Sports Outside the Beltway

Re-thinking Barrry Bonds

For the most complete Barry Bonds smackdown read Right Wing Nuthouse’s Not about Barry Bonds.

I am not going to write about his tax problems, brought on by his unreported cash income from signing balls, bats, and anything that isn’t nailed down in a ballpark.

I am not going to write about his personal trainer Greg Anderson, languishing in jail on a contempt charge because he refuses to testify against Bonds and confirm that he and Victor Conte of BALCO helped Bonds bulk up.

I am not going to write about Barry Bonds because Barry Bonds is a cheat, a scoundrel, a woman abuser, and a tax dodge.

In the end though, he lets some ambivalence show through.

No, I won’t write about Barry Bonds. Tomorrow. Today, I, like anyone else who loves baseball, can’t think about anything else.

For a diametrically opposed view of Bonds read John Sickels.

I don’t understand why everyone picks on Bonds. Did he use stuff he should not have used? Probably. So did the pitchers he was hitting against. It probably made him stronger, yes, but it did not improve his strike zone judgment, or his hand-eye coordination, and those were the things that have made him such an exceptional hitter. And it helped the guys he was hitting against just as much as it helped him. And he was hitting in San Francisco…you think that the steroids helped him more than the park hurt him the last few years?

This is really ridiculous I think. If Bonds were more personable, this wouldn’t be a controversy. The press has hated Barry Bonds way before the steroid thing, just like they hated Ted Williams. Because he doesn’t put up with their crap.

This is important. Gaylord Perry was known for scuffing balls, something that had an immediate impact on the game, for it caused a pitched ball to move in unpredictable motions. No matter how long Barry Bonds took steroids he still had to work out to build up his muscles. And it likely had no impact on his coordination.

But even Sickels accepts the premise that Barry is a bad guy personally. Still it’s hard to get past some of the evidence otherwise. Consider for a moment what Bonds has done for some of pitchers he’s victimized. He’s given them autographed bats. And not just Hensley, he also did this for Kip Wells who gave up 600.

And then there’s Cal Ripken

It was a joint effort by Barry and me. I like Barry a lot. I think he’s got a heart the size of a lion, and a lot of people might not recognize that or might not see it. I just thought that commercial had some potential to go beyond what had been written into it. Not that we’re writers or anything. We actually didn’t write it. Someone else did. But we talked it through, and I guess I gave them my permission to make a fool out of myself.

(The context of Ripken’s remarks were about a commercial he and Barry Bonds had made for Franklin batting gloves. The two player were compared. Then finally the announcer says “Barry Bonds has an earring.” As I recall the final scene has Cal sporting an amazingly garish earring with Bonds observing with a bemused look. Cal asks – something like – “You think my Dad will like this?” It’s a classic.)

There’s no getting many of the negative things Right Wing Nut House wrote about Barry Bonds. However I think his biggest problem wasn’t his surliness, but rather that he was surly towards the press corps. Thus he’s never gotten the benefit of the doubt in the media, assuring that he’s never going to get the benefit of the doubt.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad.

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