Results tagged ‘ Barry Bonds ’
Speaking of little women, will be at Dodger Stadium Aug 3 or 4 (I forget). Not a favorite day trip from San Diego, but the missus insisted on seeing Gonzo for way too much money. I relented, as nothing floats my boat quite like sustaining a fantastically vague connection with Alyssa Milano.
Since the home run record may fall in my absence, a word on Bonds. Many people feel he’s a pretty sad excuse. Selig’s a sad case. And it’s sad about Henry Aaron. The saddest thing, though, is the extent to which millions of baseball fans petulantly refuse to acknowledge what a truly magnificent player Barry is, apart from the separate issue of the home run title. Reminds me of a generation ago, when similar consternation about an "inferior" player breaking the very same record was commonplace. More common than some care to remember. His name was Hank Aaron.
I’d also like to thank Barry Bonds because my father and I often argued about the relative merits of each generation’s stars. When I’d bring up people like Aaron and George Brett in response to his Ted Williams speech years ago, he’d just kinda laugh. Not in a mean way.
"You dont understand", he’d say. "Williams had incredible eyesight, reached base half the time over his career, and almost hit .400 when he was 38 and could barely run. Aaron’s a great player, but no one today hits remotely like Ted Williams. I’m tellin’ ya, you had to see it to believe it."
Well, now I have, thanks to Barry. Thanks for making a mockery of the game like Williams and Babe Ruth did – by being better than all your contemporaries. Forget Hank Aaron. Watching Bonds, one hears the echoes of Williams, and of Ruth before that – the music of the greatest players ever, not heard in half a century.
After a lengthy career alienating teammates, fans and much of the American public, it’s no longer news that Curt Schilling’s ego and passion to be heard outstrip his proclivity for considered or accurate expression. As Curt might say:
There’s no gray area there.
Barry Bonds has also had a lengthy career alienating teammates, fans and much of the American public, but Bonds isn’t in perpetual campaign mode either. Sure, he authorized his "Barry On Barry" damage control documentary on ESPN, but for the most part, Bonds has embraced the public persona of lightning rod, like a modern day Ty Cobb or Ted Williams – emotionally vacant, driven to be his generation’s finest player on the field.
But Schilling’s different. He needs to be a “player” outside the lines too. From sloppy declarations about Bonds to his jingoistic "letters" on world affairs, Schilling’s simplistic, ill-considered statements really aren’t beyond the mainstream, like those of John Rocker or Dennis Kucinich. In fact, like any politician, Schilling’s "heartfelt" proclamations often appear opportunistically timed, and tied, to mainstream opinion.
When appearing before the US Congress, ostensibly to blow the whistle on PED use, the "time" was right to bash Jose Canseco instead. Now that Bonds is paired up against the far more popular Hank Aaron, it’s evidently "time" to pounce on Barry. What’s comical, though, is Curt’s desperate compulsion to masquerade as some sort of respected, informed spokesman, rarely armed with more than his privileged status as a media connected professional athlete.
In 2004, when Schilling stumped for incumbent George W Bush, he didn’t say, "Hi, I’m Curt Schilling from the World Champion Boston Red Sox and I’m voting for George Bush". Here’s what he said:
"These past couple of weeks, Sox fans all throughout New England trusted me when it was my turn on the mound," Schilling says in the recording made Friday. ”Now you can trust me on this: President Bush is the right leader for our country."
Maybe he didn’t write the copy, but what kind of reasonably grounded person in this day and age would even agree to say something so presumptuous?
In the wake of 9/11, Schilling penned his self important masterwork, "Open Letter to America", a la deTocqueville. Eleven ponderous paragraphs speaking on behalf of baseball players and Americans everywhere – concluding, among other things, that Al Qaeda retribution would be "swift and total" because President Bush said so – an insight apparently gleaned from Schilling’s immense experience with online war games.
