Bonds Belts #755

This is “Part 1A in a multi-part series of SI’s coverage of Barry Bonds. Part 1 addressed SI’s COVERage BEFORE any BALCO allegations. Since Barry Bonds just hit his 755th home run, it seems like the perfect time to follow-up with a direct line-by-line response to Rick Reilly’s latest hit job on Barry Bonds (see parts of: “Giving Barry his Due” from an admiring fan). The backpage article could be found advertised atop SI’s July 23rd cover story on Hank Aaron (”Rick Reilly on How to Deal with 756″). If some of the language in this response seems a bit infantile, it is only because Reilly’s original language is being volleyed back…


Never seen anything like Sport’s Illustrated’s* and Rick Reilly’s* fake outrage about this Barry Bonds home run record. It’s like a publication reporting about a bank robbery after they helped provide the ski masks, guns, and getaway car.But some day soon – and let’s hope it is right in front of those hypocritical writers at Sports Illustrated* – Bonds will hit number 756, and the game will be stopped for a similar celebration that interrupted the game when Mark McGwire hit his 62nd home run back in 1998 with SI* cheerleading every step of the way (see this warm and fuzzy cover story authored by Rick Reilly). Like Bonds use of “the cream”, SI* of course, will claim that it cheered on “unknowingly”.

So how do you respond to such dishonest media coverage that looked the other way on the existence of performance enhancing drugs in baseball until it was allegedly utilized by a man that COSELLOUT will show that SI has long despised? Not to worry. COSELLOUT is here to help. As Bonds is running the bases of 756, feel free to …

– Light one of SI’s magazines and hold it up like a torch at an Olympic lighting ceremony.

– Cancel your SI subscription. You’ll never have to pay for another issue the rest of your life.

– Hold up one finger on each hand – tell Sports Illustrated* that they are #1 in sports reporting.

– Hold up a big sign: 61*. No, not to symbolize Maris’s 1961 HR record: the 6 is for the number of SI covers McGwire received in 1998 and the 1 is for the number Bonds received in 2001 as both broke the single season HR record)

– Women, hold up a copy of the ONLY female athlete to solely grace a regular issued cover of Sports Illustrated* in the last TWO years… Beyonce… What? Did you think it was Serena’s career-resurrecting January slam title?. Men, show the women your support and outrage by… oh, forget it…

– Call the Federal Government in Washington, DC, and ask George Bush why federal resources are being spent in a sting operation aimed specifically at Bonds when in 1992 as owner of the Texas Rangers no internal investigation was aimed at star steroid abuser Jose Canseco. Then call Ross Grimsley, the former baseball player recently “busted” for purchasing (not selling) HGH (not heroin). Ask him about his REAL crime which may involve time in jail for refusing to “wear a wire” in an effort to nail Bonds. Then ask Rick Reilly why he won’t devote one of his witty columns to address just how preposterous this is.

– Call the Hall of Fame and ask them if Babe Ruth’s achievements were ever reconsidered because he played in the “segregated era” never having to face the likes of Smokey Joe Williams or Satchel Paige; Bob Gibson or Juan Marichal; Pedro Martinez or Johan Santana; or Lee Smith or Mariano Rivera. Ask them if Mays and Aaron’s achievements were ever reconsidered because we now know that the now-banned amphetamines were as much a part of baseball as chewing tobacco. And ask them if they ever considered for one second recognizing Negro-league star Josh Gibson as baseball’s real home run king to correct the injustices of past eras and the “integrity of the game”.

– Pull out a copy of THIS SI issue in 1997 titled “BIGGER, STRONGER, FASTER: Don’t Be Fooled: Athletes of All Kinds are still using Drugs to Improve Performance – And They’re Getting Away With It and begin reading aloud about how SI was completely aware of the issue of steroids in sports. Then fast forward one year later to their glorified coverage of the 1998 Great Home Run Chase despite super-size muscle-mass increases by McGwire and Sosa culminating in their being named Sportsmen of the Year. Then reread those 6 McGwire stories in 1998. And then watch Tom Verducci, Rick Reilly, and Sports Illustrated* invoke Hank Aaron and point to God.

