Not rooting for a cheater

 Uncategorized
Feb 272006
 
Authors: Brett Okamoto

Eight 40-plus home run seasons, a record-breaking 73 homers in 2001, broken records for most walks in a season and slugging percentage – still nothing to cheer about.

With this upcoming season figuring to be Barry Bond's last I've been planning a road trip to San Francisco. I want to be there if/when Bond's hits the home run that will break Hank Aaron's career home run record, once again placing him in the record books where he does not belong. I want to be there holding up a giant sign with the word BALCO written on it when it happens. Isn't that what we're cheering for at this point?

Barry Bond's does not take steroids. Tell that to his recently arthroscopically repaired knees that were never made to hold the 100 extra pounds of muscle that Bonds has put on since entering the league.

I'm not going to bring up the fact that Bonds is, plain and simple, a horrible human being. The fans hate him. The media hate him. His teammates hate him. But however true that may be, that's not why I'm hoping that if he gets to one homer away from tying the record, every pitcher beans him with the first pitch.

Sports fans are ridiculously forgiving. I believe that Terrell Owens jerseys still will be worn, Ron Artest posters will be hung up on walls in Sacramento and Kobe's 81 will be remembered as one of the greatest games ever.

Bonds can never be put in that category. While those players are all hard to cheer for, sports fans still respond to their accomplishments because they are amazing athletic feats.

I don't cheer for Barry for any reason other than he is a cheater.

This is a sad story though. Make no mistake; what Bonds is doing in baseball is something special.

This guy hasn't seen a pitch to hit since the mid 1990's. In a given game Bonds is going to see maybe one-two pitches that are questionably worth swinging at, but he's remained disciplined enough to not swing at anything outside the strike zone.

Even if you do have enough steroids running through your body to kill a small country, 73 home runs is a lot over the course of two seasons – Bonds did it in one.

But that's what makes the Barry Epic so much more depressing. We've witnessed maybe the greatest hitter in the history of our nation's pastime, but we'll never know how good he could have been – clean. For all we know, Bonds could have jacked just as many homers, stolen more bases and not roid raged at every media outlet from San Francisco to New York if he had just played the game honest.

But instead we'll remember him as the greatest cheater of all time.

Brett Okamoto is the Collegian's sports editor. He can be reached at sports@collegian.com

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