Here, for what it's worth, are the many reasons I defend Barry Bonds.
Unless we can definitively determine every single person who cheated in baseball - not just now, but in every era - and students of baseball history know that is a very large number of people, including any number of people already in the Hall of Fame - then I won't single out one person for my condemnation.
Are there any players in the Hall of Fame who used greenies? Almost certainly. Would some of the great hitters of any past era have used steroids had they been available? Since they were human beings, working in the ultra competitive world of professional sports - and since, in those days, they made very little money and could be cast aside for any reason with no protection, and so had tremendous incentive to win at all costs - the answer must be yes.
Players were not more ethical in the past. Humans were not more ethical in the past. The only difference is what's available, and who gets caught.
Barry Bonds is being scapegoated for what is likely a widespread issue. I don't want to scapegoat anybody.
I would make exceptions for something truly egregious, like rape, child abuse or the animal torture committed by Michael Vick. But allegations about a player who is already loathed are suspicious to me. Not being a nice guy is not a crime.
The sports media has a long history of creating images for different athletes, then unceasingly perpetuating those images. There are numerous examples in baseball history of players who were consistently and unfairly maligned, or whose decidedly non- family friendly exploits were shielded from an adoring public. If I don't hear or see the arrogance for myself, I don't credit it.
American society is too racist, and American sports especially has such a long racist history - and sports reporting is such a conservative (read: hidebound, slow to change) medium - that racism can never be discounted.
Barry Bonds is not hated only because he's black, but Mark McGwire (white, alleged steroid user) and Jason Giambi (white, proven steroid user) and Roger Clemens (white, suspected steroid user) earn very different treatment in the mainstream press.
When Mark McGwire broke Roger Maris's single-season home run record, his accomplishment, and the home run chase between McGwire and Sammy Sosa, was celebrated. But when Roger Maris was in pursuit of Babe Ruth's single-season home run record in 1961, Maris was attacked, vilified and hated. It seems to me that some of that dinosaur mentality may be at work here.
And Barry Bonds hit number 756.