Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Irony is Not Lost on Barry

Barry Bonds hit 745 last night. It's clear there's no guaranteed reward for being the "nice guy." But Barry is trying his best anyway. Have you noticed?

It's all quite ironic, actually.

The demonization of Bonds has a life of its own. It doesn't matter what Barry Bonds says or doesn't say or what he does or doesn't do. The writers will still be praying to God that he doesn't break the record. The commissioner will still be snubbing him. The man whose record he is going to break will still have his golf clubs at the ready and a first class ticket to any town where Bonds won't be.

The media waits with baited breath until Bonds hits 756, but, in the interim, doesn't feel compelled to label Roger Clemens as a scourge of the sport. He, whose build and amazing ability to remain an ace power pitcher as he approaches his 50's, clearly demonstrates the miracle of conditioning and conditioning alone (wink). Clemens' grandstanding at Yankee Stadium the other day was attention whoring at its most egregious. Bonds only broke down on a simple sidewalk in front of a couple reporters. He was wearing sweats, I believe. He didn't bother to get all gussied up like Roger to put on his show in front of tens of thousands of adoring fans. Nor does Barry charge his team a pro-rated $28 million for the privilege, even though he takes off days to avoid injury, not play in golf tournaments. Aren't cheating, self promotion and greed the holy trinity of the modern day evil athlete? Is Clemens more like Barry than Barry is? But it doesn't matter, because the demonization of Bonds has a life of its own.

Bonds' critics inside the game also have Barry like qualities. Curt Schilling said, "I mean, there's no gray area. He admitted to cheating on his wife, cheating on his taxes, and cheating on the game, so I think the reaction around the league, the game, being what it is, in the case of what people think." Well, if Barry is a liar, turns out Schilling is a liar too. And just for the sake of attention! Barry, in fact, never admitted any of those things. But who expects Curt to keep the facts straight when he is so busy posting to his blog and accommodating all his radio appearances. His lies, even his alleged lies enshrined in the hall of fame, and shameless self promotion make him nothing like Barry, of course.

A likely replacement for the home run king (yeah, get used to Bonds' new title) is already lined up. No matter if Alex Rodriguez is not known for leading his team toward anything but elimination and whining about his unrequited man crush on his teammates. I guess he is still a superior hero to the devil called Barry.

Finally, Barry has shut up and played. And that's what we wanted, right? The entire season, Barry has been dignified. He has been quiet. He has brought in the fans. He has helped his team win. And when he breaks the record, he will bring mainstream attention to America's pastime that it is not really America's pastime anymore. I think he's trying to show us he's not so much of a demon. Too bad nobody's noticed.


doublenicks said...

You're not doing Bonds any favors likening him in any way to attention whores Schilling and Clemens. Barry may be softening around the edges in his old age but it took him 10-15 years to become the preeminent jerk in all of sports. It's going to take him a lot more than two months to un-do that.

MCBias said... Have a feeling you'd be interested in this article...

Signal to Noise said...

I think Bonds became the pre-eminent jerk over 10-15 years because a lot of media folk wanted to see him that way. Bonds has never displayed tact with the press or certain other traits we like to see in pro athletes, and thus, he got pilloried.

Problem is, that perception shouldn't filter into what he does on the field.

Miggs said...

Help me out: what year did Bonds not lead "his team to anything but elimination"? Forgive me, but I can't remember when Bonds won a championship, in comparison to ARod.

And I guess getting in fights with Jeff Kent is more admirable than getting along with your teammates.

There's no reason to denigrate Alex just because he chooses to have a professional relationship with the media.

Da Arsonist said...

Damn, you beat me to it.


You said everything I was going to say. Being a member of the media it sickens me that not more people are calling Roger out. Remember when Bonds wanted a section of the locker room or something like that and the media was like how dare him? But Roger can choose to go to be at games if he's not pitching or not. What kind of shit is that?

DP said...

Someone should look into the relationship Barry's father had with the media.

It would answer a lot of questions.

Gangsta D said...

Barry's had his problems in the playoffs, but he did lead the Giants to the World Series. A series in which he played well enough for the Giants to win.

Phil said...

Sarcasm aside, didn't Barry admit to useing The Cream and The Clear 'unknowingly.'

I agree that the media is giving Clemens a pass. I think Selig owes Barry more support, a lot more, and Schilling is a jerk.

Maybe Barry needs a blog.

The Brooklyn Boy said...

While it's perhaps not his place to call out Bonds, I read Game of Shadows, and Schilling's right on all three counts:

Bonds definitely admitted to using the cream and the clear in the grand jury deposition - he just claimed to have taken whatever his trainer gave him and that he was told it was "flaxseed oil," which is exactly what Victor Conte told the feds he advised any of his clients to say when questioned.

Also, his first marriage dissolved because of infidelity, and the whole "Kimberly Bell as mistress" angle is definitely not secret.

Thirdly, he funded dumb amounts of cash to Bell for a house, instructing her to deposit in such and such amounts and not reporting that for taxes, which there's a paper trail for. He's currently under investigation for tax fraud.

I think the proper media angle would be to acknowledge it with no pomp and circumstance either way: Make him breaking the record the lead of your story in a very AP-type fashion and then write a normal gamer.

The Brooklyn Boy said...

RE: Clemens - I covered the Mets and Yankees in 2005, and Clemens drew a solid bit of suspicion from the reporters. However, unlike Bonds, there's no connection between Clemens and BALCO or a government investigation. I got the feeling like a lot of cats would jump at the chance to out Clemens if they had something behind it. It might actually be a case of responsible, non-yellow journalism (for now).

The Rover said...

Breaking the home run record is a big deal. Period. So Selig and all those other clowns at MLB who looked the other way 10 years ago when they knew all of this stuff was going on should shut up and get their butts out to San Francisco next month and smile and wave when Barry hits 756.

I only wish he could hit it off of Schilling.