Barry Bonds* is about to break one of the most coveted records in all of sports. As Bonds��� career home run count increases, so does conjecturing as to whether Bonds belongs in the Hall of Fame. Hank Aaron said he will not be at the game in which Bonds hits his 756th home run, and Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig has not announced if he will be present. The integrity of baseball is at an all-time low.
It is ironic that what is now drawing jeers and criticism from fans is what brought the fans back to the ballpark after the 232-day strike in 1994 that resulted in cancellation of the Word Series. Baseball returned, but many fans did not. It took the long ball (and steroids) to bring attendance and revenue back.
Major League Baseball���s stance on drug use has changed drastically in recent years. Prior to 2003, players didn���t have to worry about drug testing. Steroid accusations that once fell on deaf ears have now made their way into Congressional hearings. Now, at the risk of losing fans again, sport-wide standards are a must to restore credibility.
Barry Bonds has never tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs but his legacy is likely to never recover from the controversy. As in the ongoing metal-versus-wood bat debate in New York, regulation consistency is needed in sports today to reinstate integrity. I hope in the near future baseball returns to its original form; that fans return to baseball to see the sport free of steroids and records without controversy.
What do you think -- should Barry Bonds have a spot in the Hall of Fame?
Toby Guillette is Active.com's Endurance Online Community Specialist. He is an outdoor-adventure-sports aficionado specializing in ultra-running.
With Barry Bonds approaching the Major League Baseball home run record at a steady pace, the uncomfortable discussion of his hall-of-fame worthiness continues to underscore the priorities of American professional sports.
European bicycle racing has been the target of major doping scandals, investigations and confessions for decades. The endless cycle of use, detection and deception has recently injected its presence into professional baseball and steroid testing is now prevalent throughout the league. The slippery slope includes widespread use of human growth hormone (HGH) because there is not a test designed or administered to target the use of HGH. Now a urine test is in the developmental stages and thus the cycle continues.
The consequence for doping in the sport of professional cycling can cost an athlete his records, sponsorship and career while Major League Baseball players pay fines and serve multi-game suspensions. Even under the most aggressive circumstances, athletes in our society are encouraged to risk it all when the reward of sports success outweighs the punishment and stigma associated with the use performance enhancing drugs.
Whether Bonds enters the history books accompanied by an asterisk, or not, the origin of this subject remains the relationship of sport to our society. The complex web of commerce, media and politics will always dictate what the consumer deems moral or not. Fans will continue to buy tickets and tune in across the country to watch these modern-day super heroes ���go yard.���