MONSON: Murphy doesn't mince words about Bonds
Online now at sltrib.com and coming in Thursday's print edition
The voice on the other end of the phone ranted this week just the way a lot of callers on my afternoon-drive radio show rant against the injustices of the day. In this case, the throttling of honor and virtue was Barry Bonds' dirty onslaught of Hank Aaron's career home run record.
The only difference?
The voice here wasn't a mechanic's, emanating out from under the hood a broken down '92 Dodge pickup at the garage, or via the cell phone of an urban commuter who ended his work day by getting yelled at by his boss for something that wasn't his fault.
It belonged to a two-time National League MVP, one of the most respected baseball players of his generation, and, in this particular instance, an extremely frustrated fan who has seen and heard enough of the current farce foisted upon lovers of his game.
During an impromptu 10-minute discourse on 1280 AM, a couple of hours before Bonds broke the all-time home run mark, Dale Murphy went off, saying, among other things, that if Aaron had used the performance enhancers that Bonds has used, he would have hit 855 home runs.
The rant was a rambler, but a keeper, prompted by a question about what parents should tell their baseball-loving kids regarding Bonds as he sets the record, and also by a previous call from a Giants fan who attempted to rationalize and legitimize Bonds' obliteration of the most hallowed stat in all of sports.
Here are excerpts of Murphy's words:
"I'd have called sooner, guys, but I had to get my car pulled out of the ditch I just drove into. This is a great teaching moment for a parent. You can explain to your kids why you're not watching [Bonds] and why it doesn't interest you.
"Even in a court of law, which this isn't, in my opinion, you can have a preponderance of circumstantial evidence to convict somebody. Now, maybe I'm wrong, but when you get enough stuff on a guy, you can make a decision. It's really a no-brainer.
"[Bonds] would have become one of the great ones, anyway. Now, he sucked the fun and the life right out of it. There is enough evidence to me to say without a doubt that he used performance-enhancing drugs. He hit 73 home runs when he was 37. Hank would have hit 855 if he had the same advantage.
"Barry's a great player, but he put an asterisk by his name on his own. He's deserved all the negative publicity that he's getting. People have been complaining that he's being treated unfairly. Life isn't usually like that. You don't just get treated unfairly. You usually get what you deserve.
"This is what Barry deserves. He's a hard guy to like. He's a hard teammate to have. He's set a terrible example for our kids.
"That's what you say to your kids. You say, 'This is what happens when you take steroids. Your dad doesn't want to watch this, because it's drug abuse.'
"It's frustrating. . . . Giants fans love it, and they are blinded by it. Most people put an asterisk by it. They have a problem with how [Bonds] has gone about his career. That's what I tell my kids.
"There are a lot of [major leaguers] who are not being totally honest with how they feel about what Barry's done . . . You take an anonymous poll of what players think and you'd have more Curt Schillings. The guy's a great talent, but when you take exceptional talent and increase it with drug abuse, that's what you get.
"It's never been legal to abuse a controlled substance . . . A lot of guys decided not to do it, even though they weren't testing. I decided not to do it. I thought it was wrong. It was illegal. I said, 'I'm not going to do that.' [Bonds] has a trainer sitting in prison because he won't testify against Bonds.
"He hasn't denied it. He said he took it, but didn't know what it was. We found out later it was steroids.
"You just have to teach your kids to make judgments in life. You're not always going to have all the facts, but you've got to make judgments. I understand in this country you're innocent until proven guilty, but this isn't a law case, this is how you feel.
"People don't think [Bonds] did it the right way. I know he [used performance enhancers]. I don't have a problem saying I know he did. It's obvious.
"I've got to take a deep breath here.
"I've said it all before, but for some reason we love our sports so much that we sometimes are so forgiving . . . But this is a great example of how not to handle your career, and how not to treat people.
"We've got to change the culture in sports.
"I just had to get that off my chest."
So, Dale, calling from Utah County, did.
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