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now comes the king of steroids, still a-questing after no. 715. he's gonna hit it against the cardinals, no question about it -- the set-up is too rich with poetic justice for him not to. what better manager for him to hit it against than the one who gave baseball's original steroid sinner, joe canseco, his first big-league job -- and presided over needle-tainted clubhouses across two decades and two franchises? and what better team for barry to inflict the indignity on than the one that witnessed the juice-fueled destruction of homerdom's other mystical number, 61?

the chat boards and radio airwaves will overflow with indignant denunciations of bonds -- that motherf**kin cheater -- and with disgust for the media hypocrites who alternately build the guy up and tear him down. others will try to tune out this whole jerry springer episode -- the chase, the media circus, the backlash -- and focus on something less fraught. like, say, the ozzie-tony tiff. even (maybe i should say "especially") giant fans themselves are sick of all this. from the Mccovey Chronicles:

I think I'm going to take my own ears off with a belt sander if I hear one more thing about Barry Bonds.
i'm sure we can all relate. and we're all gonna be walking around with sanded-off ears, because the barrage of words is only beginning. the findings of commis'r selig's steroid "investigation," and the many parsings thereof, lie ahead; so, too, do the debates that will be occasioned by bonds' first appearance on a hall-of-fame ballot. and should bonds threaten hank aaron's career home-run mark. . . . well, let's just not think about it.

naive child that i am, i continue to hope that we will be spared all of this empty and useless chatter, and that someone will step forward -- not an exile like jose canseco, but a respected figure who has a reputation to lose -- and put the conversation on a truthful, hence meaningful, footing. we already can guess the truth about bonds, mcgwire, sosa, and the many other abusers, but we also need to know the full story of their many accomplices, direct and indirect -- the owners, agents, trainers, managers, tv executives, union reps, league presidents, etc. until baseball has that kind of reckoning with the steroid era, the words expended on these subjects will be about as enlightening as baboon screeching.

if you read eight men out by eliot asinof or saw john sayles' movie version thereof, you know that the infamous Black Sox who threw the World Series in 1919 didn't cheat in a vacuum. they weren't merely bad people who committed bad acts; they were regular people, flawed people, whose worst impulses were drawn out by a corrupt industry with skewed incentives and dishonest leaders. the shock of that episode forced a revolutionary change at the top of the baseball hierarchy -- the invention of the commissioner's office. that office was essentially abolished in 1992 when the owners got rid of fay vincent and put one of their own in charge; an era of rampant cheating ensued.

i don't think that is a coincidence.

just for the record, i'll predict that bonds mashes #715 tuesday night against jason marquis; that'd just be poor jason's luck. it'll land in the cove, and the kayakers will swarm and folks'll be diving into the bay off the pacbell promenade. chris berman will be out there too, broadcasting from the deck of a "baseball tonight" yacht; and the goodyear blimp will train its camera on eight guys floating on their backs, arms linked, with the letters "S T E R O I D S" painted on their bare chests. then a giant sea serpent will rise up from the depths and swallow them all; the waters will soon cease to roil, the umpire will cry "play ball!" and the damn game will resume again.

or so we can hope.

more on the subject at secret weapon's diary and at this thoughtful diary posted at athletics nation.