bonds addendum
all bonds, all the time

joe sheehan on bonds

Joe Sheehan discusses The Press Conference at the Baseball Prospectus site (this might require registration, which costs money ... the Prospectus is worth it, although I should add a disclaimer, since I have a slight continuing connection to the organization).

The fact is, Bonds was correct in much of what he said yesterday. The media does keep running back to the same stories over and over. There are larger problems in our society than athletes using performance-enhancing drugs. Whether steroids are cheating isn't the black-and-white question it's been presented as, not in a game that turns a blind eye to the kind of amphetamine use baseball has seen. His blanket accusation that everyone in the room had lied at one time or another was unfortunate, almost certainly erroneous, and provided an easy way to paint Bonds as a bad guy.

I wrote this in December, but it's worth mentioning again: Bonds is facing these questions in part because he was betrayed by the system. His grand-jury testimony, and that of others, was leaked to the media. That is the biggest crime in this situation to date, and almost no one has addressed it with the same gusto as they have the connections between Bonds and his personal trainer. Where are the investigation and the indictments for that crime? ...

My position on steroids in baseball is the same as it's been all along: we don't have enough information, and the hysteria over the issue is a media creation. The things we do know for sure--that survey testing in 2003 showed 5-7% of players were using steroids, that random testing in 2004 actual coincided with a higher level of offense, that the players who have been known to test positive, or been associated with BALCO, are far from an All-Star team--would not lead to the conclusion that steroids are a rampant, game-warping problem....

[M]any people believe that Bonds used steroids.

The issue is that it's just a belief. If we're going to have these conversations, we need more than that. We should expect a higher standard than, "Well, he's a jerk, and he got bigger, and he hit a bunch of home runs, so he did it." Until we have more information, all the information, and can analyze this issue with the same rigor that we do this trade or that free-agent signing, it's incumbent upon us to make that most dissatisfying of statements:

I don't know.