Topic: "Barry Me Not (2)"
Frodo's Father was, by all accounts, a very good baseball player. Frodo was told by many of those who saw his Father play that he was very fast, with a strong arm, and was a fearsome presence at the plate. Frodo remembers a story told of the boy who practiced sliding in the barn by scattering hay over the wooden floor. Frodo also knew that his Father had to leave school to work in support of his family. Baseball was one of the things for which he would no longer have time.
Frodo's Father hated the "intentional walk." He considered the strategy to be cowardice, and he immediately lost all interest or support in a team whose manager would tolerate a pitcher intentionally walking a player in order to avoid facing him as a hitter. Frodo initially tried to argue the point, but then realized the futility. There was something never shared with Frodo that obviously had to do with a player not getting his rightful turn at bat.
Frodo heard today that Barry Bonds, the San Francisco Giant, who has now hit more home runs than any player in the history of the game, except for Hank Aaron, has made an offer to the powers that be. Bonds, whose body has increased in bulk and structure in an unfathomable manner over the past few years, is the subject of at least two investigations. One investigation, by the FBI in behalf of the Justice Department, is criminal in nature. The investigation seeks to determine the use, distibution, and source of illegal drugs in Major League Baseball.
The other investigation, by Major League Baseball itself, is chaired by former US Senator George Mitchell, and is informational in nature. It seeks the same kinds of information as the FBI criminal investigation, but nobody would do jail time.
Bonds has offered to provide testimony to the Mitchell investigation if he can be assured that he will not face charges in the FBI investigation stemming from his testimony. This lawyerly slick manuver is similar to Bonds taking an "intentional walk" from the criminal investigation. Frodo feels reasonably confident that he can hear, in his minds' ear, the content of what his father would be saying right about now.
The subject here is HGH (Human Growth Hormone) which is not detectable in the system of a ballplayer through conventional drug testing procedures. It is only identifiable by a blood test, and those are not permitted under the terms of the agreement between Major League Baseball and the Players Union. The impasse that these lunatics reached in 1994 resulted in the cancellation of a baseball season, and almost destroyed the game. Frodo is not bullish on the likelihood that greed will be overcome by wisdom this time around either.
Frodo had a dream the other evening. The dream was that Barry Bonds will get up from his slumbers some morning and, while admiring himself in the mirror, suddenly discover that a third arm has begun to grow from his breast bone. As he examines himself more closely he notes the emergence of a third ear on the tip of his cranium. Even more spectacular is the appearance of an additional anus between his knee and his ankle on his right leg.
Frodo's Father would think that results of this nature would be just penalty for someone who didn't have to give up the game.