I've been a San Francisco Giants fan for most of my life, and for all of my adult life. Over the years, I have argued long and loud with my friends in defense of Barry Bonds.
Well, that ends today.
Given the chance to chip away at what is probably the worst public image in all of sports, Bonds instead has decided to spit in the face of his fans by skipping the All-Star Home Run Derby on Monday evening at AT&T Park. From an AP account:
"I'm my own man," Bonds said. I don't worry about it and what Peter [Magowan, owner of the Giants, who had expressed disappointment in Bonds' decision] says...You're not disappointing people. It's common sense. Do you know what I have to do just to get ready for this? To take B.P.?" "How many people have I disappointed in San Francisco in all the years I've been here? Come on, man."
Let's see now. What do we think will be the most enduring image in the career of Barry Bonds? Hitting a home run into McCovey Cove, perhaps? Hmm...and this is your final season, the season where you will break the all-time home run record...and here, you have a chance to get on the national stage and display some humility, participate in some good-natured competition with your peers, and show folks across the country what the fans in and around San Francisco have enjoyed for years - the "splash hits." And perhaps, take the first baby steps towards rehabilitating that awful image.
But no, screw that - I'm hurt and I'm sore, and I've still got those 5 home runs I need to break the record, so y'all can just take a hike.
As far as I'm concerned, this is incredible, and unforgivable. I'll keep rooting for the Giants and rooting for Barry, but this one act more or less validates what people have said about him over the years: contempt - for the fans, for the game, and for his teammates - is what drives Barry Bonds.
Not that he gives a rat's ass about what I think.