– If you’re watching on TV, get your sports news from a more credible source, like… ESPN’s The Sports Distorters (Think version of Mike Lupica, Mitch Albom, and formerly Jason Whitlock!).

– Hold up a big sign that says 540, which is about how many home runs Hank Aaron hit before Sports Illustrated* chose to reward the then 3rdall-time leading home run hitter in history with his FIRST EVER cover in 1969. SI has recently found no shortage of space (& 2 Covers) to praise the “quiet gentleman’s” “courage”, “integrity”, “understated nobility”, “cool dignity”, and “fierce social conscience” that it found so little time to recognize while Hank was still in uniform[1].

– Send Alex Rodriguez a copy of last year’s SI cover story “The Loneliest Yankee”to remind him that when Sports Illustrated starts endlessly praising him in a couple of years to serve as a useful anti-Bonds-flavor-of-the-month-foil, that AROD knows exactly the reason behind the newfound adulation.

– Hold up a big sign: SI Your FACTS-NEED WORK!

– Jump onto the field and give commissioner, Bud Selig a hug, for he presided over the “steroid era” which helped to bring back baseball. Be sure to thank Sports illustrated* for chronicling and celebrating that very same era minus the high-handed sanctimony.

– Get Rick Reilly’s autograph at the ballpark – on the bottom of a copy of this MUST READ 2003 article “Health Nut” (found via Deadspin) about this since-admitted NFL all-pro steroid user. The first line reads: “How does a violence dispenser like Oakland Raiders linebacker Bill Romanowski play 15 years in the NFL without ever missing a game?”…

– Squirt juice on the nearest copy of Sports Illustrated*.

– Remind yourself that despite the fact Rick Reilly has received many sports writing awards, that once upon a time, Mike Lupica was also considered a top-notch writer in the profession.

The truth is,
it won’t matter what we do. We live in an era where Sports Illustrated* must always sell more copies. Every week we read SI, we must decide which stories are real and which are fake. And this is why they create fake one-dimensional “good guys” or “villains”. And we know this moral outrage is fake.  And this sudden love with Aaron is fake. And this steroids was-okay-yesterday, but shocking-and-apalling-today stance is fake.

Remember this:
The man who held the single-season HR record before Bonds* was implicated in a steroid scandal (“Operation Equine”, not BALCO) back in 1992, but there was no follow-up federal investigation, no ensuing 18-month expose by two career-minded authors, and little to no coverage by Sports Illustrated despite glorious praise in 1998. Just because a magazine arbitrarily paints over some masterpieces and glorifies some others doesn’t mean every fan must follow like sheep. (For more info on: the rarely reported 1992 “Operation Equine”; our federal government’s historical role in promoting steroids, and SI’s very long history of cherry-picking what steroid allegations are deemed newsworthy and covering-up others, we refer you to The Starting Five’s & D.K. Wilson’s in-depth and sub-link filled examination on the subject).

And when SI’s feigned media outrage is finally over and their moral indignation has reached its nauseating peak, Sports Illustrated* will have to go back to the one place where even it doesn’t believe the lies.

Their mirror.

Author’s Endnote: In “Rick Reilly is a Dork and Why it Matters”, both admiration and admonishment is expressed for the perennial award winning author Rick Reilly.   Â

Other Related Stories:

Sports Illustrated’s Curious COVERage of Barry Bonds- Part 1

Sports Illustrated Merges with Businessweek!

[1]These adjective adorn SI’s most recent cover story on Hank Aaron. only received three SI covers during his playing days. While some of this can certainly be attributed to Aaron’s “slow and steady” approach to the record without many historic years (exception: 1957 MVP and World Series title), it is also well-documented that greatness in and of itself was often not enough for many African-American superstars to land on the cover in the 1950s and 1960s. While a uniquely charismatic Ali proved to be an exception, those less affable superstars such as Aaron, Bill Russell (10 championships; 4 covers) and Jim Brown (1 cover) seemed to get the Bonds cover treatment in their day.