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And Another Thing


A deafening silence


So, did you hear the latest about Barry Bonds?

Didn't think so.

The other day the court system landed on him with no feet -- which is to say, he got next to nothing for lying to the feds and obstructing justice about his steroid use. For his crimes, Bonds will get to spend 30 days under house arrest in what no doubt is a considerable house.

Oh, and he has to serve two years probation and do 250 hours of community service.

Oh, and he has to pay a $4,000 fine, parking-meter money for a guy who made almost $200 million in his career.

Oh, and, despite the fact he got off nearly scot-free, he's appealing.

Which ought to provoke outrage, gnashing of teeth and the general rending of garments among the Baseball Purity Police, but of course it hasn't. Only this guy seems exercised about it, and mainly he's exercised about it only because he can no longer get exercised about it.

The conclusion he draws from this, accurately: The Days of Steroid Rage are over.

I wholeheartedly concur. Why, even when National League MVP Ryan Braun tested positive for PEDs a week or so back, it barely created a ripple. It was all over the blogs and websites and Sports Center for a day or so, and then it vanished.

America shrugged.

I don't know quite what to make of that, frankly. But it's not necessarily a bad thing.

I hope, for instance, that the reason the public's capacity for outrage about PEDs seems exhausted is because the public has come to its senses on this issue, and realized finally an immutable truth: PEDs have been with us forever in one form or fashion, and they likely always will be. The technology for creating new and wondrous ways to Pump You Up is always going to run ahead of the technology for policing those ways, so it's a fool's game to think you can ever "clean up" any sport that requires strength or stamina or muscles the size of foothills.

So I say, let 'em use what they want, but monitor what they use. They're gonna use it anyway.

And as far as Bonds et al are concerned?

Well, I heard some radio yak the other day saying that Bonds and Roger Clemens and the rest of the chemical boys can forget about ever getting in the Hall of Fame, that they'd be banned by the voters forever.

My reaction: Forever's a long time.

Ben Smith's blog.