Heaven knows I cannot stand Kanye West — his music isn’t nearly good enough to justify his arrogance, in my humble opinion. However, if it’s about baseball, then it is going to catch my attention and it is fair game to post. A couple warnings: this song is not safe for work or for kids; and no, it’s not any better than any of Kanye’s other music. But since it at least hinted at a baseball theme, I was curious and had to give it a listen, and if it sparked my own curiosity, then I feel obligated to share it. Listen at your own risk.
On December 3, 2004, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Giants outfielder Barry Bonds admitted to a grand jury that he had used a clear substance and cream supplied to him by The Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO). Bonds also testified, however, that he was not aware that the substances were steroids.
Just the day before, slugger Jason Giambi had admitted to taking steroids provided by Bonds’s trainer.
For more information about BALCO’s history of providing steroids to professional athletes, you can check out this timeline provided by CNN.
On November 19, 2001, the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) determined in a landslide vote to award the NL Most Valuable Player Award to Giants slugger Barry Bonds. Bonds won 30 of 32 first place votes, winning his fourth career MVP award — the most by any single player to that point. Bonds went on to accumulate a total of seven MVP awards in his career, which remains the most for any given player.
Here’s another great infographic depicting record holders for the most career singles, doubles, triples, home runs, and grand slams — as of 2009. The one out-of-date piece of information on here is in the grand slam category, as Alex Rodriguez passed Gehrig’s record in 2013 with his 24th career grand slam.
I just finished watching Ken Burns’ documentary Baseball: The Tenth Inning. Unfortunately, I have to admit that I have yet to watch the original Baseball documentary, but when I found The Tenth Inning at the public library, I had to jump on the opportunity to at least watch that much.
The Tenth Inning is a two-DVD set that covers the story of Major League Baseball through the 1990s and the first decade of the 21st century. From the strike of 1994, to the influx of Latino players, to the home run race of 1998, and delving into a long look at the steroid scandal of recent years, this documentary does a good job of not only looking at the game itself, but also at the relationship between baseball and its fans. We see how baseball struggles against its own demons — greed, drug use — and consistently manages to rebound and draw its supporters back in.
My biggest criticism of the documentary lies in its extensive coverage of the steroid scandal. While hats were tipped to the likes of Ken Griffey, Jr., Cal Ripken, Jr., and Ichiro Suzuki, there were many moments throughout both DVDs that I felt like I was watching the Barry Bonds Show. We get an almost biographical look at Bonds’ background, his early years in baseball, his career as a whole, and his attitudes about the game through all of it. The focus of the second DVD primarily revolved around steroids, with Bonds right in the middle of it, of course. Meanwhile, all the teams that won World Series championships in the early 2000s received about twelve seconds of coverage each.
It’s unfortunate that such a negative chapter in baseball history has drawn so much attention. But as the documentary still reminds us, at the end of the day, it is baseball itself that keeps fans coming back. In spite of greed and scandal and steroids, baseball in itself is still a pretty great game.