I will admit that the scene surrounding Barry Bonds’ record-breaking homerun Tuesday night was special. But that’s the problem. It took about the time a batter needs to recognize a pitch—about 1.2 seconds for the gravity of the accomplishment to diminish. “Oh, yeah, this isn’t real. He used steroids” must have been the refrain from everyone in America not residing within the county of San Francisco .
It’s sad. This moment should have surpassed Cal Ripken running around Camden Yards slapping high-fives with the fans after breaking Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games streak. But it couldn’t because everyone knows the mark is a fraud, an evil machination of Bonds’ thirst for glory to the extreme. Ripken played everyday because of hard work and the fortune to avoid serious injury. His story rang true with every working man who ever woke up at the crack of dawn and defied the urge to call in sick. Ripken’s story reminded us of a time when that was the American ideal. Today, Bonds reminds us of something that makes us uncomfortable as a society.
The steroid scandal involving Bonds will be remembered by historians as a symptom of our country’s health. Whether it’s financial misdeeds like Enron or Tyco or our government’s dishonesty with the reasons to go to war or whether it’s Barry Bonds; it’s about cheating and how Americans have more or less found it acceptable enough to live with.