Dear Ken Tremendous,
I was on the internet today and happened to read your Open Letter to Theo Epstein
. I'd like to talk about that letter, and I apologize to you and anyone else reading that this is going to be boring and unfunny. I blame you.
As far as points 1-4, 7, 8 and 10: as I said from the beginning, I'm leaving it up to Theo as to whether or not the Sox would be better off spending their resources on Bonds. They probably aren't. Bill James has already made a great case
for not signing Bonds on a pure baseball-performance level; I don't need Ken Tremendous running the numbers for me when it's already been done by the pros. (Why does anybody read this website anyway?)
I didn't think this was going to be about numbers or even baseball analysis. I also didn't think you were going to call me an asshole.5. Barry Bonds hated Boston and thought it was racist, before he had ever been there. That seems like a dude you definitely want on your team, which plays in Boston.
I'm fine with it. I'm fine with a guy saying that he didn't want to play in Boston because he thought it was racist, four years ago. I'd be even more fine if that same guy decided to retract his statement, and play in that very same city if it proved to be his only viable option (which again, it won't; this is all hypothetical and pointless).
As I said before in the comments to the original post, I think it might help repair the racist image of the Boston sports world if the Sox signed one of the most high-profile African-American athletes in the country, especially at a time when no one else wanted him. I don't think it would make a big
difference, but I certainly don't see the problem. I mean, if you don't like Bonds for calling Boston racist, wouldn't you want to see him admit that he was wrong, put on the Sox uniform, and (hopefully) find out that he was, in fact, at least kind of wrong?
That might be an unlikely scenario, but, within the universe of scenarios wherein Bonds plays for the Red Sox (I'm so bored right now), I submit that it's more unlikely that he would end up saying something like "Man, this place is even more racist than I thought." To be sure, Boston has its problems, but I like to think that (a) the situation is not nearly as bad as Bonds thought it was and (b) he'd be on his best behavior anyway and therefore pretty careful about what he said about his new team's town.6...Now, I know a lot of guys in professional sports can proudly claim one or more of (a)-(f). But only one has all of them. And you want to put that guy -- that 43 year-old mini-scrotumed douchebag -- on your team?
There are hundreds of guys who are guilty of (a) and (b) (using PEDs and lying about it). Are you certain that none of them played on the 2004 or 2007 Red Sox? (Again, Gagne.)
I'm going to assume that every single baseball player cheats on his wife until proven otherwise, and I don't really care much if a guy cheats on his taxes or buys a house for his mistress (c). I'm not in favor of these things, and I also don't think it speaks very well for him. But I also don't root for my sports teams based on character. I root for the Boston Red Sox, and so do you. Sure, I'd prefer that they sign nothing but dudes who spend every non-baseball-playing-moment volunteering at the Jimmy Fund, but I tend not to worry about this kind of thing.
As far as calling racism everywhere he went (d), yeah, I'm not fond of that neither. But I'd also be willing to bet that he's been the victim of racism more often than you or I. In fact, I give him a pretty long leash on this one...do you think he would have booed so vehemently if he had been white? Hard to say.
As far as the kids thing (e), well, if you're going to lie about using steroids (which again, dozens of players have), you might as well use your kids, right? I give him points for creativity. And skipping a Home Run Derby (f)...you really care about that?
I can't defend everything Bonds has done. My main point is that many of his transgressions have been unnecessarily vilified, or seem worse relative to other players guilty of the same shit, simply because of how good he was, the stage he played on, and, perhaps, his race. None of those things are his fault.
Some people are jerks. Some of these jerks play baseball. Some of these people will end up playing for the team you root for. Would you root for a guy who was guilty of 1 of these a-f things (and surely you've rooted for at least one player who's taken steroids for years)? How about 3? Where do you draw the line?
I say once you're a fan of a team, you've signed up for the absurdity of the whole thing. You can't control who your team signs. You want to root for people you like, sure. But there's so much about these players we don't know, anyway. How sure can you be that Bonds is more of a douchebag than Mike Timlin? How can you even measure that? Why root for one but not the other, if they were wearing the same uniform? Are we still friends?9. Let me ask you something -- and you too, dak. Is there any part of you...any part at all...that thinks that this would go well:"Barry?""Yeah?""Hi. Allow me to introduce myself. I'm Dan Shaughnessey."You want that? You want what follows that in your clubhouse?
Fuck, I don't care. Part of me thinks these two guys deserve each other. My biggest concern would be that Shaughnessy would garner more attention if he gets to cover the Bonds beat.
Do you want to be the guy who makes a case that this clubhouse atmosphere would adversely affect the performance of the other players? Go ahead, dude. Be my guest. I thought I knew you.
11...With (dak')s logic, there is no crime, no matter how heinous, that a player on your favorite team could commit that would sour a positive result on the playing field.
Of course there are crimes that are so heinous. I would not root for a team of convicted murderers, or players who have been proven to fix or throw games. I don't know how I would feel if this guy
turned out to be Curtis Leskanic, but it would certainly wouldn't make me feel great about the Sox '04 Most Awesome Thing Ever.
As you know, I don't think Pete Rose belongs in the hall of fame. I think Barry Bonds does. I also don't really care that much, because almost everything about the Hall of Fame (again, the Hall, not the Museum) is poopyshoes.
Every day Pete Rose passed a sign on the wall explaining to him that anyone who engaged in the exact kind of behavior he was engaging in would be banned from baseball for life. Until 2003, MLB didn't even have a penalty in place for steroid users until 2003. (First time violators faced the near unbearable penalty of...counseling
But I just can't fault a guy for taking steroids when there wasn't a penalty for it. I'll take it to the extreme: I still think there's a case to be made that it's worth taking steroids today, in certain dire injury circumstances, and risking the first time 50-game suspension. People have broken the rules in every sport since the day they were invented. In the case of steroids, Bill James' travelling analogy
seems worth bringing up (remember when he was on your side of the argument?).
Fortunately, sins of the highest magnitude (incest; game fixing; finding SJP more attractive than Trachtenberg) are weeded out by a combination of the law and MLB policy. Of course, those are the easy calls. The real question for both/all of us: where do you draw the line?
I don't have an answer.
Aaaaaand, I win!
Labels: barry bonds, bill james, michelle trachtenberg, red sox, steroids, theo epstein