Skip to content

If you’re anti-Barry Bonds now, how can your position about him change over time?

Dec 17, 2012, 11:07 AM EDT

Barry Bonds headshot

The San Francisco Chronicle is running a one-on-one of local writers with Hall of Fame votes. Bruce Jenkins takes the pro-Barry Bonds argument, Ann Killion the anti-Bonds. These arguments aren’t rhetorical, though, as they reflect their own votes.

Each side makes a now-familiar case so I won’t rehash them, but Killion’s does add something I’ve seen an awful lot of lately — Bob Ryan had it in the column linked this morning too — and which I find curious: the “I won’t vote for Bonds now, but I may change my mind later” thing:

Just as my views about Bonds have changed over the past decade, they could change again over the next 15 years that his name remains on the ballot. While I’m not one to withhold my vote based on whether I think someone is a first-ballot Hall of Famer, a process I’ve always found inane, I am willing to keep my mind open as the years pass.

The steroid story, as we’ve learned in 2012, is not a closed chapter. It continues to play out and in 15 years, with baseball under a new commissioner and with the perspective of time, the story and its fallout may look different. I could change my mind and check the box next to Barry Bonds.

But I can’t do it right now.

I don’t follow this, at least with respect to Bonds.  While we may have doubts about some players, there are no doubts about Bonds and steroids. He did it. He clearly did it. To suggest otherwise is pretty unreasonable, really. There is no truly relevant information about Barry Bonds playing career or PED use that is going to come out. Waiting will get you nowhere in this respect.

So, it seems, the only possible thing Killion and others who make this argument could be waiting for is for people (i.e. people like herself) to become less dogmatic about PEDs in baseball in the future. To give that “perspective” she’s admitting is possible. Which is a strange position to be taking: “PEDs in baseball is a horrible, horrible thing, so horrible that I can’t abide honoring a person who did them, but maybe in a few years I will be proven wrong about that and I will then change my mind.”

It seems like the only possible basis one’s position could change here is if they discover that Bonds’ transgressions were no different than the transgressions of hundreds of other ballplayers. Which is something we pro-Bonds people are arguing now, but which folks like Killion dimiss out of hand as beside the point. But she’s willing to buy that later?

There may be borderline cases out there for whom this treatment makes sense. McGwire, maybe. Palmeiro, perhaps. But it seems to me that if you’re anti-Bonds now, intellectual consistency demands that you be against him later.

Latest Posts
  1. Chris Davis is playing third base in instructional league games

    Sep 30, 2014, 11:27 AM EDT

    chris davis getty Getty Images

    At the absolute latest, Davis could be eligible for Game 1 of a theoretical Orioles World Series. But maybe as soon as the ALCS.

  2. TBS does a “Boom Goes The Dynamite” promo

    Sep 30, 2014, 10:45 AM EDT

    Boom

    Starring Ron Darlin, Cal Ripken, Gary Sheffield and Pedro Martinez.

  3. The Red Sox would like to talk long-term extension with Yoenis Cespedes

    Sep 30, 2014, 9:17 AM EDT

    Yoenis Cespedes AP

    But Cespedes is not yet sure if he wants to test the market next year.

  4. Jon Daniels says that Ron Washington going was probably for the best

    Sep 30, 2014, 8:54 AM EDT

    DANIELS

    Not the sort of thing you typically hear in these situations. Not that this situation has happened in this exact way very often.

  5. Playoff Reset: The American League Wild Card Game

    Sep 30, 2014, 8:05 AM EDT

    Athletics Royals Getty Images

    Looking ahead to the first action of the 2014 Postseason: The American League Wild Card Game.

  6. Francisco Rodriguez hopes to stay with Brewers

    Sep 29, 2014, 11:36 PM EDT

    Francisco Rodriguez Getty Getty Images

    Rodriguez had to settle for a one-year, $3.25 million contract before the beginning of spring training and began the season in a set-up role, but he ended up with a 3.04 ERA with 73/18 K/BB ratio over 68 innings while going 44-for-49 in save chances.

  7. Clay Buchholz to undergo knee surgery Tuesday

    Sep 29, 2014, 10:25 PM EDT

    374f480c3966bc23d14c1a816c436699 AP

    After being limited to 16 starts last season, Buchholz managed to make 28 starts this year, but he saw his ERA jump from 1.74 to 5.34 in the process.

  8. Rusney Castillo to report to Arizona Fall League later this week

    Sep 29, 2014, 9:20 PM EDT

    Rusney Castillo Getty Getty Images

    Castillo landed a seven-year, $72.5 million contract with Boston in August and batted .333 (12-for-36) with two home runs, one double, and three stolen bases during his first taste of the majors earlier this month.

  9. Nationals likely to use Tanner Roark in the bullpen for playoffs

    Sep 29, 2014, 8:40 PM EDT

    tanner roark getty Getty Images

    Roark has a 2.57 ERA in 252 innings as a big leaguer.

  10. Mariners designate Corey Hart for assignment, clearing spot for Jesus Montero on 40-man roster

    Sep 29, 2014, 8:14 PM EDT

    mariners logo

    The Mariners gave Hart a one-year, $6 million deal last winter in hopes that he would be able to get his career back on track after multiple knee surgeries cost him the entire 2013 season, but he batted just .203 with six home runs and a .590 OPS over 68 games this season.

  11. Yankees expect Alex Rodriguez to be their third baseman next season

    Sep 29, 2014, 7:49 PM EDT

    Alex Rodriguez Reuters Reuters

    Joe Girardi says “we have to see where he’s at.”

  12. Trevor Plouffe undergoes left forearm surgery

    Sep 29, 2014, 7:29 PM EDT

    Trevor Plouffe AP AP

    Plouffe is expected to be ready for spring training.

  13. Fired by the Twins, Ron Gardenhire wants to manage again

    Sep 29, 2014, 6:45 PM EDT

    Ron Gardenhire AP

    Gardenhire will be paid by the Twins in 2015 as part of a two-year contract signed exactly one year ago tomorrow.

  14. Josh Hamilton tests readiness for postseason with workout

    Sep 29, 2014, 6:21 PM EDT

    022d61eeac9b78b55bf1dbc881a16fd8 Getty Images

    Josh Hamilton has been limited to just one game since September 4 due to right shoulder, chest, and rib cage injuries, but he’s still hopes to be ready for the upcoming division series.

  15. Rangers want to re-sign Colby Lewis

    Sep 29, 2014, 5:47 PM EDT

    colby lewis reuters Reuters

    Lewis has been with the Rangers since 2010.

  16. MLB has its seventh-best attendance total in history

    Sep 29, 2014, 5:05 PM EDT

    old turnstile

    A good attendance season for MLB. Not the best, but still strong.

  17. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke’s job status is unclear

    Sep 29, 2014, 4:46 PM EDT

    Ron Roenicke Brewers AP

    Roenicke has a 335-313 (.517) record in four seasons as the Brewers’ manager.

Featured video

Do Royals or A's have the edge tonight?
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. D. Jeter (3446)
  2. C. Kershaw (2447)
  3. R. Martin (2238)
  4. A. Rodriguez (2062)
  5. J. Altuve (1930)
  1. M. Trout (1773)
  2. D. Ortiz (1758)
  3. J. Hamilton (1749)
  4. P. Hughes (1710)
  5. I. Suzuki (1671)