Saturday, December 04, 2004

INTERESTING STUFF FROM WILBON: On the whole Barry Bonds thing:

But what intrigues me now is the lack of public outrage regarding all of this. Okay, I've come to presume the Olympic sports, particularly the summer sports, are full of cheaters, from East German swimmers to weightlifters from virtually everywhere to Ben Johnson. Fair or not, I expect cheating from Olympians. Having covered six Summer Games, I'm constantly fretting there will be a drug scandal either on deadline or in the middle of the night. But one might expect more of an outcry over muscled up baseball player, fraudulently inflating home run and power statistics.

Baseball is every day and right where we live, not every four years and halfway around the world. Yet, I'm looking at e-mail after e-mail expressing emotions that overwhelmingly range more from sadness to indifference. Yes, Bonds (and Giambi, if he has a career left) will be booed on the road. But will Bonds be a pariah? I doubt it. Editorial condemnation doesn't seem to be reflective of what fans feel about the stars they pay to see. For every e-mail expressing true outrage (usually from folks who feel they are keepers of the game), there are five from fans who either still don't know exactly what to feel or are more hurt or annoyed than angry.

People in and around Washington were much more exercised on the issue of benching Mark Brunell a couple of weeks ago than they are over the news or the implication that Giambi, Bonds and Jones have all cheated their sports and lied about it, which leads me to wonder how big a scandal this is, if the people consuming the product are either so cynical already or so uninterested that by spring they will be diving into McCovey Cove to retrieve whatever Bonds can crank.

Via the Frog. I thought it was just me who thought it was the media stirring up the outrage over this--or just me who wasn't that exorcised over Bonds admitting what we had mostly known for years. Hey--maybe that explains the lack of outrage on the public's part; this story has been simmering for a while now, first of all--the Balco thing broke many months ago, right? The public has had time to judge for themselves, and probably decided that he was guilty somewhere in that time. So the outrage has been diffuse. Or else people just assume cheating happens in baseball since it always has. Or it's just part of baseball's general decline in the American consciousness. People had a lot more opinions about the Pacers-Pistons brawl, I think.

Anyway. At least Ichiro's hit record stands without asterisk.

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