In the Diamondbacks’ celebratory postgame clubhouse just two months later, Schilling again came across as a tactless, loud mouthed fool, taunting sufficiently crushed New Yorkers by repeatedly shouting into the camera, “Who’s this belong to? Who’s this belong to?” clutching the Series trophy that he almost let slip away on the field. To this day, it’s the one bit in an otherwise cathartic World Series DVD I mute over because of it’s boorishness.
More recently, there’s this blog of his, 38pitches; created to eliminate the dreaded “filter” of sports journalists, so Curt can speak directly and accurately to his public without misrepresentation, without the injustice of it all. Judging from the lack of credibility and bad vibes Schilling generates a cappella, the national sports media has probably been doing this clown a favor for years.
Whether inspired by a sense of decency or the advice of a libel lawyer, or both, Schilling’s grandiosely titled “Public Apology” was cited for it’s comprehensive and contrite tone. He mentions Bonds and the hurt incurred by his family, but most of the lengthy mea culpa isn’t really about Bonds – it’s about Schilling and his increasingly tenuous connection with his
It’s always about Schilling. To watch such an ambitious, self centered, marginally informed guy desperately aspire to be a pillar of influence remains a source of high comedy. As if Americans dont get enough of that already.
(photo courtesy of brandeisrepublicans.com)
One interesting thing about the race issue- it would be worth finding out if disliking Barry Bonds seems to be one thing we as a human family can all agree on.
Brian’s brother, Andrew, shared his own drollery, here on, among other things, Kyle Farnsworth and shuttlecocks.
Both funny guys.
(Disclaimer: The only reason Brian’s article is listed here first is because he’s the one wearing a collared shirt.)
You’ve been called a Bonds ‘apologist’ on more than one occasion, here on MLBlogs.
First, are you a Bonds apologist? Yikes! I dont think so. A lot of his behavior, in and out of baseball, is pretty inexcusable.
So why do you defend him? I feel like I’m defending principles more than I’m really defending him. I certainly dont want to excuse, let alone encourage, his behavior.
… as did hundreds of other MLBers , beginning in the 1980′s. Barry started in late 1998.
DId he lie to a grand jury and is that a big deal? Probably, and yes it’s legally significant. But it’s also worth remembering that hundreds of likley PED users were never brought before a grand jury to testify. Again, the alleged perjury shouldn’t be excused. But neither should steroid usage of his peers be swept under the rug.
Why is that, exactly? Why so few investigations? I dont know. Maybe the commissioner’s office will shed some light on that. The office specifically created(1920) in response to the Black Sox scandal , to exclusively "ensure the integrity of the game". As it is, the press and the FBI have conducted the important investigations to date – not Major League Baseball. It’s possible some players have been investigated that I’m unaware of – but why half a dozen guys are on the hot seat now and hundreds more are not, or were not, is worth an investigation in itself.
Was it race that primarily drove Bonds to be investigated? No. Bonds’ actions, accomplishments and appearances are plenty ‘loud’ enough to draw investigative scrutiny. And by appearances, I’m referring to the physique, the big head and such…not race.
Is race what drives the public’s loathing of Bonds? A more complex question, but no, I dont see race as the primary driver. OTOH, race is consistently a subtle ingredient in the way human beings perceive and judge one another. I’m convinced it adds fuel to the existing animosity out there. Barry’s a lightning rod for fans’ wrath for many reasons:
A) His singular, ongoing career accomplishment – most likley aided by PEDs – deeply injects that cancer into both the hallowed lore of the game and fierce debates regarding the greatest players. McGwire was similar in this regard, but his inactivity – and Sosa’s – mitigate public outrage somewhat. Other, still active, predecessors altered the playing field with PEDs well before Bonds. But none in such a forceful, historically compelling way. Bonds didnt necessarily cheat more than many others – but by accomplishing more, he receives more scrutiny.
C) His race further segregates Bonds from baseball’s increasingly non-black fan base.
Yeah, but just because he’s black doesnt mean people hate him for that. I didn’t say that! For ages, clinical studies have confirmed that people, often quite innocently BTW, subjectively ascribe greater virtue to others who look similar to themselves, and ascribe less virtue to others who look altogether different. So, even if you remove malicious racism for argument’s sake, there’s still subtle implications to this kind of ‘effective’ segregation.
