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Has the media gone soft on Barry Bonds recently?

Posted: Friday May 11, 2007 12:58PM; Updated: Friday May 11, 2007 12:58PM
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Even at age 42, Barry Bonds continues to rake at the plate as he fast approaches Hank Aaron's record.
Even at age 42, Barry Bonds continues to rake at the plate as he fast approaches Hank Aaron's record.
John Medina/WireImage.com
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Six months ago nearly everyone was lambasting Barry Bonds. The Mark McGwire Hall of Fame vote was the high water mark for the media taking a stand against steroids. Alas, that solidarity is gone. For whatever reason, writers such as yourself are now beginning the campaign to rehabilitate Bonds' image. Why? Is it to build hype for the chase, to give you something to talk about? Is it in response to the supposed racial undertones to Bonds' records? For whatever reason, you should be ashamed. Baseball has been degraded enough, both by its own inaction and the implicit complicity of the media during the '90s. MLB seems unwilling to stand up to its steroids-laced record holders, but the media at least should try to stand for something. I'm very disappointed in you and many of your colleagues, both at SI and elsewhere.
--Jeremy S., Arlington, Va.

I'm not sure what you mean by the "campaign to rehabilitate'' Bonds' image. But if you're referring to my suggestion that Bud Selig attend the record-setting moment or my criticisms of Curt Schilling for ripping Bonds, I didn't mean to imply that Bonds is natural or that I'm happy that he's about to break Hank Aaron's home run record. I do agree that Bonds' record will be tainted. Perhaps you're right that I should be mentioning this more often, and if I've seemed pro-Bonds lately, well, it's not because I feel pro-Bonds. If there's been a change from me, I don't think it's race-related; perhaps it's because I'm reacting to all the other negativity and not wanting to pile on. Perhaps I'm thinking about how many others did what Bonds did and why he's the one who seems to have been singled out at times. And perhaps I'm a little amazed that he can hit like this at age 42, no matter how much flaxseed oil he's downed. That said, no matter how many homers Bonds hits, I'll still think of Aaron as the real home run king. Until Alex Rodriguez passes him, that is.

You've taken a few shots at Schilling recently. You referred to him as a "blowhard" in the Gary Thorne fiasco, and now you've taken him to task (fairly) for criticizing Bonds. Yet in these diatribes, you have not mentioned that when Schilling discussed the Thorne fiasco in his blog, he specifically mentioned you by name as a discredit to your profession. Wouldn't that tidbit give some understanding to the reader concerning your interest in, and negative perception, of Schilling?
--Joe Jones, Alexandria, Va.

Technically, Schilling didn't quite name me ... though he tried. On his long and distinguished list of media members whom he doesn't much like, I assume Schilling meant me when he said, "John, Jack, Joe or whatever his first name is, Heyman.'' He is not one to judge good journalism, however. In terms of reporting accuracy, I have never falsely said that someone had admitted to cheating on his wife, the U.S. government and the game, as Schilling did when he made those claims about Bonds. This journalism thing isn't as easy as it looks, huh Schill? I believe I'm negative on Schilling because I'm generally down on loudmouths and blowhards, no matter what they may think of me.

After reviewing the April statistics for Gil Meche, are you going to admit that you made a mistake in evaluating his worth, talent and contract? I know it's a long season, but I just don't see Meche's numbers pushing him to the back -- or even the middle -- of the pack by the end of the season.
--Tim, Chicago (via Kansas City)

In the interest of fairness, how about mentioning Meche's 3-1 record, seven of eight quality starts, 2.15 ERA ... or would that call into question the snarkiness of your earlier statements? Be fair, Jon. It may not sell as well as a rip job, but you may sleep better.
--Jeff Hill, Overland Park, Kansas

You guys are right. No one liked the Meche signing less than me. I was, after all, the one who claimed that Meche was French for "flushing money down the toilet.'' While I'm not sure if Royals GM Dayton Moore recalled that and other wrongheaded comments of mine, I actually did call this week to apologize to Moore (no kidding). And if I had his number, I'd call Meche, as well. I'll print the highlights of my conversation with Moore soon.

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