I'm liking David Wells more and more each day...
Boomer: Bonds shouldn't pass the BabeAssociated Press
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- David Wells gave up Barry Bonds' 701st home run. He doesn't want the Giants slugger to pass Babe Ruth's total of 714.
"No. Not really," the Boston Red Sox left-hander said Wednesday, one day after excerpts of a book were released alleging that Bonds used steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.
Bonds needs seven homers to pass Ruth for second place and 48 to overtake Hank Aaron for the top spot.
Wells praised Bonds' baseball skills but said he should "be a man and come out and say that he did it" if he used steroids.
"If you're guilty and you got caught, come clean. I think you can get a lot more respect from people than [by] lying," Wells said.
In Tampa, Joe Torre said allegations of steroid use have given baseball "a black eye."
"I think the one thing that baseball has always tried to maintain was the integrity because our game more than any other game statistics are so important," the New York Yankees manager said. "I think that right now that is called into question, and it's a shame in Barry's case. He's such a good player ... long, long ago before there was any doubt on what made him good."
Torre is concerned about the long-term impact on fans.
"It's certainly a black eye that we all have to be aware of," he said. "It can turn to anger if you try to circumvent and get around trying to help us clean up. Trying to cut corners or trying a different way to keep doing what you're doing, that I think is wrong and knowingly wrong."
Wells said that Bonds "probably" used steroids but that he also had been sure Rafael Palmeiro, his former teammate in Baltimore, didn't. Palmeiro was suspended during the second half of last season after a positive steroids test.
"I would have bet my house that Rafael Palmeiro never did them," Wells said. "He's not a large, cut man. He's not. And then it happened. I mean, I had his back the whole time and then he got nailed for it."
The upcoming book "Game of Shadows," written by two San Francisco Chronicle reporters, alleged that Bonds used performance-enhancing drugs for at least five seasons beginning in 1998. Such drugs were banned by baseball after the 2002 season.
Wells seemed uncertain whether Bonds should make the Hall of Fame if his alleged use of steroids is proven.
"If it comes out and he has done them, then no," Wells said in the Red Sox clubhouse.
A few minutes later, he said, "Barry a Hall of Famer in my book? Yeah. Is Raffy? Yeah. ... If we [players] are going to vote, we'd probably vote yeah. Players? Yeah. Pitchers probably wouldn't."
He said Bonds' added muscle and increased head size cast suspicion on the San Francisco outfielder. Wells said he heard a comic on a radio show Wednesday morning joke about Bonds' hat size.
"He goes, 'They use his helmet as a Jacuzzi.' I about died when I heard that," Wells said, "You just don't like to accuse somebody of doing it, but you look at him and you can't help but think. I mean, he's getting bigger and bigger."
Wells, who was with San Diego when he gave up Bonds' 701st homer on Sept. 18, 2004, wondered how other sluggers would have done if they used steroids.
"If Hank Aaron was on them it probably would have been 1,000 homers" instead of his total of 755, Wells said. "It's a shame that it's come down to this and it's really putting a hurting on the game."
He also criticized commissioner Bud Selig for not dealing with the problem aggressively.
"He's putting it on Congress. He's putting it on" the players' association and passing the buck, Wells said. "He's doing what he does best."
Torre said Bonds' Hall of Fame status is up to the individual voter. He does feel the home run marks has been watered down.
"I think right now we have already diluted that," Torre said. "They broke 60 every year. The only good part that came out of this, besides the fans were entertained, all of sudden somebody thought highly of Roger Maris."