Within 3 years the baseball's career homerun record will be 755, Aaron, Hank.
Also the following records will be erased:
Rank Player (age that year) Home Runs Year Bats
1. Barry Bonds* (36) 73 2001 L
2. Mark McGwire (34) 70 1998 R
3. Sammy Sosa (29) 66 1998 R
4. Mark McGwire (35) 65 1999 R
5. Sammy Sosa (32) 64 2001 R
6. Sammy Sosa (30) 63 1999 R
because the following arguments will be seen for what they are, rationalizations of cheating.
1) Lots of people were doing it
2) They weren't breaking a baseball rule (just federal law)
3) Bonds and others were great players to begin with (so they get to cheat?)
4) We can't know exactly how many homeruns resulted from performance enhancers (what if we found out a player had used a corked bat for years?)
5) People have cheated in other ways throughout time
The other day, ESPN commentators said, critically, that the baseball administration would try to taint the record by mentioning the ongoing investigation. The cheating itself, not the references to the cheating, taints the record.
It will be tough in the short run, but necessary in the long run, for baseball, and all sports, to face the demons and come clean. Erasure, not asterisks, is the answer. The NFL, once held up as having the best league policy on performance enhancers, faces its own problems, as evidenced by outstanding Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman testing positive and only missing 4 games.
Ironically, track and field is often cited as the sport with the most problems with performance enhancers, and yet it is the sport that has tried to test the earliest of almost any American sport. Ben Johnson had his 100 meter gold medal from the 1988 Olympics stripped from him 17 years before Major League Baseball established an effective testing policy. Recently, Justin Gatlin had his share of the 100 meter world record taken away after testing positive. Contrast that definitive action with the rationalizations surrounding Bonds.
Currently track athletes face ban of two years for a positive test, compared to 50 games, a third of a season, in baseball, and 4 games, a quarter of a season, in the NFL. A second positive results in a lifetime ban, and the USATF is proposing a lifetime ban on a first positive. And let's not forget that BALCO and its test-eluding steroid the clear were revealed by the initiative of track coach Trevor Graham, albeit for motives of jealousy, not altruism.
There are, of course, still track athletes cheating. The record books contain remnants of Eastern Bloc drug programs, the mysterious earthshattering feats of female Chinese distance runners (one runner broke the 5000 meter world record during her 10,000 meter race), and others, including Americans, using performance enhancers independent of any state-run regimen. But the policy is clear -- any athlete caught will face severe punishment, any tainted record expunged. Track produces scandal by, for the most part, refusing to look the other way and knowing the scandal and negative publicity are the price of refusing to turn a blind eye.
Skins will go 6 and 10. Gibbs will retire. Cowher will be hired.
Wiz will go 51 and 31 and make it to the conference finals.
Alan Webb will win the world championships in the 1500 and receive attention due.