It was just two short weeks ago that I was lauding the Miami Marlins for how they dealt with Scott Boras. At the time, I couldn’t heap enough praise on their upper management personnel, who laid in to Boras. Their words were heartening, but apparently, that is all the moral fortitude that the Marlins have for this off-season. I write that, because last week the Miami Marlins announced their coaching staff for the 2016 MLB season. The big name added to the staff? One Barry Bonds. Yes, that Barry Bonds.
The very same man who saw fit to Cheat his way not only past Roger Maris’ single season mark of 61 home runs in a season during the 2001 season1Yes, I’m aware that MLB and Elias both had Mark McGwire as the record holder at that time. However, McGwire’s PED history precludes him from holding any such Honor., but also the man who would Cheat his way to 763 career HRs, to pass the immortal Hank Aaron.
Bonds will not be the first PEDs player to coach in the big leagues. Mark McGwire has been around as a coach since 2010. McGwire, however, revealed his mistakes prior to becoming the hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals. He had a penitent heart, even if he may have been misguided in his statements that PEDs didn’t help his HR bashing prowess. At the very least, they were the reason he was able to take the field and crush baseballs into the stratosphere. Bonds, to date, has made no such apology.
Following the 2007 MLB season, Bonds’ agent Jeff Borris said:
I’m anticipating widespread interest from every Major League team.
He made that statement despite the fact that the S.F. Giants had already stated numerous times that they would not re-sign Bonds for the 2008 MLB season. As it turned out, no other team wanted Bonds brought back, either. This despite the fact that *he* slugged 28 HRs in 2007, led the league with 132 BBs, and a .480 OBP. While it may be understandable that there wouldn’t be any interest from a N.L. team, why was there no interest in Bonds from an A.L. with a need for a power bat?
The answer is quite simple, really. MLB clubs effectively blackballed Bonds. Justifiably, as anyone with common sense would acknowledge. They all knew that Bonds had used PEDs, and no GM was willing to give him another chance to play.
Bonds had to know that he was being blackballed, but yet, he chose to say nothing, despite the fact that the MLB union is the strongest force in American sport. Did he not complain because he was aware of the risk that a grievance would create for his *legacy*?
In the same article, Borris said of Bonds:
Barry has one thing left open on his resume and that’s winning a World Series ring. His personal achievements have always taken a back seat to putting a championship ring on his finger.
This is a statement that is so patently false, it’s not worth debating. The entire reason Bonds began his PEDs regiment (allegedly) was his petty jealousy of the excitement that the McGwire – Sosa HR chase garnered in 1998. I can understand his frustration at that – he knew they were both Cheating, but for whatever reason, chose to not reveal that to the public. Instead, he chose to cross over to the Dark Side. Instead of being a Hero in the PEDs story, he became its Lord Voldemort.
It’s the pattern that continued throughout the rest of Bonds’ career – do what’s best for Bonds, and if there happens to be some team success, well alright.
That attitude is what prevents Bonds from admitting publicly, at least, his misdeeds. To do so would mean a near-automatic disqualification from his name ever being enshrined at Cooperstown. Just like his career, it’s not something that he’s willing to give up on. Unlike his career, it’s always a possibility that in the far-distant future, whoever is in charge of the HOF elections at that time will decide that Bonds deserves that place of Honor. That can’t happen if he admits his PED usage, though.
So he goes through life, with no outward signs of contrition. That is fine, for his personal time. However, the Marlins are now allowing him in to their clubhouse, where he will have the opportunity to influence young players.
As the sport continues (allegedly) to push towards the elimination of PEDs in the Game, is it proper that the Marlins bring Bonds back to the Game? And where is Manfred Mann on this front? The man who won’t allow Pete Rose back in to the game has no problem with Bonds joining back up?
If part of his deal includes an apology for all of his prior misdeeds, then Bonds signing up with the Marlins is a small price to pay. However, if he gets to return to the Game that he showed such disdain for over the years, with no actual consequences, it’s a Mistake that MLB will have to explain for years to come.
|↑1||Yes, I’m aware that MLB and Elias both had Mark McGwire as the record holder at that time. However, McGwire’s PED history precludes him from holding any such Honor.|