As opposed to legal segregation?
Right. Maybe segregation isn’t the best word. But go to Chase Park sometime. Most nights, it seems there’s almost as many black vendors as fans.
Is this stuff too subtle, too ‘innocent’ to be considered racism? Perhaps, perhaps not. At any rate, I dont think what I’ve touched on here is particularly conscious.
Some commenters think it’s too subtle to even be worth mixing into the Bonds discussion at all? It was already, inevitably, in the mix. Some argue that "race is not a factor" because Bonds is a jerk, or rich, or because he didnt suffer as much as Hank Aaron or Jackie Robinson. I’m fine with the argument that race isn’t paramount here. What I object to are blithe, "color-blind" assertions that race is not a factor at all.
So it’s not comparable to what Jackie Robinson or Hank Aaron endured? Bonds hinted that he gets racist hate mail every day. I wouldn’t be surprised if he does – nor would I be shocked if he was exaggerating. I do know that baseball’s employed extra security in response to alleged threats on Barry’s life. Is the overall climate as racially contentious as in 1947? Overall? No. Definitely not overall. Just saying so insults Robinson’s memory. OTOH, what’s more racist than a death threat?
I feel similarly about Aaron. Beyond the hate letters, Aaron’s place in history was debated unusually harshly at the time. Many ratings of the era placed him outside the Top Ten All Time Players. Now, you rarely see him below 5 or 6. Some of that discrepancy probably stemmed from racism.
Should Barry Bonds be banned from baseball?
If it’s proven, through drug tests or compelling circumstantial evidence, that Bonds violated existing baseball law warranting suspension/banishment( a la Pete Rose), then definitely, Yes.
I dont think he should be banned from baseball however, for illegally using performance enhancers that baseball didn’t even bother to practically ban from it’s own game, and therefore effectively condoned. Ring him up on federal drug charges and/or perjury, but don’t pretend he singularly dishonored or jeopardized the pristine fabric of baseball by breaking cardinal codes of the game that didn’t exist – or at least weren’t enforced in a meaningful way.
More important than whether he’s banned or not, is that users and non-users are identified, separated, and treated equitably within each group.
Sadly, baseball’s no longer in a position to come close to accomplishing that. They’ve squandered several opportunities to do so in favor of protecting short term financial interests.
Instead, a lineup of low hanging, "rotten" fruit who tainted the game will likely be publicly assembled for judgement. After this largely symbolic purge, one can almost hear Bud Selig solemnly encouraging fans to "move on" from this dark painful time, towards a new and brighter beginning, in, as he still says with a straight face, the best interests of baseball.
Barry Bonds is scheduled to play tonight in Phoenix, where plenty of seats are still available – for a price. It’s an open question whether anyone will show up on a Monday here to "take a shot" at the Ted Williams of his generation, as did this gluteally expressive Angelino.
Photo courtesy of The Sports Frog
POSTGAME UPDATE 10:20PM
Bonds’ first valley appearance drew just 21,610 fans, including 23 year old doofus Mark Greggersen of Show Low AZ, who was charged with disorderly conduct after throwing a tube of toothpaste at Bonds from the left field bleachers. A grinning Greggersen, who also sported a homemade "syringe necklace", explained after his dismissal that he wanted to make it clear that "he (Bonds) was not welcome at this ballpark".
As evidenced by eight years of relentless booing and mock chants of "Baarrryy, Baaarrryyy" , Bonds has never been welcome at Chase Ho Park. Moreover, anyone who blindsides an athlete with toiletries of any kind is not welcome in polite society, let alone at a ballyard. Kid, take your silly grin and white undershirt and go back to Show Low to do whatever you folks do up in the woods. When, or if, you are ever interested in becoming at all funny, take a cue from the LA comedian, seen above, executing his own wickedly harmless brand of "Show Low".