Apr 13, 2011

Barry Bonds

To say I know Barry Bonds would be perhaps, an exaggeration. To say he was stand up when we were in proximity to one another is not.

As a young woman in my twenties I took the trek to work the Cactus League in Arizona, I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life but dammit, I knew I loved baseball.

Barry Bonds story read like a fairy tale. He too, loved baseball. He too moved west. He made a lot of money, me not so much. If you're a true fan of baseball you know how much his free agent deal meant. If you are not a true fan of baseball I'm sure you remember or will be reminded of the numbers.

When Bonds signed his contract with San Francisco we were all excited. This would be what got us there and we were ready. Bonds in the batting cage was magic and not just for this concessions office manager. He'd slam them into the backdrop for the kids when he should have been saving it for the season. He worked with Coach Kennedy. He signed autographs. He shared stories with the fans and did the calisthenics with his team mates. He said hello every day to a young woman who was working from 4:30 in the morning until 1:30 at night. He signed a bat and a ball for her and with Matt Williams made his first season with the Giants perhaps my most memorable.

The man loves the game. He's always appreciated his gift.

The verdict is in. It is perhaps fair and perhaps not. I personally would like to know why?? While our country was involved in a war most of us don't want, a bank scandal that took away life savings from many I know, and too many other substantive issues, why did we focus on steroids. Why were these the congressional hearings that were held and seemingly mattered?

Just last summer I argued with a friend that the only rule a ball player was ever told couldn't be broken was betting on baseball. We learned that one the hard way. In the late eighties and early nineties players did what they had to to be better, bigger, swing the bat harder, run faster. We demanded it of the players.

The left hand challenges the right here in America. It doesn't mean we're paying attention . I choose to remember the best ball player of his age greeting me in the morning with a "You didn't let Ed talk you into living on McDonald's' again today?"

Thank you Barry Bonds for everything you did for baseball. I'm sorry baseball didn't do everything it should have for you.


Unknown said...

The media loves to distract us from what truly matters, which is why they stuff celebrity gossip,"reality" shows, and so-called scandals down our throats. Bonds is still one of the best and he was simply a product of his generation of ball players

MysterLynch said...

I hear everything you say, but it does not change the fact that he opted to step outside of the rules to excel and I can't accept that.

He certainly was not the only one, but it taints what he did.

That said, baseball should have stepped up earlier in terms of testing. Both the owners AND the players are guilty of ignoring it.

As a fan of pro wrestling in the 80s and 90s, I saw the signs in baseball before anyone really mentioned the possibility of it being an issue. Guys suddenly putting on 20 lbs of muscle in mere months is not normal, yet everyone opted to ignore it.

paul levine said...

I speak as a lifelong Giants fan who is old enough to remember Willie McCovery lining out to Bobby Richardson to end the 1961 World Series...leaving me in tears.

Bonds wasn't prosecuted for breaking baseball's rules but for allegedly lying under oath and obstructing justice. Clemens will be tried for lying under oath.

The media cover the proceedings because arguably the greatest hitter and greatest pitcher of their generation are charged with federal crimes.

I yelled my head off for the guy when Bonds was coming down the home stretch, hitting 73 HR's...when no one could put the ball over the plate without risking a wet landing in San Francisco Bay. I would still vote him into the Hall of Fame, along with Clemens, Rodriguez, etc.

But the fact remains, the man is a felon.

Paul Levine