Hidden Greatness

By Willie Cochran
Updated: November 16, 2007

Barry Bonds New Jersey—It seems as though the public is taking for granted that one of the greatest baseball players and athletes of all time is playing in their era.

Barry Bonds is in the midst of chasing not just Willie Mays for 660 Homeruns, but Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron.

People did not take for granted that they got a chance to see Michael Jordan in his prime or, Aaron, or Walter Payton, so why does Bonds get so much less attention now? There are many factors that go into answering this question. Blame can be spread many ways, not just to the public, media, and Major League Baseball, but Bonds himself.

First and maybe the biggest reason Bonds does not get the publicity is that Major League Baseball is a distant third in the four major sports to basketball and football. Through no fault of Bonds, Commissioner Bud Selig and his cohorts have constantly alienated fans through strikes and a messed up All-Star game. Major League Baseball has truly become America’s pastime as in history, but not the present or future hot sport. Football and basketball has out marketed and out-thought baseball as it has grown and baseball descended.

Next the media has portrayed Bonds to be a terrible, selfish person off the field in the locker room, which most of the public has bought into. The media has seen him as not very attentative to them, which has caused the further bashing of his name. However as Bonds has hit more baseballs have flown over fences, Bonds has given more interviews and been “nicer” to the reporters. This in turn has caused some better reviews of Bonds as he gets older.

Last and certainly not least blame needs to be put on Bonds himself for not getting all the attention he deserves from outside the baseball fans. This kind of blame is not a bad one though, but some what commendable. Throughout these years of media bashing and some attention from within the sport, Bonds has never changed.

Yes maybe he as become more relaxed around reporters as he has gotten older, but that is maturity. He has never changed who is or what he is despite the naysayers.

In the next couple years as Bonds approaches the biggest record in all of sports, 756 homeruns, hopefully he will get all the admiration and respect that he deserves from not only baseball fans, but others from the outside.

Please send comments/questions to: wcochran@blackathlete.com


Like Father Loves Son Off the BlackAthlete Sports Wire Rich Draper

Barry and Bobby BondsFor Giants star Barry Bonds, the playoff chase and baseball must take a back seat for now.

His father, Bobby Bonds, a former San Francisco All-Star who has battled cancer and other ailments for the past year, is seriously ill, and the team placed his son on the bereavement list Thursday to allow him to return to the Bay Area.

The Giants have recalled outfielder Tony Torcato from Triple-A Fresno to take Bonds’ roster spot.

The elder Bonds, 57, who underwent open-heart surgery July 25 at a Bay Area hospital, has suffered from lung cancer, brain and kidney tumors as well as the heart problem. He resides in San Carlos, Calif., with his wife, Pat.

Barry Bonds, who leads the Major Leagues with 37 homers — he hit two against the New York Mets on Tuesday — will not be with the team for possibly a week. Players are placed on the bereavement list for a minimum of three days and a maximum of seven.

Bonds spent several days away from Spring Training to fly back to the Bay Area to visit his ill dad, who was later diagnosed with a brain tumor. He also took time off to be with his father during the open-heart surgery.

Bobby Bonds is in his 23rd season with the Giants as either a player, coach, scout or front-office employee. This year, he entered his seventh year as a special assistant, serving as a hitting instructor and scout.

Both manager Felipe Alou and the younger Bonds’ teammates have expressed admiration all season how he has managed to hit around .340 and continue to hit home runs — he has 650 lifetime — despite dealing with his father’s deteriorating health.