It’s been five years since Barry Bonds last played in a Major League game but it’s clear from his recent comments to the media regarding his chances of making the Hall of Fame that he still doesn’t get why he won’t be inducted in Cooperstown any time soon.
Here is a quote from Bonds in a recent interview with MLB.com when asked about the Hall of Fame:
“It’s tough when you have so many people out there who don’t want to turn the page and want to be angry at you forever. I don’t understand why it continues on. What am I doing wrong?”
“I can sit here and say, ‘You know what? Baseball is great. I love it.’ I can sit here and say in a very kind way that I’m sorry about the way things ended. I can sit here and say that I respect the Hall of Fame, which I do. But I don’t understand all the controversy we’re having about it. For what reason? What’s there to be gained by all of this? What’s the point?”
Honestly, Barry? After all these years you still have no idea why people think you don’t belong in Cooperstown? After the entire BALCO investigation? After “Game of Shadows,” the book that thoroughly documents your use of performance enhancing drugs? After your former trainer Greg Anderson went to jail for refusing to testify against you more than once? You really have no clue why people are angry?
Sports fans tend to be a forgiving bunch as long as people are honestly contrite. Everyone makes mistakes and America loves a good underdog/comeback story.
Andy Pettitte admitted to using PEDs, came clean, apologized and fans have forgiven him. Heck, Michael Vick tortured and killed dogs and many (but certainly not all) fans have forgiven him. Vick got a second chance to play in the NFL, has made millions of dollars in contracts and even got some of his endorsement deals back.
Barry, the one thing you’ve never done is admit you did anything wrong. You’ve never admitted the obvious: that you cheated. You cheated your fellow players, cheated the game and cheated the fans by using illegal drugs to improve your performance.
Barry, you’re a fraud. Sure, you technically own the league’s all-time home run record, but it’s like saying you won the marathon when everybody else was running on foot and you drove a car for the first 15 miles, reached the finish line first and then said you won fair and square.
Unless you’re willing to admit your mistakes, Barry and sincerely ask for forgiveness, then no, the public won’t forget and you won’t be able to move on.
The instructions for voters at the Baseball Hall of Fame are brief and perhaps a bit ambiguous, but it’s clear you don’t meet most of the criteria. They read:
“Voting shall be based on a player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contributions to the team(s) on which he played.”
While your record (at least statistically) is impressive and you clearly had excellent playing ability, your lack of integrity, sportsmanship and character is so great that you cannot in good conscious, be considered for the Hall of Fame.
If you really want peace and really respect the game and the Hall, the time to speak out is now. If you remain aloof and arrogant and honestly think you did nothing wrong, then neither forgiveness or acceptance are forthcoming.
I’m sorry, Barry. I always thought you were an intelligent man. It’s hard for me to believe that after all these years, you still don’t get it.