Barry in Pinstripes

Like many baseball fans outside the city of San Francisco I am not much of a Barry Bonds fan. It’s probably a combination of things that made me disenfranchised with possibly the best baseball player of the 20th century. First and foremost it would be his attitude and perceived disdain for the fans and the game. From the beginning of his career Barry Bonds has given the impression that he is above having to deal with the common baseball fans. Bonds has never attempted to hide this arrogance and in fact seems relatively proud of it. It is Bonds assertion that it really doesn’t matter what the fans think of him. He is not playing for their benefit. He is playing for his own. It seems as though every accomplishment he acquires causes him to alienate himself further from the fans that pay to see him. This of course reached its crescendo this past season as Bonds chased and passed Hank Aaron to become the all-time home run leader.


It seemed as though every at-bat for Barry Bonds further polarized the average baseball fans. You wanted to cheer someone chasing such a hallowed record but you so despised the way you were ignored as a fan by Bonds that you wanted to see him fail. Many people will claim that this is a racial issue. I don’t believe that for a minute. It is not skin color that brings out the choruses of boos from the stands. It is more of a human decency issue. Fans are tired of pampered multi-millionaires thumbing their noses at those people with real jobs that put down their hard-earned cash to watch them play. Couple that with a suggestion that Barry may have cheated to gain an unfair advantage and he becomes the number one villain in many people’s minds.

For the past 2 years we have had to endure the questions as to whether Barry Bonds took steroids or lied to investigators about his involvement with people who were instrumental in providing illegal substances to ball players. Barry was obviously irritated at having to answer questions at every ballpark about whether his accomplishments were tainted. The fans were even more irritated that the press and the grand jury were dragging this on. Finally an indictment was handed down accusing Barry Bonds of obstructing justice and perjury for lying to a grand jury during testimony he gave. For many fans this was the final nail in the coffin to justify their dislike of Barry Bonds. For me it was a very sad day as this assures us that we will be hearing many more stories as the prosecution begins to make its case against Bonds. We want to go back to a time when the most important thing we had to worry about was whether our favorite teams would re-sign their veterans or when the final payment would be due on our season tickets. We don’t want to know about hormones and supplements. We don’t want to watch every play in a game and wonder whether the home run we just saw was accomplished by talent or by chemical enhancement. We don’t want to question our loyalty to the national pastime we just want to accept the game we love and appreciate the players that play it day after day.

This should be a time where we are watching the transaction logs and hoping we see our favorite team making a move that just could be the missing piece of a run to a championship. Instead our focus is turned to wonder which pinstripes Barry Bonds may be wearing next season. Could he be a member of the New York Yankees or is he going to be playing for the California Penal League?


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