In the aftermath of Alex Rodriguez's 600th home run, many have downplayed his milestone because of his admitted usage of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs), and have compared him to another user, the current home run king, Barry Bonds.
For the most part, the players have been compared because Bonds currently has the most HRs, and A-Rod may at some point overtake him. Additionally, they are both are not (or were not) the best team players, as many viewed them as selfish in their own greed and personal success. And most importantly, they both took PEDs, and have had to endure a particularly negative backlash as a result.
With that, we can assume that Bonds and A-Rod are two of the most hated players in baseball to come out of the Steroid Era. Not surprisingly, both players are/were loved in the city that they played in (SF for Bonds, NY for A-Rod), yet loathed everywhere else. It begs the question: who is the more hated of the two?
PEDs notwithstanding, Bonds is arguably one of the best players of all time, and A-Rod could be considered one of the best, as well, by the time his career is over.
Bonds is a 7-time MVP, with 757 career HRs, and a ridiculous .444 career OBP.
A-Rod currently sits at 600 HRs, is a 3-time MVP and World Series champion.
Despite both of these players' amazing career statistics, both are considered cheaters and many consider their records diminished.
Bonds was also a pretty hated teammate—he got into arguments with other players (most notably with Jeff Kent), he didn't fraternize with the team, and he was often quite isolated from the rest of the group.
A-Rod was most hated for chasing the money and signing with the Yankees—he opted out of his contract with the Rangers in 2004 (during the final game of the World Series) and signed the largest contract in sports history to play in New York.
Many likened LeBron James' "Decision" to play in Miami and leave his hometown to A-Rod's decision to sign with the Yankees.
However, A-Rod seems to be on the up-and-up. He seems to be a better team player than he used to, and less concerned about personal statistics as he was previously accused of being.
Yet, many still had a lot of hate to dish out when he hit 600, outside of New York.
Now that you know why each is hated so much, what do you think?
Personally, I think the nod goes to Barry Bonds.
There was not as much of a taboo surrounding PEDs when Bonds was dominating as there is now. I think Bonds had more character flaws that made people hate him than A-Rod has. A-Rod more so than anything else is a player who admitted to using PEDs and has had to endure the backlash from that in the post-Steroid ERA. Bonds was just a jerk.
Nonetheless, both players are members of the 600 Home Run Club, and may be career home run leaders 1 and 2 by the time A-Rod is done playing. It should be interesting to see what the voters for the Hall of Fame do when Bonds is eligible to be voted into the Hall in a few years; and same thing for A-Rod whenever he retires.
For now, though, it's only a matter of discussing their records and their shortfalls, and seeing who is the more hated of the PED Home Run Kings. Let the hating begin.