#2. Barry Bonds
Why All the Hate?
Yes, that Barry Bonds. He of the cream and the clear. He of the shrunken testicles and expanding hat size. He of the tainted home run record. Barry Bonds took down a Major League Baseball record that, under normal circumstances, would put him in the conversation for greatest baseball player of all time. But he did it while he was using steroids, and that's not cool. To make matters worse, he denied it, like, forever. And because baseball has never been able to prove any wrongdoing, his hold on the home run record stands. That shit ain't right.
Why He Doesn't Deserve It
The argument that Barry Bonds' achievements have been diminished by his use of performance-enhancing drugs held a lot more weight for me back before I knew that EVERY SINGLE PERSON was taking steroids for like ten solid years in Major League Baseball. When cheating becomes that rampant, you're almost doing yourself a professional disservice to not join in. Is a raging case of back acne and a newly gained capacity to strangle your wife for asking you to take out the trash worth the $275 million contract Alex Rodriguez signed with the Yankees in 2007? For some players, obviously, it very much was.
Elsa / Getty
"Like those guys over there, probably."
So what does that home run record say about Barry Bonds when you factor in that damn near every player who was putting up big home run numbers in those days was just as dirty as he was? Simple: It means he was better than everyone else. Significantly better. At least when it came to hitting home runs he was, and that's not an easy thing to do. No matter how you slice it, Barry Bonds was the greatest home run hitter of his time. He had the same competitive advantage his peers did, but he put up far more impressive numbers. That's not a coincidence, that's skill.
And you're insane if you think that steroids are the only drug problem baseball has had. This article suggests that the real game changer in baseball was ridding the league of amphetamines, a move that some experts have pegged as the reason for the sudden and seemingly unexplained resurgence of the perfect game and no-hitter in baseball.
Barry Bonds isn't an island of wrong in a sea of right; he's just another player who did what everyone around him was doing to get an edge. I'm certainly not condoning it and would never recommend that anyone take steroids, but then again, I'm not fighting for a multimillion dollar baseball contract, am I?
Yes, Barry Bonds is an expert-level asshole who comes off like the office creep pretty much every time he opens his mouth. And yes, he almost certainly had more PEDs than blood coursing through his veins at any given time during a game. But so did everyone else at the time. The difference is, Barry Bonds was a far better hitter than all of them.
#1. Dane Cook
Why All the Hate?
Dane Cook's rise to fame was only slightly less swift than his Vanilla Ice-like tumble from popularity, which was precipitated mostly by claims of joke thievery. If you have Internet access, you should already know that story. If it's something that still gnaws at your conscience, you can watch the two involved parties work that shit out like adults (with television shows) in this video:
If for some reason you are still in the dark as to what I'm referring to, first off, damn you for making me do all this extra work. I expect you to come into this exchange familiar with some shit. Anyway, it's alleged that three jokes on Dane Cook's hugely popular Retaliation album were blatantly stolen from a 2003 Louis CK album. From there, the career of Dane Cook turned into a full-on hate festival wherein he went from the hottest name in comedy to literally being a punchline all his own.
Why He Doesn't Deserve It
For one thing, joke stealing is always a tricky accusation to make. Yes, the jokes in question are clearly similar (unfortunately any "comparison" videos have been scrubbed from Internet existence, because Dane Cook and Prince have the same people managing their online content, apparently), but that's not definitive proof of malicious thievery. And it definitely doesn't prove that Dane Cook isn't funny. That's a big leap to make from maybe or maybe not stealing three jokes on an album that included dozens more that nobody has claimed ownership of. Did Dane Cook write the joke in this video?
If so, he's pretty damn funny. If nothing else, hating Dane Cook for possibly stealing a few jokes from Louis CK means you at the very least need to hold Denis Leary in the same regard. Do you? No, you probably have every season of Rescue Me on DVD. But check out this video and familiarize yourself with Bill Hicks, the man Denis Leary got his entire persona (and most of his jokes) from ...
So why doesn't he get the same amount of hate that Dane Cook does? Simple: Because Denis Leary's transgressions happened back before the Internet allowed us to share examples of wrongdoing as freely and easily as we can now. Dane Cook wasn't so lucky. I'm not saying he's the world's greatest comic, and everyone is certainly allowed to not find his jokes funny, but pretending that Dane Cook is the least funny person working the comedy circuit today is a bit extreme.
Besides, everybody knows that title goes to this fucking guy ...
Kevin Winter / Getty
Check out more from Adam in 5 Government Programs That Backfired Horrifically and The 5 Most Ridiculous Causes to Ever Get a Website.