Sunday, July 15, 2007

Barry Bonds and the Coffee Stain

I once read that some great discoveries, like penicillin and making paper from wood, were discovered by accident.

Under less important discoveries, I just discovered that the bottom rim of my favorite coffee cup seems to leak. The discovery was made as I noticed the coffee ring stain on the off-white carpet in our den. It was confirmed when I cleaned off the bottom rim of the cup (as well as cleaned up the spot on the carpet) and noticed that a similar ring was now on the counter where I had placed my cup after cleaning it. (As my wife is still asleep, my writing this incident in the blog will give me the chance to discover if my wife actually reads it.) As this particular cup is the one that celebrates the 25th anniversary of Aaron breaking Ruth's record of 714 home runs, I figure it means that Barry Bonds will go on a tear this week and get the last five homers he needs to break Aaron's record of 755 homers.

I remember when Aaron broke the record. I was sitting in the den with my Dad, watching the Braves play the Dodgers on Monday Night Baseball. Al Downing was pitching for the Dodgers. Aaron hit #715 and I was a happy kid. I don't even remember if the Braves won; granted, I was just a kid and wasn't allowed to stay up late and watch the end of the game anyway.

When Bonds inevitably breaks the record, the accomplishment will be tainted with steroids. It's never been proven that Bonds took steroids and people should be innocent until proven guilty, but Bonds will have to deal with this. If there is any fault though, it is not with Bonds. It's with Major League Baseball. They could have addressed drug use in the sport well over a decade ago, but chose to ignore it instead.

Baseball's only option is to come clean now, something which they claim to be doing with the Mitchell investigation and the new punishments they instituted last year. However, MLB will never able to fully clean away what happened. When I first noticed the coffee stain on the carpet, it was a complete circle. Now, after several cleanings, only a small spot remains. I will continue to apply spot remover, trying desperately to get rid of the last little bit. However, like the steroids blot on MLB, the last little spot will, I fear, remain there for some time to come.

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