Here's my take on Barry and the new book due out later this month.
Let me first begin by answering some questions ... "Do you like Barry?" As a ballplayer, yes, no one can question he's a great talent on the field. Any fan of any team would want Barry on their roster too. As an individual, I can't answer that because I don't know him, but he doesn't appear to be the most personable guy in the world either.
"Why can't you just admit he used steroids?" Quite frankly, I don't care ... if we are now going to scrutinize whether Barry has cheated or not ... let's throw everyone else under the bus too. Last I read, it was projected that anywhere from 30% to 50% of the ballplayers from 1998-2003 were using sometype of performance enhancing product. With that said, I can careless if Barry used or not because so many others have too.
"Do you condone cheating?" To the casual fan, here's a reality check for you ... cheating has been a part of the game since the beginning. Whether you like it or not, that's a fact. Corked bats, emery boards, sand paper - what are those? Those help a batter or a pitcher obtain an advantage too. So I don't want to hear these holier-than-though bible thumping baseball fans preach how cheating cannot be tolerated when it's been happening for years.
"Don't you think Barry's single-season HR record should be taken off the book?" No ... are we now going to examine every player that has a record and decide on whether to subtract their stats from the record books because of the notion that it wasn't on the up-and-up.
"Do you think Barry belongs in the Hall of Fame? If so, why not include Pete Rose too?"
Yes, I think Barry belongs in the HOF when he becomes eligible after his retirement. Regarding the comparison to Pete Rose - we are comparing apples and oranges - before entering every MLB locker room, there is a sign from MLB warning players that betting on games are illegal. The fact of the matter is, gambling on baseball is illegal based on MLB's by-laws that was in enacted years ago (think Chicago Black Sox). At no time, during the late 90's and early 2000's did MLB have a rule or by-law banning performance enhancing substances. And if an ethical argument is going to be made, than let's look at the character of every HOF'er. Ty Cobb was noted a racist and bigot - should he belong in the Hall? Babe Ruth, the great Bambino, the one player that saved baseball from the Black Sox scandal cheated on his wife and partied like an animal - should he be in the Hall?
In my opinion, Barry has used something - he stated that during his grand jury testimony (though, he made it known he didn't know what it was - unintentional use). However, we can go down the list of every team and find players that have used something as well (A's, Padres, Yankees, Mariners, Devil Rays and so on).
Now, what bothers me is the notion that Barry is the only player that has used something. How many players were suspended last year for testing positive for a banned substance?
In regard to the book, we are beating a dead horse, nothing new is being reported or written about. Clearly, individuals are out to make a quick buck - let's get that straight from the beginning.
Again, I'm not saying Barry didn't use something … my position is, so what? Who hasn't?
One additional point to close on … MLB was made aware (decades ago) of a steroid epidemic and did nothing about it. True, it takes two to tango, and you can place blame with Donald Fehr and the Player's Union for refusing to have testing when it was first discussed. But as the saying goes, "don't hate the player, hate the game" - I think it could apply in this case. The forces of baseball could have done something to solve this problem and they chose not to when they had the chance.