Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Levine on Bonds

Thanks so much to everyone who commented for the 200th post (and those who haven’t are still welcome to). I’m frankly blown away. Besides having a forum to rant (like my post today) it’s a terrific bonus knowing I’m encouraging people who love writing as much as I do. You’ve also raised some great topics that I will address in the weeks to come. On to the next 200!

*******

Barry Bonds hit his 715th home run on Sunday in “Corporate Sponsor’s Name Here” Park in San Francisco, passing Babe Ruth for second place on the all-time list. Hank Aaron with 755 lifetime “big flies” holds the record. How fitting that when Bonds socked his “historic” homer his mother wasn’t there, his wife and kids weren’t there, nor were the Giants’ team owner, the so-called “commissioner of baseball” (he was probably trying on new suits deciding which one would be the most comfortable to sleep in), or Willie Mays (although in fairness, Willie did send his statue). Curiously, the mike went out on the Giants’ radio broadcast just before Dave Fleming’s call thus denying fans the chance to even hear it. (Curse of the Bambino?? Hmmmm?)

Bonds wasn’t mobbed by teammates at home plate. Only a handful of national reporters were there. Most editors realized it wasn’t worth the $12 per diem per day to justify their presence. Better to do features on fly fishing. ESPN had cancelled Bonds reality show sending the camera crew instead to cover tractor races.

In short, this was a big NON EVENT. The 100th GEORGE LOPEZ SHOW of baseball.

All because Barry Bonds is exactly as he is perceived by the public – a (San Francisco) Giant schmuck. This is a guy who, during the last baseball strike, despite making millions, asked a judge if he could reduce child support payments. It’s also a pretty good bet he took steroids. There’s a reason his head is now the size of Underdog’s in the Macy’s Day Parade.

No wonder nobody gives a shit. No one wanted him to break the record (in the same way no one wants to see Dick Cheney win a Nobel Peace Prize or P. Diddy sell more records than Elvis.) My son was only sorry Bonds didn’t hit #715 this upcoming weekend because the Giants will be playing in New York. Can you imagine? He’d be mercilessly booed, spit on, and drenched with beer – and that would just be from the security guards assigned to protect him.

And for all that, I have to say, I think Barry Bonds is the greatest hitter the game has ever seen. Better than the Babe, better than the Yankee Clipper, Stan the Man, Teddy Ballgame, or even the Rabbi of Swat.

Still, I hate him. If I was forced to say one nice thing about his personality it’s that he was always a pantload, even before he became famous. The money and fame didn’t go to his head.

Hank Aaron was hated too. But the difference is Aaron was hated for all the wrong reasons. It was his courage and character as well as his skill that allowed him to set a record I hope will forever stand. Not because of what he did but because of who he is.

And for Barry Bonds, when he inevitably is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, I hope the only star athlete willing to introduce him is OJ Simpson.

17 comments:

Hannelie said...

Hi Ken,
I am not one of your fans (yet) because I don't know you, until I read about you.
All I am is a mum blog browsing today...Hi please to meet you from Western Australia.
We enjoy the shows here that you've worked on and I will visit your blog more to read and learn about you and your work. I am very curious by nature.
I won't leave flattering comments cause I am not a hopefull actor :)
Well done any way in achieving every thing you've done so far.
Congrats on the 200th post/opinion.

1031 said...

I've been pretty disgusted by Barry Bonds for years now, going back to when he was a Pirate. He was a jerk then, he's a jerk now. Good to know some things never change.

As for his supposed "records," they don't mean a damn thing to me. Yes, Bonds was an amazing hitter even before taking steroids, and yes, he would have had an impressive number of home runs without the added help, but he also probably would have had to retire years ago due to his body falling apart on him had he not taken steroids.

To hell with him and all the rest who took 'roids. In my mind, and hopefully the minds of every true baseball fan, the single-season home run record is 61 and only two people have ever hit more than 700 homers, the Babe and Mr. Aaron. That's it. That's the list.

I hope Bonds' knees give out and force him to finally limp away from the game he helped tarnish. Were he to ever come close to 755, it would be nothing but an insult to the fans, the game and to Henry Aaron, who is more of a gentleman than Bonds could ever dream of being.

Total said...

No one wanted him to break the record

Bonds didn't break a record by hitting 715. He moved into second place on the all time home run list. That's not worthy of celebration in the same way, and we should keep that in mind

John said...

At the very least, Bonds passing 714 and now having only Aaron in front of him will remove his excuse (as the N.Y. Daily News' Mike Lupica has noted) that the people who disliked him were merely a bunch of racists who didn't want to see Barry break Ruth's record. Any booing and other shows of disgust by the fans as he closes in on 755 can be taken on their own merits (though it wouldn't suprise me if Bonds tries to turn Aaron into an honorary white man between now and then).

Mike McCann said...

Ken,

You hit the target when it comes to the relationship Bonds has with fans. He's simply not someone we can warm up to. Smugness is not a way to win over the masses. Neither is conceit -- or the arrogance symbolized by a need to go beyond his G-d given gifts for purely personal gain.

But in this greatest of team sports, how many RINGS adorn his fingers?

None.

Anonymous said...

This longtime-reader (well, a few months) and never-poster had to post, anonymously because it's the only way it would let me, to say

HEAR HEAR!!!

Will Teullive said...

You can't tell me steroids don't have negative side effects.

Has anyone listened to this guy speak lately? He sounds a lot like Michael Jackson.

He may moonwalk his way around the bases for number 756 only to be greeted by Bubbles the chimp at home plate!

Mary Stella said...

I'm no fan of Barry Bonds either. From his early playing years, he has always been a gigantic hot dog. I remember once in Philly, he turned to the Phil's manager with this incredulous look as if to say, "You're really going to risk pitching to me?"

As much as I love baseball, I can't get all stirred up about the steroid controversy either. Not when I think of the number of times that chronic cocaine users were suspended and then readmitted.

That said, I figured that Bonds hitting #715 was a non-event because all it really does is put him second on the list. Hank passing the Babe to take over the record was news. Becoming second isn't, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

You'd think if he did take anything, that he was the only one. And you'd think, based on people's reactions, that it turns you into a God. People need to read up on issues before they make uneducated comments.

- Allen

Jim 7 said...

It's not just the alleged steroids, it's that damn armor that he's still allowed to wear on his arm that keeps anyone from backing him off the plate. I wish I could see Barry Bonds bat against Bob Gibson or Don Drysdale. How many home runs has he hit because he could lean in more than anyone else?

My personal feeling is that every time Bonds comes to bat, the fans should stand and turn their backs.

Anonymous said...

Again, you think he's the only one who wears protection (doesn't sound right)...


If there was a double standard, then fine. Even though it's not his fault. If given the option, I'm sure players back in the day would wear 'armor' as well.

- Allen

Shane said...

Well- as a Giants fan, he's still my guy and I still support him and as long as he's wearing the orange and black, will continue to do so.

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