Friday, July 15, 2005

bonds is baseball's rove

The GOP media machine is in full cry, spreading the usual chaff about Joe Wilson etc to distract us all from the nub of the truth: Karl Rove and somebody else in the Administration revealed the identity of a covert CIA agent to a journalist, and Karl Rove and/or several somebody elses have lied to the special prosecutor about this. John Dean, who knows a thing or two about scandals, says that Rove could be in serious trouble regardless of whether his actions meet the definition needed to be convicted of revealing Plame's identity, based on this.

Remember, this investigation isn't about punishing Karl Rove, who the GOP would have us believe is the whistleblower. It is about the release of classified information to punish the true whistleblower, Joe Wilson.

Rove has played a key role in the poisoning of the political atmosphere, following in Lee Atwater's hatchet-man footsteps. Although not the only practicioner of the politics of lies, slander, and stonewalling, Rove is the most prominent of this breed, and his success has influenced many others.

Barry Bonds is to steroid-juiced baseball as Rove is to sleazy attack politics -- not the only user, but the most prominent, and the one who has perhaps benefitted most. Bonds hasn't played one game so far this year and now it appears he may not play at all this year.

I hope he never plays again. I defended Bonds years ago against criticism that he didn't perform well in the post-season, and said his less-than-ebulliant personality wouldn't keep me from wanting him on my favorite team. But over the past 5-6 years his body has grown so bloated, putting on weight differently than a maturing athlete in his late 30s would usually do, that there could be no doubt he was using steroids. I don't buy his excuse that he didn't know what clears and cremes were; Bonds has always been renowned for being very particular about his diet and his health, so it is impossible to believe he would ingest unknown substances on the recommendation of his Balco dealer without knowing exactly what they are.

So I don't want Bonds to break Hank Aaron's career home run record, and I don't want him to pass Babe Ruth for second. The first two-thirds of Bonds' career has already qualified him for the Hall of Fame; he has always been a great hitter. The explosion in his home run power coincides with the increase in his collar and chest, and his improvement as a hitter since age 35 has no parallel in baseball history. His statistics are tainted, as are those of many other players. It's too bad Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa have passed Roger Maris for single-season home runs. Let's hope Aaron and Ruth aren't eclipsed by Balco Bonds.