05.29.07

Murray Chass On Bonds’ HR Orgy

Posted in Baseball at 10:37 am by

Though I’m not nearly as dedicated a Murray Chass basher as the dilligent Seth Mnookin, I do have to wonder what could possibly be considered revelatory about the NY Times columnist alleging (in May 2007!) that “based on his association with the period covering the latter half of the last decade and the early years of this one, it would be no great leap to believe that Barry Bonds used steroids to enhance his hitting.”

Of course, the same could be said of Randy Velarde, except he’s not the one visiting the Mets this evening.

In a demonstration unprecedented in baseball™s long history, players erupted in an orgy of home runs, achieving feats no single player or group of players had ever approached. It is reasonable to conclude that someone had to be doing something.

Is Bonds a better hitter than Ruth and Aaron? A case could be made for that proposition, but how can we know if we don™t know which Bonds we™re comparing them with, the unadulterated Bonds or the Bonds who is suspected of using aides that didn™t exist in the Ruth and Aaron eras? Hot dogs probably didn™t have the same effect.

Probably not. Though in Bonds’ defense, neither Ruth nor Aaron had to contend with starting pitchers who were capable of throwing high heat into their mid-forties. But I’ll not hold my breath waiting for any suggestions that hitters in the Roger Clemens/Randy Johnson era have faced a competitive disadvantage.

Over at the Daily News, Lisa Olson ponders the hypocrisy of Bonds being villified while Mets reliever Guillermo Mota will likely be welcomed with open arms.

Perhaps it was the Cleveland water that made Mota look so sluggish for much of the 2006 season. He had a 6.21 ERA in 34 games with the Indians. How else to explain his transformation in Flushing? In 18 appearances with the Mets after being acquired from the Indians last August, Mota’s ERA was 1.00, his WHIP .833. He averaged over a strikeout an inning.

Nobody’s demanding an asterisk be attached to those games.

Mota doesn’t deserve to be scorned like Bonds. Unlike Jason Giambi, the Yankees’ paragon of truth, Mota actually admitted to using more than “stuff.” For all we know, Giambi was referring to sun screen when he bared his soul to USA Today. Mota readily fessed up in a statement after his suspension was announced, saying, “I used extremely poor judgment and deserve to be held accountable. … To baseball fans everywhere, I understand that you are disappointed in me, and I don’t blame you. I feel terrible and I promise this is the first and last time that this will happen.”

Good for him. Good for baseball, a multinational conglomerate that has all the integrity of Enron.

The Mets haven’t exactly covered themselves in glory here. They still haven’t said if they knew about Mota’s positive test during the playoffs. And if we didn’t have so much respect for Omar Minaya, we might say he rewarded Mota for using performance-enhancing drugs with a two-year, $5 million contract after his suspension was announced.

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