Saturday, January 13, 2007

Barry Bonds is the Giants Meth Lab

I spent six years in the Bay Area after moving out from my native Philadelphia. Most of my sports fandom was given to the Oakland A's, who repaid my devotion with a series of playoff moments that erased any notion that God was kind. But I digress.

The thing that baseball fans from outside of the Bay Area fail to get is the truly amazing myopia of Giants fans, media, and ownership. It is this myopia that is going to make the all-time home run leader of major league baseball one of the worst teammates and human beings to ever play the sport. (And we're talking about a sport that has employed fixers, racists, psychos and lunatics. Barry has achieved much.)

It's not that they love him. Even the Giants-run media rips him; at this point in the opera, finding a member of the media that Bonds hasn't treated like toejam requires an overseas trip. (This is, IMO, Barry's sole likable quality.) And it's not like the fan base really is in love with 70-92 baseball with a LF that has the range of Greg Luzinski. (And I'm talking about the Bull right now, not when he was playing.)

But yet, the stadium fills. It's not all people hoping to catch the next ball to sell on eBay.

The Giants did one thing right in their Faustian bargain with Bonds -- they got their stadium out of it, and they did it without mugging the local taxpayers. But it only works if they fill the 40K-plus yard, and they're somehow convinced that this only happens if they (a) play Bonds, and (b) surround him with guys that can Win Now.

Because we all know how awful it is to watch players on the upsides of their career, that came up from your farm system, in a park that, while overpriced, is flat-out beautiful. Or, um, wait. Is it?
Memo to Brian Sabean and whoever else in SF who'd like to see more from their team than the Bataan-like march to immortality for a man who's next unselfish act may be his first... Winning Baseball is Fun. Losing baseball is not. And Barry Bonds defines, at this point in his career and with his entire being, Losing Baseball.

So if the Giants won't put down the pipe, and Bonds won't have the decency to make his next unwatched reality show with "Who Wants To Be A McGwire-Esque Pariah," it's up to a man who has always let us down before.

So whaddya say, Commissioner Car Salesman? Ban him for the good of the game. Delay the court proceedings for as long as possible. Because every day that he's not on the field is a day that the Giants realize life will go on without ol' Freakish Head. And for perhaps the first time in your miserable tenure, the public will actually be on your side.

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