Mar 232005
Authors: Joelle Milholm

Barry Bonds and the media have always gone together about as good as drinking beer before liquor. As good as a Ram in Boulder. As good as the CSU men's basketball team and road games. And recently, it has gotten even worse.

After his announcement on Tuesday that he will be out for at least half of this season, and maybe even the whole year because he is "tired," he is partly blaming the media for his "mentally done" state.

I understand that knee surgery, allegations, trails and federal investigations can be taxing. Rehabbing an injury at the beginning of the season is never a good way to start, but are you serious that you are so mentally exhausted that you can't even play the extremely physical game of baseball? And it is the media's fault?

The media loves to write stories about his monstrous home runs, but when it came to talking to him, it is never a pretty picture. Then covering him being accused of steroid use made the whole situation even uglier. Although Bonds has continually denied using steroids, except that he may have taken them unknowingly, the media are just doing their job. They covered his involvement in the BALCO trial and they are covering the federal investigation of steroid use in Major League Baseball.

Bonds said that the media has finally brought him and his family down and he just doesn't want to deal with it, but it is not the media's fault. I'm pretty sure the government is in charge of trials and federal investigations.

But as far as anyone who believes Bonds has done steroids, as I do, their reasoning isn't without supporting arguments.

I dug through my old baseball card collection the other day and dug up my rookie card of Barry Bonds from 1986, and the man who I saw was almost unrecognizable.

Bonds weighed 185 pounds when the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted him in 1986. He was fast. He was a nightmare for pitchers and catchers as a thief on the base path. He was the skinny leadoff hitter who stole 52 bases in 1990.

Then he went to San Francisco in 1993 and took on a new role.

Bonds started to get bigger, started swinging for the fences and slid into the cleanup spot. Sure, more time in the big leagues and new coaching can contribute to a different style of play. But can you naturally transform your body into a 228-pound, super-hero, home run-hitting machine?

Now, as he towers over the plate, casting a shadow halfway to the pitcher's mound, he is a different kind of nightmare for pitchers. He is the guy they don't want to face. He is like the guy from "Rookie of the Year" who has forearms the size of tree trunks and even with a check swing can knock the ball into the third deck. And that didn't just happen because he lifted weights and took the right supplements.

Bonds has hit 703 home runs in his career. He is 11 homers shy of Babe Ruth's 714 and 52 short of Hank Aaron's record. Bonds doesn't belong in the same category as either of those baseball gods.

It is bad enough that he holds the single-season record with 73 homers. I won't go into the legitimacy of Mark McGwire's or Sammy Sosa's records, but I don't think any of them should stand in the record books next to Roger Marris' magical 61. He smacked homers as the skinny, drug-free, Yankee outcast who only used his natural skills.

I hope Bonds never plays again and can't cheat his way into record books any more than he already has.

Bonds: You're 40 years old and apparently really "tired." Call it a day, hang up your shoes and let people who play naturally get the records.

Joelle Milholm is a senior technical journalism major. She is the sports editor for the Collegian.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm

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