Following a defiant seventh-round knockout of previously unbeaten Jose Pedraza (22-1, 12...
If A Tree Falls In The Woods…..
LOS ANGELES, CA.—From the initial brewing of his disdain for the outside world, to my own public proclamation of disbelief that he was doing steroids, to his final lifting of the white flag to the press and leak of an investigation into his tax status, we have to wonder whether we have seen the last of Barry Bonds.
And there’s one other thing that doesn’t need to be put in the form of a question: Barry Bonds has brought this all on to himself. There’s no feeling sorry for a man who made isolation an art form, and looked for a little sympathy with big puppy dog eyes when all he gave us, without guilt, were “accidents” on our collective rugs.
Barryologists, those who study the anthropology of Major League Baseball’s #3 home run hitter of all-time, believe that his contempt for mankind started as a young man watching his father’s difficulty with the sports media, and being traded to a blinding excess back in the 70’s.
Barry continued on with the family tradition with precision, sending flaming rocks catapulted towards those who asked him about anything – baseball, life, anything. And his aim was so true that the only thing the press was left with was to hit him before he struck out against them. They didn’t have to go there, but when you know you’re not going to get touchy or feely, you might as well go for the jugular and see if it sticks.
Working at the Doral Resort in Miami in my early 20’s, they hosted a stop on the “Comic Relief Salutes Baseball” tour. Working on the events committee, most, if not all the celebs were very nice. Taking a break from things and entering into the outdoor green room was Bonds and Cal Ripken.
When they’re leaving, not really in a rush to get to anywhere fast, I ask to take a quick photo. Who gets the chance to take a picture with four MVPs, but there was my chance. Ripken takes a step towards me, and Bonds waves it off, leaving Ripken to give me an awkward, embarrassed grin, and saying, “I gotta get this back to my pregnant wife.”
I never thought about that until the last several years, but the experience has never made me buy a ticket for the Barry Bash-wagon. I thought a fat gut and an enormous head size couldn’t be connected to steroids, the clear or anything, so I championed the fact that he wasn’t juicing and that he needed to be understood as a great player who wanted to go out with a championship ring on his finger.
Then BALCO came around, and there was that slight twinge going on inside of me hoping that all of those homers were products of elements of innocence. Those who wanted Barry’s blood, brought buckets rather than vials to collect their booty because of these allegations. They had him, and he knew that he was had.
And for a while he tried the pleasurable approach, but he looked out of place like a person of color on an episode of “Friends.” He only knew battle with the public, so he beat on Babe Ruth, screamed racism as the cause of everyone’s consternation towards him, and was short of putting his kids on the sides of milk cartons showing the sad, beaten lads whose souls had been torn apart by what the ‘bad’ people had done to their father.
Children can and will take it hard regarding bad words directed towards their parents, but it was like Bonds using his kid as a shield while the other side decides whether they will deal with the collateral damage to get the job done.
That’s the stuff you do know, but then there’s the stuff that makes this his existence an island.
He is separated from the rest of his fellow major leaguers in the licensing game. Everybody else ponied-up their signatures as a united front in collecting a little scratch for the selling of anything Major League Baseball. Bonds felt his name and anything connected to it was larger than being just another ten letters in a sea of memorabilia.
Not a bad idea for a man who is pursuing the all-time home run title to catch an extra zero onto his bank account, but then there’s the guy with his own cul-de-sac in his team’s locker room, separated from those same Major Leaguers he didn’t succumb to solidarity with – which says that he is willing to prove his complete separation from the rest of the players 24 hours a day, and no one is immune.
Suddenly we hear these separate ventures haven’t been reported, and the Dr. Everything’llbealright who’s been working on his knee has had serious trouble with the American Medical Association.
Both of these things have the stench of old-time gangster activity.
Al Capone did his last days in the clink for evading taxes (because that’s the only thing they could get him on).
Then there’s being taken care of by a doctor who is barely allowed to practice medicine. There was that David Duchovny movie, “Playing God” where he’s a discredited doctor, and the mob boss played by Timothy Hutton hires him to take care of his people, and people he needs to be alive, when they’ve shot or otherwise, saving a trip to a regular hospital and avoiding a run-in with authorities.
Barry’s knee has had infections, and all kinds of messed up junk go wrong since this guy has cut into it – three times, mind you.
The knee is balky to the point of being unmanageable for sufficient use in the National League, and the masses have their parties set and ready to go if he never plays again – and he can hear it, and probably feels the sting of it.
Feel no pity for the San Francisco Giants who have let the show go on because they have a stadium to pay for, and had no other reason for the fans to come from miles around to watch baseball. The Bay Area stays cold on a consistent basis, so a day of missing Pedro Feliz might be understandable.
His path to Cooperstown is already paved, but if he never plays in The Show again, it brings me back to an old saying that if a tree falls in the woods and no one’s there to hear it, does it make a sound?