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 EST

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. Neal Cotts almost retired before signing with the Rangers in 2012

    Jan 30, 2015, 10:50 PM EST

    Neal Cotts Neal Cotts

    Neal Cotts battled numerous injuries and nearly called it quits before the Rangers signed him to a minor league deal in 2012.

  2. Joe Kelly said he’s going to win the 2015 AL Cy Young Award

    Jan 30, 2015, 9:40 PM EST

    Joe Kelly Joe Kelly

    Joe Kelly has some bold words for non-believers.

  3. Yasiel Puig: “[Juan] Uribe’s a fatty”

    Jan 30, 2015, 8:30 PM EST

    Yasiel Puig Yasiel Puig

    Yasiel Puig meant it in a good way!

  4. Rockies sign Omar Quintanilla and Rafael Betancourt

    Jan 30, 2015, 7:20 PM EST

    Rafael Betancourt Rafael Betancourt

    The Rockies addressed their depth on Friday, signing reliever Rafael Betancourt and utility infielder Omar Quintanilla to minor league deals.

  5. Red Sox are willing to trade Edward Mujica

    Jan 30, 2015, 6:10 PM EST

    Edward Mujica Edward Mujica

    The Red Sox are willing to trade reliever Edward Mujica, according to a report.

  6. Four more minor leaguers suspended

    Jan 30, 2015, 4:55 PM EST

    Police Blotter

    MLB has been suspending guys by the truckload lately.

  7. Orioles, Steve Pearce avoid arbitration for $3.7 million

    Jan 30, 2015, 4:26 PM EST

    Steve Pearce Getty Getty Images

    He hit .293 with 21 homers and a .930 OPS in 102 games last season, topping 200 plate appearances for the first time at age 31.

  8. The Braves and Rockies made a trade

    Jan 30, 2015, 4:10 PM EST

    Tampa Bay Rays v Atlanta Braves Getty Images

    A couple of pitchers who don’t profile well in a hitters’ environment for a couple of catchers who have shown a little at the plate. Advantage: Braves.

  9. Red Sox sign former All-Star Alexi Ogando

    Jan 30, 2015, 3:49 PM EST

    Alexi Ogando AP

    Ogando posted a 3.12 ERA in 381 innings from 2010-2013.

  10. Victor Martinez could catch early in the season

    Jan 30, 2015, 3:07 PM EST

    Victor Martinez Victor Martinez

    The lack of a DH and the health of Miguel Cabrera are the determining factors.

  11. Yankees sign Scott Baker

    Jan 30, 2015, 1:04 PM EST

    Scott Baker

    Baker has struggled to regain his form after missing all of 2012 following Tommy John elbow surgery.

  12. Red Sox sign Felipe Paulino

    Jan 30, 2015, 10:49 AM EST

    Felipe Paulino AP

    Paulino was once a young power with lots of upside, but injuries have repeatedly derailed his career.

  13. Red Sox sign former All-Star Bryan LaHair

    Jan 30, 2015, 10:20 AM EST

    Bryan LaHair AP

    LaHair looks destined to go down as one of the least successful All-Stars of all time.

  14. “That’s what Cuba does to you. It leaves you wanting more”

    Jan 30, 2015, 9:18 AM EST

    Cuba

    Must-click material from Jorge Arangure of Vice Sports

  15. Joba Chamberlain is being pretty choosy

    Jan 30, 2015, 8:43 AM EST

    Joba Chamberlain Getty Images

    Even second tier relievers are in demand in the offseason.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Papelbon (5028)
  2. Y. Moncada (3983)
  3. F. Rodriguez (3723)
  4. I. Suzuki (2864)
  5. J. Shields (2735)
  1. D. Mesoraco (2728)
  2. T. Snider (2711)
  3. R. Belisario (2299)
  4. D. Viciedo (2167)
  5. M. Scutaro (2156)