders all juiced...presumably. So, I don't see why you can hold it against Barry more than McGuire or probably Sosa as well. People do because he is breaking a bigger record...and is an A**ho*e to people throughout his career. He is trying to be nice this year to change that...but people still remember how he has been for years.

I have a few major issues with this stance (in general, not just yours).

1. I haven't read Game of Shadows, or any of the other books/articles written about this stuff. Why? Because, as has been proven time and time again, anyone writing anything with an agenda can prove pretty much whatever they want by twisting and manipulating facts. They used sealed grand jury testimony, right? How did they get that? It was leaked, which violates federal law. Where are the books like this attacking Jeff Bagwell, Luis Gonzalez, Rich Aurillia, and the countless other guys that probably juiced? Oh right, those guys were "good guys" and media darlings, no need to drag their name through the mud.

2. Expounding on the above, why just Barry? Bonds has admitted he took something, but he didn't know it was steroids. Again, using hearsay, I guess you can "prove" he did. But why is it Bonds who is not only the focal point, but really the only point, of this entire witch hunt? It's pretty widely accepted that more than half of the players in baseball were using some form of PED"s, why are we not making a big deal about them? Is it because Bonds is a Hall of Famer even without the last 6 years of his career? Is it because he's black? I certainly don't think so. I think the answer is simple....he's a prick.

3. The greatest players of all time, most of them, play with a chip on their shoulder, and view things as "me against the world", and that's part of what makes them so good. Bonds had this chip in college (I'm assuming he's had it since little league), and he's always played the "me against the world" card since he's been a pro, but maybe that's what drives him. Problem is, once you develop a reputation as a hardass or a prick, it;s tough to live that down, and you end up spending more time defending your personality than you do your accomplishments.

So, because Barry is a "bad person" off the field, and is off putting with reporters, it's much easier to smear his name and spend countless hours trying to devalue his place in the game. As mentioned above, the nice guys, guys like Luis Gonzalez and Jeff Bagwell, we hear nothing about them because they were always accommodating to reporters and the media, and viewed as good guys.

It's simply a double standard, and maybe the most glaring double standard in sports history. Bonds is 43 this year, and right now, if the season ended today, he'd have to win the NL MVP. That must REALLY piss off the Bonds haters. He's never failed a drug test, he's not breaking any rule, and he's defying the odds by having one of his best seasons. What now? "Well, surely he's using HGH"...bullshit. Bonds played by the exact same rules everyone else in baseball did when there was ZERO testing policy, and he's presumably playing by the rules now that there is a policy. Meanwhile, a large % of the guys testing positive for PED"s have been pitchers. Hmmmm.

Again, I think the majority of the vitriol directed at Bonds is because of personal dislike, and people have always let that dislike cloud their better judgment. Barry Bonds should not be the fall guy for hundreds (maybe thousands) of baseball players who cheated, just because he's the second greatest hitter of all time.

In response to Russell's point: in 10 years, Barry will be seen as the best hitter baseball's ever seen who illegally added some more muscle and stamina as he got older.

The key point for me in all of this is all of the players who also juiced (Jeremy Giambi is a solid example for me) but who couldn't carry Barry's jockstrap.

Steroids didn't make Barry the player he is. Barry made Barry the player he is.

I don't see an agenda with the authors of Game of Shadows. Sure, they make money off the book, but it has a very factual tone.

It is unfortunate that Bonds's testimony leaked, but that does not make it inadmissable in the court of public opinion. In fact it's phenomenal evidence and can't be questioned. I wish we had the same for Bagwell but we just don't.

I repeat: there is no vitriol from me to Bonds. He does not make my blood boil. What makes my blood boil is a HOFer saying there's no evidence Bonds used PEDs. That is absurd.

There's no way you can say steroids did not make Barry the player he is. Steroids not working for some guys doesn't change the fact that they helped Barry.

He's not the best hitter baseball's ever seen if he never touches a PED.

