By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
Bonds… Barry Bonds…Barry Lamar Bonds
El Cerrito, CA—How exhilarating this year’s baseball season was for many teams and fans. They watched the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox win the wild card on the last day of the regular season. How exciting!! Most of us watched the Houston Astros beat up the Atlanta Braves on the last pitch of an exciting 18th inning of the National League Playoff game. We also watched the upstart Chicago White Sox beat the defending World Champion Red Sox for a shot at the American League Championship.
Now this bizarre baseball season is coming to a close. Most of America are enjoying the League Championships, but there is a distant cry to examine the fetes of Barry Bonds. It seems that Barry Bonds has come full circle in his life and at home in the Bay Area. Bonds is one of the must prolific homerun hitters of our times. He can boast 708 carrier homeruns, 7 (MVP’s) Most Valuable Players awards, and 8 Gold Glove Awards, and for five years he led the league in walks.
Mr. Bonds has a diverse past. He attended Arizona State University where he played for the Sun Devils. He was drafted the first round in 1985, to the three time National League Eastern Champions Pittsburgh Pirates (1990,1991, & 1993). Then he was traded to the three time National League Western Champion San Francisco Giants in 1994.
Bonds has played baseball for 21 years but winning a National title is still out of his grasp.
At the beginning of the 2005 season the San Francisco Giants were picked by many sports writers to win the National League Western Division. Barry Bonds would be instrumental in making this happen but things fell apart very early.
This year’s spring training for the Giants would only be a harbinger of things to come. The United States Congress held hearings about athlete’s ands steroids, especially in baseball. Players, owners, and union representatives all attended these hearings in Washington D.C. However Congress really wanted to question the man at the head of this baseball storm mysteriously he could not be found.
A courageous effort was made by Major League Baseball to hide the drug (steroid) issue. Unfortunately the big bad bull is still in baseball’s china closet and his name is Barry Bonds. Barry made it easy this year for the baseball fan, the commissioner, and sports media crowd by not playing, and not hitting homeruns until the last month of the season.
When the Giants broke camp in Tempe, Arizona, Bonds did not look like the 2004 version. Many fans that watched the early games could see that he was having leg problems when he ran the base paths. He finally went to specialist to find out what was wrong and how it could be corrected. After the third spring training game Bonds announced that he would have an operation to repair his knee. Rehabilitation would follow which meant that he would not play for about six weeks. Bonds and the Giants were so optimistic. The question that is in everyone’s mind is why did Bonds and the Giants wait until spring training to reveal this known problem? The second question was: Are the Giants and Barry trying to dodge the BALCO, flaxseed, and Greg Anderson steroid inquiries this year?
There is a saying that is often true; “Out of sight out of mind” Greg Anderson, the BALCO Company, Bonds, and the Baseball Commissioner wished that the steroid issue would go away. It did not!!! When Rafael Palmerio tested positive for drugs and was suspended for ten days, the drug issue hit the front pages of all American sports sections
Begging the question about Barry Bonds and the past four years we recall that Barry Bonds and the media are not the best of friends. In the late sixties and early seventies a very young Barry Bonds watched his father Bobby Bonds get roasted by reporters. Newspapers all over the country misquoted and abused, Bobby Bonds spoke his mind and did not matter what the media thought. In turn the sports media wrote some very harsh things about Barry’s father. Obviously Barry’s childhood experiences with the media has influenced the Barry Bonds the man he is today. He is tight lipped, assertive, and at times belligerent. Barry does not trust the press nor should he.
Just before this season started he walked or limped out of the Arizona spring training camp doors with his oldest son for a press conference. His son just happened to be wearing a Barry Sanders Detroit Lions number 20 blue football jersey on this day. It makes one wonder if Bonds was sending a message to America through his son? “Leave me alone or I’ll do a Barry Sanders on the media and major league baseball and quit”.
A sullen, sadden, sulking, Bonds sat at the table and stated “you’ve finally done it you’ve done it brought me and my family down.” A reporter asked whom? Bonds replied, “YOU, YOU, and YOU the media” “You the press were not satisfied until you brought me to this low point.” For a moment Barry Bonds happen to be human. For the moment everybody could identify with Mr. Bonds and his frustration about not doing what he loved to do… play baseball.
Bonds still is the lightning rod on the issue of steroids and Barry thinks he is wearing a Teflon Giants baseball jersey. Many pure baseball fans do not want Bonds to break Hank Aaron’s 755-homerun record nor do they want him to pass Babe Ruth’s 714. Many do not want him to ever get a chance to come close to Hammering Hank Aaron’s homerun mark. Sorry!!! It is only a matter of time before it happens. If you throw out Barry Bonds (2003) 73-homerun year, he averages between 40-50 homeruns per season. You visualize how he could easily achieve Hank Aaron’s mark in the 2006 season barring injuries or retirement.
One statement that Bonds made this year should make everyone think. ” Drugs, steroids, whatever you ingest cannot make you see the ball or hit the ball. It might help you hit the ball farther but if you can’t see it then?” “You have to have the natural abilities to hit a baseball” Bonds has a point and baseball needs to listen to this very talented baseball star.