In non-NBA sports news, Barry Bonds tied Hank Aaron's home run record last night. This opinion is, presumably, valueless since I'm not really a baseball fan, but I take a controversial pro-Bonds position. It's unfortunate, perhaps, that the holder of an important record should have played during the steroid era. Still, I don't see the achievement as meaningfully "tainted" by allegations of Bonds' steroid use.
The use, after all, is presumed to have happened during a time when steroid use was widespread in the league, presumably by, among others, the pitchers whose pitches Bonds was hitting and the fielders who were running down his fly balls. If there were some evidence that the introduction of steroids into the game biased things overall in the direction of more home runs, that would be one thing, but my understanding is that research doesn't show that. See, i.e., this paper PDF: "Before we can reach any conclusions about the contribution of steroids to performance in professional baseball, we first must know something about home run hitting. What was home run hitting like before there were steroids? What is it like now that there is some evidence of steroid use? In a nutshell, the answer is that there are no differences." Bonds is the greatest hitter to ever play, steroids or no.
Photo by Flickr user FemaleTrumpet02 used under a Creative Commons license
Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.