That’s quite an interesting debate we have going on the Zohn re: Barry Bonds. I was sarcastic about his face and his virtue and many of you called me on it. Good. So let’s keep going.

What are the primary defenses of Bonds?

1. Everyone else did it so why single him out?

2. Major League baseball is at fault more than Bonds because it tolerated PEDs.

3. Bonds was a great player and would have been great without steroids.

4. Lowell is down on Bonds because Bonds was rude to Lowell.

If I am missing something please tell me.

Here are my responses:

1. Everyone didn’t do it. Bonds benefited the most of players who did do it. He lied about it continually. I believe he perjured himself to a grand jury — that is serious. He got convicted of obstruction of justice. That is serious.

2. Yes Major League baseball is at fault but this does not exonerate Bonds and others.

3. Bonds was a great player and didn’t need steroids. His ego got the best of him after Sosa and McGwire hit all those home runs. This is an ego issue among other things.

4. Yes, Bonds was rude to me and to just about every other writer. This does not make me like him. He should have understood writers would not cut him a break when he was so relentlessly miserable. Still, I will vote for him for the Hall of Fame because no one proved beyond the shadow of a doubt he cheated. If the situation were reversed would he be so even-handed with me?

5. His face really is quite a bit thinner.

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  1. Stan

    Well,When you say NOT everybody did it (steroids) thats becoming a very shallow argument..almost every great in that time has proven to be a user. Big bodys dont lie. No tiny Mike Fontenots or little Cody Ross’s of that time are in the HOF.
    You say basebball doesnt exonerate him..but he and others are not condemned. I still think some day a pardon for all in the past ends the acrimony one day.
    Ken Griffey-hit almost all his HR’s in just a few short years..then had steroid like injuries. And I hear sports hosts swear he’s not a cheat.Bautista in Toronte a career 13-16 HR hitter for near a decade..now he hits 54 last year 37 so far this year..Pujols..on and on. Its like bicycle racing..the cheats will always be ahead of the testers.
    I think Ken Korache cheats to have that voice…its everyplace!

    And thanks for my posts Lowell,better than crossword puzzles at keeping me sharp.

    August 25th, 2011 10:24 am

  2. Neal

    I can’t stand the creep, he is abusive towards women among other things , and YES I would bet every penny that I have that Bonds cheated.

    August 25th, 2011 10:38 am

  3. Doug A

    So Barry gets your HOF vote, good. He belongs in . . . .regardless of whether he did “it” or not . . . it was the era — hitters and pitchers did it — though not all, but many. Barry was the best steroid user of all time,and got the best results using it. That deserves a HOF vote. His swing was textbook, and I used it for coaching Little Leaguers.

    Aaron, Mays and others did “greenies”, Perry and others threw spitters and greasers, and outfielders trap the ball. All of this is cheating, but none are shunned the way I expect Barry to be shunned. Why? Because he broke the hallowed homer records.

    MLB is at fault for looking the other way, while Barry’s lessers, Sosa and McGuire got all of the accolades. Sure Barry’s ego got the best of him, but his feet of clay in resisting temptation isn’t entirely unexpected.

    It was the era, not a good era for MLB, but one nevertheless. I suspect a lot of white only players would not have made it to the HOF if they had to face the Negro league pitchers — another not so good era for MLB. MLB cannot ignore the steroid era, and the writers should not penalize the best players of the era.

    August 25th, 2011 10:57 am

  4. Mark M

    He is guilty of taking steroids. He’s admitted that. He claims not to have known which was always an absurd argument and really quite immaterial. He had it in his body. He knew it was illegal and unethical. He did it. I’ve never defended him. He and all of his cheating buds should have been banned years ago. Clemens, McGuire….all these clowns should be out of the running for the HOF, whether they belonged before roids or not. I’m tired of the all the grey area of discussion around this. They did the crime, let them pay and serve as examples to the generations that follow. The game must be bigger than these few cheating individuals.

    August 25th, 2011 11:37 am

  5. Dennis

    This whole steroid thing was best put in perspective for me by George F. Will. He said something to the effect that the most important thing to a hitter was his ability to see the ball. Ted Williams tested at something like 15/20 vision which is very rare. Any player can go get Lasik surgery and have his natural 20/20 vision turned into and unnatural 15/20 vision and nobody would care much less call him a cheat. So why all this fuss about steroid use? Both of these procedures give the player something he did not come by naturally.
    Personally, I really enjoyed the home run fest that the era put on and based on their physical appearance I assumed they were all taking steroids. So I am not going to say I was shocked when the truth came out. Finally, if Barry Bonds wasn’t taking steroids he would still be a jerk.

    August 25th, 2011 12:03 pm

  6. Johnc

    Like you said Bonds would have been a hall of famer with or without steroids. It was never proven that he took them. Bonds created a ton of excitement in the baseball world and he made a lot of money for the Giants when the team stunk. The Giants took that as far as they could. Then they dumped him like a hot potato when he had some legal trouble. He was still better than anyone they had in the lineup. Enough of the Barry Bonds bashing. He was an awesome athlete with the purest swing in baseball. Maybe his manners will change and he will regret being rude to reporters. You never know.

