Sports

For Better Or Worse, Barry Bonds Is Bound To Drug Controversy
Posted by Daniel Kuo on Jul 8, 2007 - 12:07:00 AM

July 10 is the 2007 MLB All-Star Game, played in San Francisco.  Ken Griffey Jr. of the Cincinnati Reds and Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees were the top vote-getters for their respective leagues, based on the record 18.5 million votes cast by fans.  Barry Bonds, meanwhile, becomes the oldest player to be an All-Star, at 42.  Bonds was barely voted into his own hometown’s All-Star game, overcoming a deficit of over 100,000 votes and edging into the third and final starter’s slot in the final days of balloting.  We can’t know for sure whether or not Barry Bonds actually used performance-enhancing drugs, but two things are certain.  One, Bonds will hit more home runs than any other player in history; as of July 4, he needs only five more to break Hank Aaron’s all-time record of 755.  And two, in terms of Bonds’ legacy, that record will be equaled, and perhaps even eclipsed, by the drug controversy
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surrounding him.  Bonds is about to outshine one of the most impressive achievements in baseball history, and yet, he is appearing in his first All-Star game since 2004 and is roundly booed at every stadium besides his own.  The popular phrase to describe him is that his record will go into the books “with an asterisk.”  But he isn’t going to need one.  Twenty years from now, when ESPN columnists mention Bonds, he won’t just be “Barry Bonds, the all-time home run leader.”  He’ll be “Barry Bonds, the all-time home run leader who was also embroiled in suspicions of drug use.”  Some fans think he deserves it; some don’t.  But in the end, it doesn’t matter.  Bonds’ legacy is already decided.

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David Beckham is scheduled to officially join the Los Angeles Galaxy on July 13, and his Major League debut will be on July 31, a game that is supposed to be one of the biggest sports stories of the year. 
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Considering America’s woeful ignorance of soccer, is Beckham’s arrival really going to be that momentous?  It’s obvious that the Galaxy thinks so, based off of the 5 year, $250 million contract that Beckham’s receiving (that’s 90 cents for every second he plays, in case you were wondering).  I personally have no idea what will happen, but I can’t say I’m as optimistic.  It’d be one thing if he was still the ball-bending, English soccer-saving hero that he was five or six years ago.  But David Beckham is 32, well past his prime, and clearly more interested in money at this point than in any victories on the field.  The consensus among soccer aficionados (a group of which I am admittedly not a member) seems to be that Beckham isn’t even one of the elite players anymore.  So which is bigger now: Beckham’s reputation, or his play?  And which will matter more?

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The NBA off season has barely even started and there’s already too much news to cover.  All-Star forward Rashard Lewis has left Seattle to sign with the Orlando Magic, which is a fantastic fit: Lewis finally get to be the offensive leader that he wants to be, and Orlando adds a great scorer to a miserable offense.  Some other transactions include forward Zach Randolph heading to New York, shooting guard Ray Allen being traded to Boston, and injury-prone veteran Grant Hill signing with Phoenix.  But the biggest stories may still be yet to come, judging by the onslaught of rumors circulating about Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant.  Two stars who can still decide their own legacies…if only their teams would let them.