When Alex Rodriguez went on ESPN’s First Take and admitted that he deserved to be given the longest suspension in MLB history for PED use, it was almost like the Red Seas parted for his eventual induction into the Hall of Fame.
"I served the longest suspension in MLB history. It cost me well over $35M. And you know what? I deserved that."@AROD says the Astros deserve whatever comes their way after the lack of remorse they've shown. pic.twitter.com/AnezyIyhHa
— ESPN (@espn) March 3, 2020
The analysts couldn’t stop raving about him.
A-Rod has kept in close touch with the baseball community since retiring, despite being the most hated man in the sports at one time. He’s slowly worked his way back into favor through being one of the best analysts in the sport, his faithful relationship with iconic performer J. Lo and his willingness to give everyone the contrition and self-deprecation that they want to see from what many still refer to as a “cheater.”
Barry Bonds has never fully recovered from his scandal, the venomous backlash he received en route to breaking Hank Aaron’s sacred home run record and the shaky relationships he is rumored to have with some former teammates, coaches, and the media.
Bonds recently discussed his frayed relationship with Major League Baseball, telling The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly that he feels like he received a “death sentence” from the league since he retired following the 2007 season. In a comprehensive interview with The Athletic, Bonds explained his feelings on his complicated legacy in baseball.
“A death sentence,” Bonds told The Athletic. “That’s what they’ve given me.”
Bonds, who many consider the greatest hitter to ever wear a pair of cleats, has been denied entrance into Cooperstown 8 times. He has two chances left and this past January he only garnered 60.7 percent of the 75 percent needed, so he has a lot of PR work to do.
PR has always been the problem with Bonds — except when he was slamming home runs at an immortal pace. He was a baseball God back then. TV rode his chase of Hank Aaron’s record, right to the bank. Then he became the devil.
Bonds hasn’t stayed close to baseball, aside from a brief stint as a Florida Marlins hitting coach, When he took that job, we all thought it was his acclimation back into the game. Some players felt that a baller of his stature should have been offered a job by the League Office.
Either way, it was an opportunity for him to rebrand his image and connect with a younger generation that cared less about PEDs and more about the stats and Youtube highlights that Bonds compiled. Maybe he could ride that momentum into the Hall of Fame.
“I just want Barry to come clean,” First Take’s Max Kellerman said on Tuesday. Just fess up and he’s in the HOF.”
Bonds’ prolific career-milestones which include an all-time 762 home runs have been tarnished by allegations of steroid use.
“If they don’t want me, just say you don’t want me and be done with it,” he told The Athletic. “Just be done with it.”
Bonds isn’t wrong for being frustrated or feeling like he’s being signaled out because he was the most successful player of the PED generation. It’s widely believed that he was a Hall of Famer before the alleged PED use.
“Barry Bonds was clearly one of the four greatest left fielders of all time before he started juicing,” implored Kellerman.
That hasn’t mattered to the voters. The BBWAA wants Bonds to beg for mercy. He’s already defeated MLB and the government when a federal appeals court overturned his felony conviction for obstructing justice, leaving the feds without a single conviction after a years-long and multimillion-dollar witchhunt to prosecute him.
Bonds, along with Roger Clemens (found not guilty of perjury in 2012) were the only implicated superstars to even stand up for themselves in court.
The 10-1 decision by a politically diverse panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals was a major defeat for prosecutors, who brought Bonds to trial in 2011 on perjury and obstruction charges. The jury hung on the perjury charges, convicting Bonds of only one count of obstruction for giving an evasive answer to a federal grand jury investigating illegal steroid distribution.
It should have been the beginning of a fresh start for a man who kept baseball’s lights on for so long.
And while managers and a commissioner who oversaw the era are celebrated in Cooperstown, Bonds and a few other legends are expected to carry the burden of everyone’s sins. Thousands of players used PED at the pro and Don’t think that there aren’t already PED users in Cooperstown. There were rumors about Jeff Bagwell and Pudge Rodriguez and Mike Piazza, but they made it in as well.
And since we’re dealing with facts, let’s not forget that Bonds never failed a test and never admitted to juicing. In what was supposed to be sealed testimony Bonds admitted to trying the cream and not knowing it was a performance enhancer.
The testing program wasn’t as intricate as it is now. Testing for major league players did not begin until 2003 when MLB conducted surveys to help gauge the extent of performance-enhancing drug (PED) use in the game
Bonds’ refusal to admit to knowingly using has definitely helped A-Rod’s cause. Rodriguez decided to just fall on the sword. There’s still no guarantee that he will be voted in, even after all of that humiliation…or vindication as some see it. But initially, A-Rod was one of the “defiant” superstars along with Clemens and Bonds.
A-Rod changed his tune. That approach hasn’t worked out for the others. From the looks of things, Bonds thought he’d be voted in by now and the process is torturing him.
“I feel like a ghost,” Bonds told The Athletic. “A ghost in a big empty house, just rattling around. … My heart, it’s broken. Really broken.”
Bonds has millions of fans who wouldn’t have a problem seeing him in the Hall of Fame, but similar to Pete Rose, keeping Bonds out of Cooperstown is a more controversial and impactful decision than voting him in.
Such actions keep the BBWAA in control of Bonds’ destiny. He has to kiss the media ring and mend some more fences before he will make the Hall. He better hurry, he only has two more years to do it.