    August 25th, 2011 12:21 pm

  7. Stan

    Really,Lowell I dont see anybody defedning Barry..they just dont feel like kicking him around any harder then his contemperarys.

    And that new kid for the A’s? Allen..uhuh..hits them REAL far and he has a 1991 body. Add it up.

    August 25th, 2011 1:01 pm

  8. Stan

    Dang-besides better proof reading I should have put in..”And he’s with the A’s. The mother of all steroid teams. Even their coaches (Dave McKay)back then were pumped up”.

    August 25th, 2011 1:03 pm

  9. MK

    A sad day in baseball history: Sammy Sosa hit a home run to surpass Frank Robinson, the No. 4 HR hitter of all time among non-PED users… Sosa did it in Baltimore. Wearing an Orioles uniform. Playing right field. And as he rounded the bases, Baltimore fans stood and cheered for him.

    August 25th, 2011 4:00 pm

  10. MK

    By the way, I also want to go on the record as saying my response in your previous Bonds post was not in defense of Bonds — we all know what he did…
    But you didn’t respond to my other challenge regarding NFL players and their obvious use of PEDs. Please recall that sports writers all over the US beat themselves up *after the fact* for not asking tougher questions about steroid use “while” guys like Brady Anderson were hitting 52 in a season.
    Again, I ask..how many 250-pound guys run a sub-4.4 in the 40 without a little help?
    By the way, next time you see Randy Cross in the booth, ask him if he’s still 280 pounds… Probably all diet, I’m sure.
    Over to you, Lowell.

    August 25th, 2011 4:13 pm

  11. tkh

    ahh, see this is where I have issue with some sports writers. At least as far as my comments were concerned, I was NOT defending Bonds. I was responding to your insulting tone towards the fans. You really weren’t making a comment about Bonds you were commenting on the fans and the broadcaster’s response to him. The issue I have is that you make a comment that when we disagree puts us in a position of seemingly defending Bonds. When in reality it is possible to disagree with you or how you present the issue without necessarily saying what Bonds did was ok. I think that is really poor form on your part. It’s the Ralph Barbieri system of having a discussion. You make a point and anyone who disagrees or comments on it must necessarily be defending the opposite…not true and very disappointing.

    August 25th, 2011 4:17 pm

  12. tkh

    oh and by the way, the first txt I received during the broadcast when they showed him was he looks a lot thinner, which I was thinking also….but really Mr. Cohn that wasn’t your point now was it…

    August 25th, 2011 4:19 pm

  13. Bob In Pacifica

    This is my problem: It’s not necessarily the criticism of Bonds. We get it. It’s the repetitious criticism, much like the personal jihads against Alex Smith. It’s boring after a point. Nothing new is added. For example, you can believe Bonds took steroids and Bonds perjured himself but that he shouldn’t have been charged with obstruction of justice. It’s a legal point. You can believe that Alex Smith isn’t a great quarterback but understand why he’s still a Niner and realize that reality won’t change no matter how much you complain.

    This reminds me of a large pool of reactionary posters at various news sites who, no matter what the subject, feel the need to insinuate the President’s name into their comments. Hurricane Irene? Why does Obama play golf at a time like this? Why isn’t Obama personally catching illegals coming over the border? Why doesn’t Obama lower California’s state taxes? What’s the problem with this obsessiveness? Aside from generally being embarrassing for the poster it also obscures actual criticism of the President.

    The problem with criticizing Bonds, or Tiger Woods or Alex Smith? Nothing. It’s the obsessiveness of the criticism that’s my problem.

    August 26th, 2011 7:14 am

  14. CohnZohn

    Bob in Pacifica, you make fair and pointed criticisms which I take seriously now and going forward. Thank you. May I meekly say two things in my defense? I really was shocked by how thin Bonds’ face looked. Remember, I covered his trial and sat very close to him and his face was not that thin. So I experienced a visual shock. I should have made that clear in the blog — better that than sarcasm. Re: Alex Smith, of course I will write about him in the regular season and then I will have real performances to go on. I see the Niner storylines this way. Number one: do they win or lose? Number two: How does Smith do? Number three: How does Harbaugh do? Two and three could be reversed. Thanks again for your comment and for making me think about these things.

    August 26th, 2011 10:19 am

  15. lance w

    Lowell, I appreciate you taking Bob in Pacifica’s post to heart. Good stuff. Your taking on of Harbaugh is respectable as well. That guy has a good track record for college football, but that doesn’t always translate into the NFL (ie. Carrol, Erickson from Pac 10). There is some humbling that needs to happen…and already has. Stay on him. He seems to like the mental and verbal chess match you have started. Keep us posted on your interviews with him. I believe that is your nitch right now…not Barry.

    August 26th, 2011 11:22 pm

  16. Dennis

    Bob in Pacific, you need to practice what you preach. You blamed the policies of “Bush and his cronies” for the gang violence out at Candlestick last week. That strikes me to be very similar to your lament about blaming Obama for things beyond his control. I agree that the obsessiveness of the criticism gets old.

    August 27th, 2011 9:39 am

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