"He's not the best hitter baseball's ever seen if he never touches a PED."

How can a rational person like yourself even say that? That's what cracks me up on the whole Bonds debate. People are so certain of things. Was Bonds using 'roids from '91-'95 when he posted EqA's of .341, .377, .374, .347 and .341? If you say "yes", how do you prove it?

Pre 1998, Barry Bonds is a first ballot Hall of Famer, and one of the 10 greatest outfielders of all time. I'm not really sure what changed in the last 9 years. Without the home runs, it wouldn't have mattered at all. Steroids help you recover quicker from injury, they might give you more strength, but they don't make you a better pure hitter. Give David Eckstein all the steroids you want, he'll NEVER be anywhere close to the quality of hitter Bonds was in the early 90's, let alone the last 6-9 years.

The burden of proof is on those who believe the outlandish claim that PEDs have zero effect on hitting. That's you. YOU are certain that Bonds would've made history with or without PEDs. That is the absurd claim here.

Maybe he's a HOFer without PEDs. I get that they don't transform crap players to stars, you need some base level of talent. But you're saying he's the best hitter of all time if you subtract the sizeable advantage of PEDs. Strength is part of hitting! Recovering from injuries is part of longevity!

You're still not getting the point of this exercise though. WHEN did he start using PED's? If you can tell me when, I can prove to you that he was still a Hall of Fame outfielder before he EVER took any PED's. And the thing is, if Bonds isn't a Hall of Famer because of the speculation, than NO ONE who played baseball from 1989 to 2003 should be put in the Hall. That includes Griffey, Bagwell, Biggio, Henderson, you name it. Because, you know, you just can't be sure which ones were using and when they were using. I'd also like Ripken and Gwynn to be taken out of the Hall too. No way Ripken could have played that many games without using steroids.

Stop saying hitter, player maybe but not hitter.

I never said Bonds isn't a HOFer. Who said Bonds isn't a HOFer? You are creating some kind of argument there.

I said he doesn't get the best hitter ever title.

And not knowing who was and wasn't using doesn't clear Bonds. It's like sorry man, a million people got away with it but we got you. TOO BAD FOR YOU. If I get arrested for murder, the fact that other murderers were not caught and are wandering the streets does nothing for me. I still killed a guy. Bonds used PEDs and it's factual. If we gather the same kind of info on Ripken, I'd gladly take him out of the Hall and asterisk his record. We don't have it. Innocent until proven guilty, and BONDS WAS ALREADY PROVEN GUILTY.

Wait, what? He isn't one of the best pure hitters? Arguing otherwise is foolish. He's got arguably the greatest strike zone eye in baseball history.

"he's the second greatest hitter of all time"

The above statement is VERY different from "one of the best pure hitters."

He's a fantastic pure hitter. He's probably a HOFer without touching a drug. But his records are tainted as are any claim on greatest ever. True, we can't separate out when he started using, but that is Barry's problem. That should affect his legacy and I hope it always does.

What exactly is Bonds guilty of, in the baseball sense? As far as I can tell, he didn't break ANY rules, and that's the point. He took steroids, sure, but how do we know who else took them, especially when it wasn't against MLB RULES. It was against federal law, so let the government prosecute him, and they can prosecute the rest of the players who did. To "cheat" there has to be a rule in place to break. As far as I can tell, there was no rule in place, no testing to uphold that rule, and thus, it's impossible to "put an asterisk" next to his records, namely because you can't pinpoint when he was using steroids and when he wasn't.

You typed it in all caps, so you must really believe it, but can you give me a link to where he was "proven guilty" of anything?

No way Barry is the best hitter in history. His OPS+ is still 3rd to Williams and Ruth and that includes his roid years.

Both Wiliams and Ruth have higher career OBP, as well. So its hard to say that he has the best command of the strike zone, when you consider he has the most career intentional.

Top 5 hitter of all time, easy. Top 3, probably. #1, i don't buy it. You can make a much better arguement for being the best "player" than hitter.

