In the wake of the Barry Bonds verdict — the retired slugger was convicted of a single count of obstruction of justice — Bob Costas unleashed the fury on MLB Network:
Seventy-three is not an authentic number. Seven-sixty-two is not an authentic number. … The authentic single season season home run champion is Roger Maris. The authentic career home run king is Hank Aaron. You would have to think the world is flat to believe anything other than that.
As George Will might say, “Well.”
Bonds almost certainly used performance enhancing drugs, as did many of his peers, but lest we forget about our National Pastime:
Babe Ruth never had to face African-American pitchers.
Roger Maris competed at a time when amphetamines and other dangerous, performance-enabler “greenies” were everywhere.
Cocaine was plentiful in 1970s and 80s clubhouses.
Hundreds of players have cheated, from runners stealing signs to pitchers using emery boards and other foreign substances to batters lying about whether they were hit with a pitch.
Are we really qualified to make judgments as to whose home-run numbers are legit and whose are to be discarded?
By the way, much has been made about how Bonds was 37 when he broke the single-season home run record. As former relief pitcher Bob Tufts has pointed out:
Hank Aaron had his highest HR total (47), highest SLG (.669), highest OPS (1.074) and highest OPS+ (194) [when he was 37 years old]. His best 3 year HR total was from ages 35 to 37, and he hit 40 HR’s at age 39. … Do you really want to go there?
Whadduya say, Mr. Costas? Will you go there for us flat-earth types?