Your “if everyone else jumped off a bridge argument” about Barry Bonds is too simplistic. The point is not whether he was right to take steroids. The point is, if so many other players were ostensibly taking steroids, how uneven was the playing field? If the pitchers, fielders and other batters are also juiced, doesn’t that at least dilute this argument of an “unfair advantage”?

Also, this concept of the sanctity of records is absurd. There have been spitballs, emery boards, nail files, corked bats, scorekeepers with telescopes in the scoreboard, tipping pitches, uppers and even fixed games since the beginning of the sport. If you want to talk about race, what are the chances that a guy like Josh Gibson might have given the record a run for its money? He was never allowed to play in the majors at all. If he were, would his life have turned out differently? We don’t know and can’t know.

It’s impossible to go back and root out such issues and adjust history for the sake of someone’s subjective definition of “integrity.” The only way to maintain the validity of the records is to leave them be and let them stand. Baseball needs to move forward and decide what to do in the future about steroid abuse. There is nothing it can do about the past.

Jeff’s Response:

Lots of good points. I’ll try to address them one by one.

The first is the toughest: How tainted could Barry Bonds’ home runs have been if they came off a pitcher on steroids? Did he really have some sort of advantage in that situation? And what about batters who didn’t use steroids and hit home runs off pitchers who were? Do we revise those to 1½? It’s a question we cannot answer because we do not know, and even if we did, finding a solution would take years.

Cheating in baseball is one thing. Using illegal drugs to cheat is another.

Baseball, in all likelihood, will let its records stand. If it chooses to do so, let’s hope the fans are educated enough to determine the true record-holders.

Passan