Barry Bonds, left, chats with David Ortiz prior to a game at Fenway Park in Boston in June 2007. (Winslow Townson/AP)

The Tao of Barry Bonds

The greatest hitter in baseball would prefer if you did not besmirch the name of the greatest designated hitter in the game.

Barry Bonds, former Giants legend, came to the defense of Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz recently.

Why? Bonds and Ortiz share a common enemy: Meddling journalists who question late-in-career success at the plate.

“Doesn’t matter, bro,” Bonds told the Boston Herald. “You have the talent, you can do it. It’s [that] the expectations of David are higher than most. Nothing to do with, ‘Can he do it?’

“Let’s get this story right. You guys [media aiming to find the real reason behind Ortiz’s late-career slugging success] are trying to do stuff that’s not proper, or truthful. David Ortiz has been a great hitter for a long time. Nothing changes between now and then. He’s just 40, or whatever how old he is.”

Was Barry really making a case for his admittance to the Hall of Fame by proxy? Possibly, because Bonds produced more at the plate over his career than Big Papi, and he was expected to play the entire game.

Both have three words looming over their respective legacies like a storm cloud: performance enhancing drugs. It was revealed that Ortiz failed a drug screening in 2003; that result was supposed to be held in confidence but was leaked to the press, forever tainting the Sox slugger’s legacy.

But none of that matters in the court of public opinion.

Bonds won’t get in as long as the current guard of self-fashioned St. Peters decide who is enshrined. They see their role as far too important to allow the single greatest offensive player into Cooperstown, and that’s a shame.

If Papi is given the same treatment, that would be a similar disgrace.

The fact of the matter is 100 other players tested positive in the sweep that got Papi, and we’ll never know their identities. And since we don’t know comprehensively who cheated and who didn’t, the only way to be intellectually consistent is to admit the best players and avoid playing God.

A tough task for some sportswriters, I know.
Barry BondsBoston Red SoxCooperstownDavid OrtizHall of FameSan Francisco Giants

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