It may not be The Trial Of The Century, but here comes Barry Bonds (reporting to court in San Francisco), depending on what the trial reveals, probably about to cast a klieg light on the nastiness of achieving immortality at the expense of his body, of some 16,500 big-league players that have shot for the record (not having taken a shot except to deaden pain) before him without the benefit of chemical enhancement, and at the expense of gullible fans (or the don’t-ask-don’t-tell crowd).
Such a nice way to start a season….
Of course, there are two schools of thought on anabolic-steroid (ab)use as it relates to enhanced athletic strength and performance.
Is it really so bad we’ve seen this (and other) world-class athletes in ultra-fine shape day in and day out, playing largely at the peak of human perfection? Would we rather see one less-tuned, perhaps loaded with uppers or following a barroom binge not long enough before game time? There are cases of pitchers (not to single out this most demanding position) boasting of no-hitters and perfect games while on LSD, or half-loaded and hungover from the night before. Also, isn’t this all one big privacy issue? Do the rule-makers, including the Federal Government, have any right to intervene in the private matter of ingestion? Who am I really hurting besides, dimly, myself? And what’s next on the no-no list? Caffeinated coffee? Cheerios?
That’s one school. The other frets over the subliminal message such enhancement and turning-heads-the-other-way sends to our young people. Like chain-smoking, like whiplash, like exposure to dangerous levels of radiation, steroid abuse does not necessarily reveal its ugly side until many years later. What percentage of young athletes, legitimately looking for an edge, realistically now, will succeed as professional players? The potentially lethal damage to these young people is done in a silent way. To a high-school or college star receiving the wrong advice, being fed a delusion, influenced by juiced-up multi-millionaire stars, the idea of any hideous side-effects developing later on quality of life is a non-issue. “I’m going to live forever” as the movie-song says.
The real shame of this trial is that Bonds, in his early baseball career, was not only the best player of his era, but one of the greatest natural athletes anyone would ever see.