I'll also say this. How do we know that Hank Aaron wasn't on amphetamines? What if he was? Should we put an asterisk next to his records?

James you are trying to get Bonds off on a technicality and it comes off as very weak.


First and foremost, anyone who's defending Bonds who hasn't read Game of Shadows should really do so. It's not just based around some leaked grand jury testimony that proves without a shadow of a doubt that he took PEDs.
There is MUCH more evidence than that which proves his guilt. Things like calendars which laid out his cycles. The man was on half a dozen drugs at any given time and over a dozen during a complete cycle. Let alone the fact that he was long time poster child of Balco. Add the fact that his personal trainer was an infamous steroid distributor to many MLB players who have said they received steroids from him on numerous occasions.
You can go on for hours about all the evidence against him.
He's guilty and should be held accountable for it. Just like every single professional athlete who does so. This is not an issue of race or personality. It is a matter of sportsmanship and respectability, things that have been around long before Barry Bonds.

Like every other "secret" this will unfold over time. I can't wait to see the barrage of books and quotes that will surface over the next 2 decades proving without a doubt that this man was a juicer.

As a player, I love Bonds and always have. I spent 15 years of my life trying to hit a baseball half as well as Barry does. He just does some things that are easily taught, but rarely learned. Very rarely will you see him hook a ball around a foul pole. Barry can take almost any pitch in the zone and hit the ball directly out. It simply the product of a pristine swing and great vision. Another guy who hit alot of HRs did that. Think his name was Henry Aaron.
Only difference is Henry Aaron was a class act. Respectable and sportsmanlike. A man who deserves the historical respect that Bonds doesn't.

Bonds juiced. But I don't really care that much. That's the era he was from, and that's how we should look at his numbers.

I mean, isn't that what "best ___ ever" conversations are all about? Comparing people from different generations and trying to determine who was best?

Judge Bonds as the best hitter of a generation. He's certainly no less. As for whether he's more, well, that's a converstaion best saved for 10 years from now.

This line of thinking may not be very popular, but I can't even begin to consider Bonds HOF worthy. To James, you can easily point to when Bonds started 'roiding, When he went from a Doubles and SB type hitter leading off for the Pirates to becoming a 40+ HR guy with a huge head. So maybe in today's watered down HOF, he might have gotten in if he was 'roid free. But he wouldn't have ever been discussed in the same breath as Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Ted Williams, Henry Aaron or other top HOF hitters that have played this wonderful game.

Sorry for the double post, but i just looked on the baseball cube, and i would have to say it's a pretty solid guess that the 'roiding started around 1990

Ok, I'm not a Bonds fan, but I'd say the guy was a HOF'er before he PED's, or was on his way to a HOF career. Ozziethesaint, I doubt Bonds started taking steroids in 1990. He was hitting his peak years in 1990-1991, so that's a big reason why his stats jumped. Another reason is he slumped in 1989. Look at his 1987 and 1988 seasons, he was trending upward already. He took a step back in 1989, and then bounced back. Also, if I remember right Bonds was still a scrawny looking guy when he signed with the Giants.

I'm thinking it was around 1998 or 1999 that Bonds really started on the juice. I'm gonna say 1999, that's when his stolen base totals started to really drop off. Just by taking his career averages from 1986-1998 and adding them to his stats at the end of 1998, he'd be at 600+ HR, 500 SB, over 2000 walks, and close to 2000 RBI's. He'd also be closing in on 3000 hits. The guy was on his way to a HOF career, now he's going to have a tainted legacy.

I'd bet anything it was much earlier than the late 90's when he started 'roiding. I am old enough to remember seeing him come up with the Pirates as a skinny leadoff hitter. No one would have ever expected more than 15-20 hrs from him even with that sweet swing. He was destined to be one of the best leadoff hitters of his time. But he's a huge HR threat only because of 'roids

Post a comment

This weblog only allows comments from registered users. To comment, please Sign In.