As a voter for baseball's Hall of Fame, I will vote for Barry Bonds.
He has my vote not because I like him. Bonds was one of the most unpleasant persons I met in my 30-plus years covering the sport. Bonds could take a sunny day at the beach and make someone feel like they were fishing for crab in the Bering Sea.
He has my vote not because I think all his 762 homers were hit clean, without chemical aid, without help from Dr. Feelgood. I saw his body change from the 1993 model of lithe, supple and strong to the 2003 model of the Michelin Man, muscles ballooning from places I didn't know had muscles. I'm surprised that when Bonds bent over green liquid didn't squirt out of his ears and sizzle like bacon when it landed on the sidewalk.
Bonds has my vote because I feel I have no choice. I can't keep him out of Cooperstown because of, well, just look at that puffy body! He had to use! You can't come by that look naturally! Suspicions, rumors, inflamed musculature, that will be good enough for some voters. Sorry, I need proof, not suspicion.
The feds came after Bonds like he was Al Capone. They invested millions of dollars, and probably as many man-hours, trying to put Bonds in a cell with Bubba for 20 or so years. All they got him on was this cheesy obstruction of justice charge which is like handing out a parking ticket to someone who just went 120 mph through a school zone. They got him to admit he rubbed himself with something he didn't know was a PED.
Of course we didn't believe him. We just know he lied. We just know he juiced. We just know he cheated.
We won't, until he admits it. We won't, until his former personal trainer Greg Anderson, his chump, rats him out. Not until there's physical evidence, a positive test, or irrefutable testimony. When Bonds' reputation and image are flogged in public by the Giants administration, ex-teammates and the commissioner, then we'll know. Oh yes, by the way, the commissioner. Bud Selig, the purported protector of all that's good and holy in MLB — cough, cough, gag, gag — has not removed or even hinted at removing Bonds from the record books. Bonds is not banned from any stadium. Bonds is free to go as he pleases, like at AT&T for Game 1 of the 2012 World Series, where he didn't experience even a cursory search.
Yes, certainly, Bonds is a pariah in the sport. The man with the most home runs in baseball history is not being shown off like a parade car by the Giants. He is not excluded from anything but he is not welcomed, either. Baseball wants him to go away and, well, it should. There's nothing but a cloud over him wherever he goes.
But Bonds should get into Cooperstown because if he doesn't, the resulting slippery slope makes everyone a suspect, the innocent as well as the guilty. Houston's Craig Biggio, for example, he of 3,060 hits, couldn't have used steroids, it has been said, because Biggio didn't look like he did. Really? That's the proof? Using such vapid logic, pick a name, any name, and it's not above suspicion — that dirty little word fuels tabloids and Facebook.