I watched, as I'm sure many of you did, a fair portion of last night's 9-5 Phillies win over the Giants, a game where Barry Bonds moved to within one of second place on the HR list, behind Babe Ruth, by hitting his 713th HR.
Well. First, I was again struck by all the fawning over Bonds by the ESPN broadcast crew, without even a mention of the controversy surrounding him. This isn't something competent broadcasters do. Yes, I know ESPN is heavily invested in Bonds with his reality show -- something I refuse to watch, incidentally -- but the skew in favor of Bonds, when clearly most all baseball fans (excepting Giants fans, of course) are against him, is nothing short of disgusting.
Bonds, for his part, put yet another notch in his "I'm The Biggest Jerk Of All-Time" trophy case when he refused to sign the #713 ball for the fan who caught it:
"Will you sign my ball?"
Bonds smirked and said nothing.
After his news conference, Bonds shook Oliveras' hand and took a picture with him.
"I'm happy because I got a picture and he shook my hand," he said.
Happy? Maybe. But read on:
You have got to be kidding me. Sign a waiver? I'd have refused until Bonds signed the ball.
All of this relates to the Cubs, of course, because they'll be visiting This-Year's-Phone-Company-Name Ballpark Tuesday through Thursday of this week. Too bad Greg Maddux will miss the series (he's throwing tonight vs. the Padres), because I know he'd relish the competition with Bonds. Maddux' and Bonds' careers are almost identical in length, and Bonds is 34-for-120 lifetime (.283) with 8 HR vs. Greg. In any case, Bonds will face Rich Hill, Carlos Zambrano and Sean Marshall when the Cubs come to San Francisco. (He may not face Marshall, as the Thursday game is a day game after a night game, and he's taken some days like that for rest.) Bonds and Z have a history; Bonds didn't like it when Z pumped his fist after catching a Bonds line drive back to him to quelch a Giants rally back in 2003.
Seriously, I wish Bonds would just retire. I'm sick of hearing about him moving up the HR list. I've written before about how he was a Hall of Famer before he began doing steroids -- and there's little doubt in my mind that he did them -- and it's truly unfortunate that he wasn't satisfied with that, that he felt he wasn't getting his "due" unless he held records that would give him the public recognition he craved.
Well, he's got the single season record now, and will soon be second on the all-time list. But at what cost?
The Giants will be playing the Astros tonight, making up a game that was rained out last month. Astros manager Phil Garner says they're not going to pitch to him. (Link opens an ESPN video page, an interview with Garner.)
I say, good for them. As I wrote back in March, I'd walk him every time he comes to the plate, unless the game is specifically on the line.
And I've thought of another way for fans to register their displeasure with him. He's heard nothing but boos on the road -- I'm sure you heard them last night. But I'll bet he gets energized from those, and they show recognition. Here's a better idea: when Bonds comes to the plate, stand up in your seat, turn your back on him, and remain completely silent. Can you imagine the reaction if an entire stadium went silent on a Bonds at-bat?
It'd send a message, that's for sure.
I know I've opened the Bonds can of worms again, but we'll be discussing this quite a bit while the Cubs play the Giants, so why not start now?