Monday, May 12, 2008

Leave 'Em Alone!

posted by Jon Williams

I am not exactly old but when I was younger (not a kid just younger) I was often accused of smiling all the time. It was pretty much true. It was not that I walked around in never ending bliss but rather that I seemed to possess the ability to see the bright side of just about anything. I could find a reason to laugh in almost any situation. I had no problems with anyone. Yes, even the universally despised knew they had someone to lean on, a shoulder to cry on should they find themselves in need. Unfortunately, I lost that talent over the years or (being optimistic) at the very least it has been suppressed beneath a mountain of grief, betrayal and misery – what you might call life.

These days I doubt everyone’s good intentions. I count on most things ending badly. I have people that I have no choice but to consider enemies (like Spider-Man and Electro) despite wishing it were not so. I still laugh a lot but these days that laughter is about the futility of things I cannot see getting better. But despite all of my negative trends of late I still think it is pretty sad that no major league baseball team will offer Barry Bonds an opportunity to play.

There are plenty of teams that could use a player like Bonds as an upgrade to their designated hitter position or as an outfielder. A few teams even discussed bringing him in this spring but universally they all decided that it wasn’t worth it. Bonds’ lawyers have raised the issue of collusion against their client by Major League Baseball. I seriously doubt that there is any effort being made to keep him out of the game unless it is by the media which has enjoyed trashing him for years now. I don’t doubt that he brought this negativity on himself by being generally boorish and his involvement in the BALCO scandal but he isn’t the only jerk in the sport nor is he the only one in the game who has been accused of using performance enhancing drugs and has denied it.

Ask yourself this question: why is Barry Bonds who has never failed a drug test and denies the use of performance enhancing drugs not wanted in the sport and any of a dozen players who have tested positive and been suspended for it welcome to continue playing for multiple teams? Is it because he’s a better player than the assortment of unapologetic losers who have been caught? Is that why Roger Clemens is being put through the ringer (he too having never failed a drug test and constantly denying the use of any performance enhancing drug) because he was one of the best ever?

I have asked many people why they are so quick to believe the worst about the best players in the game. Almost without fail the answer comes back as an accusation of naivety on my part for giving them the benefit of the doubt. I don’t think I’m naïve if anything I’m sympathetic. I’ve been falsely accused of serious wrongdoing in the past, and punished for it despite the fact that I was completely innocent of what I was accused. I am not suggesting that I or Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens is an angel, far from it, but no one has successfully proven their wrongdoing and until then I will believe them innocent. My prediction this week is that unless you’ve been falsely accused of something you won’t be able to do the same.

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