Formal Oriole and admitted steroid-user Jay Gibbons has signed a contract with the Milwaukee Brewers and is currently playing for their AA affiliate in Huntsville, Alabama.
I’m a little confused…and I have admittedly been confused since the Mitchell report surfaced. I have never understood the incongruity in hating on Barry Bonds while simultaneously patting Brian Roberts on the back.
But I think I’ve finally figured it out.
When it comes to steroid allegations, it’s not about race…it’s not about how many home runs you hit or how many strikeouts you accumulate…it’s not even about using steroids!
It’s about LYING. Not just to Congress, but to the American public.
Both Bonds and Roger Clemens have been verbally crucified over their involvement in the steroid era. But for what? It’s not for using steroids. It can’t be. Not when at least 80% of MLB was using steroids in the 90s; some players who were caught using steroids are still playing major league baseball…and fans are still cheering for them and buying their jerseys.
So where is the line drawn? How do we, as a society focused on the sports world, separate players like Jay Gibbons, Brian Roberts, Andy Pettitte, Troy Glaus, Gary Matthews, Jr., etc. from Rafael Palmeiro, Roger Clemens, and Barry Bonds?
Obviously, it’s trust and admittance. See also Pete Rose.
But does that make those who have lied bad people? Are they unworthy of the Hall of Fame? No…it just makes society forget about the hundreds of other baseball players who have put a needle in their backside and only think about those who have been deceitful. It’s because we, as fans, trusted that their talents were God-given and not synthetic.
And when we’re lied too, we feel offended. Our hubris inhibits us from seeing the real truth. We put our trust in these athletes and we feel like our intelligence has been insulted…and the fact that we’ve been fooled (and we were ALL fooled during the late 90s home run escapade) makes us become defensive. It makes us want to lash out at these liars and deny them certain luxuries like the Hall of Fame.
But we’re hypocrites…because we’ve all lied. Being deceitful and self-defensive is part of the nature of not just humans but of all animals. It’s evolutionarily stable. It’s why possums “play possum.”
So, on that note, I think that it’s unfair that Jay Gibbons can sign a minor league contract while Barry Bonds, the home run king, fights to play ANYWHERE for the league minimum. Although Bonds is the clubhouse equivalent of a malignant tumor, he could certainly help a team like the Red Sox.
Terrell Owens changed his ways…why can’t Barry Bonds? Just think about what could happen when you combine his left-handed bat with the short porch in right field at Fenway…
My advice to the next athlete who gets popped with steroid allegations is to just admit to them…whether they’re true or not. Unless you can definitively prove your innocence, there’s no sense in defending yourself, despite your evolutionary instincts. Because, as displayed by the American way of thinking, denying or lying about steroid allegations is the first step in professional demise. If you need more evidence to suggest that lying is the most detrimental part of the sports-world steroid situation, just take a look at the U.S. Olympic track and field team (i.e. what’s going on with Tim Montgomery vs. the jail sentence that Marion Jones is currently serving).
So, pride aside, maybe we can one day welcome Palmeiro, Bonds, and Clemens into the Hall of Fame. It’s where they belong.