San Francisco Giants

Everyone Else Is Jealous

Tonight, the greatest baseball player since Willie Mays strutted to left field amidst a chorus of cheers. In his first trip to the dish in almost a year, he worked the count full before blasting a ball about 3 feet from the left-center field stands, and home run #704. As the once-sluggish Giants surged with energy from their rejuvenated crowd, number 25 and his teammates carried the Giants to a 4-3 win.
For the past 6 months, we’ve heard that Barry Bonds will be back by opening day, that he’ll have surgery but is rehabbing hard, that he may never play again, that he will be back by June, that he will have surgery again, that he doesn’t really see himself playing again this year, that he can’t wait to get back on the field, that he will come back next year, that he’ll come back next month, that he’ll come back when he’s ready, even if it’s next year, that he’ll come back in a few days. All the while, journalists, talk show hosts, and various other media personalities have thrown their arms in disgust, yelling “WHO CARES?! BASEBALL GOES ON!”

And this is true. I didn’t watch SportsCenter for the Bonds update, I didn’t research the doctors he’s been using, and I certainly didn’t log onto to read his latest blog. I did watch a ton of baseball, learn that Damion Easley crushes lefties, and come to love the game more everyday. Only for the pathetic Giants’ sake did I give a damn about whether Barry Bonds came back this year or next or ever again. But that’s the difference between Giants fans and the rest of the country. Barry Bonds happens to be a Giant.

All year long, columnists have ripped Barry Bonds. They talk of how he’s a poor teammate, how he isolates himself from his team, how spoiled and selfish he is. Just this past week, Gary Miller wrote in his “Clubhouse Confidential” how he’s an overpaid, inconsiderate teammate and baseball player (that article is the real reason for this post). Aside from the fact that Miller’s column lacks any purpose and that the reader is hard-pressed to derive any sort of point from his argument, the truth is that I, like the legions of other Giants fans across the Bay Area, could care less about how he interacts with his teammates! We endured Jeff Kent, who got along with nobody; in other sports, we’ve dealt with Latrell Sprewell, who managed to choke a coach, and Terrell Owens, who managed to call Jeff Garcia gay, fight Steve Mariucci, criticize Terry Donahue, all before he even got to Philly. I think we can deal with an aging 41-year old who happens to need a spacious locker, multiple personal trainers, and a good old recliner in the clubhouse.

The truth of the matter is that there is no one quite like Barry Bonds in baseball. No one impacts the game more; last year, he put up 232 walks. Even if he 0 hits for the entire season, and got out each of the 375 official plate appearances he had, he’d still have an OBP of .384, best on the team for full-time starters. His eye is uncanny; he takes about as many called third strikes as he swings and misses (both happen almost as often as a home run). He also possesses unbelievable bat control, turning on breaking balls and yanking them fair around the foul pole. And while his baserunning and defense have both deteriorated rapidly, there are zero people in the history of baseball to accumulate 400 steals and 400 home runs. Bonds has 500/500, which is undoubtedly a greater individual accomplishment than any home run record he does or does not break.

At the same time, Barry Bonds goes against almost everything I enjoy about baseball. I enjoy good hustle, hitting the cutoff man, great defense, energy, and a quiet, confident attitude. After all, my favorite player of all-time is Darren Lewis, owner of the record for the most consecutive putouts without an error. Needless to say, his average never strayed about .270, a power year was about 7 home runs, and his mouth never popped off to anyone. Likewise, my current favorite player, Chase Utley, does all the little things while keeping his mouth shut and still will be a 30-100 player in the next two years (in addition to being a UCLA Bruin). Barry Bonds never runs out a groundball to first, jogs lazily to any ball hit to him in left field, is downright sluggish unless he’s got wood in his hands, and is borderline drama queen.

The realization that all Giants fans have made is that we’re going to overlook Bonds’ shortcomings. Yes, he’s a jerk. He’s arrogant and confrontational. He makes a boatload of money that could easily bring in several quality free agents.

And who the hell cares? He singlehandedly changes games, produces runs, and don’t forget those ticket sales.

If you’re not a Giants fan, you just wish you had Barry Bonds. No one, not even Albert Pujols, commands Bonds’ level of respect. So no matter what you say to belittle him, to diminish his accomplishments or effect on the game, the truth is that you’re jealous that we have our generation’s greatest baseball player, and you don’t.

9 replies on “Everyone Else Is Jealous”

Give me… Pujols every day of the week and twice on Sunday’s over Bonds.  He has actually played in games this season.  Good luck with the rest of your season.

comment I would take Albert Pujols over Barry Bonds at any point of their careers. I’m sorry to tell you that, no I am not jealous that the Giants have the greatest player of our generation (something that I have to admit), I am sympathetic for the Giants that they can’t win even with him! I’ll take 3 good players in return for Bonds and his large contract anyday.

I’l take Bonds over anybody….except for Mays.
Nice refreshing to read a Bonds piece that isnt bashing him.

cheater in my eyes whatever he does means jack shit…hes an asshole.  give me a mickey mantle or willie mays.

Bonds vs. Pujols & the rest of the world Hey, I’m totally with you on taking Pujols at this point in time.  He’s by far the best hitter in baseball, hands down.  Just because I’m a Giants fan does not mean I don’t know my stuff about baseball, though it does mean I have added insight into how important he is to his team, just as if you’re a Cards fan, you’re going to feel the same way about Pujols.  Baseball is a team sport, but I’ve never seen one man influence the game so much.

But at the same time, look at the numbers.  Bonds walked 232 times last year, over a fourth were intentional.  This year, the Giants have upgraded their team from last year and are currently mired 12 under, a big change from being 20 over last year.  And since 1997, with Bonds, the Giants have consistently been one of the best teams in baseball.  Of course, the Cards with Pujols have been stellar as well (with a better team though), so that’s nothing to take away from him.

Lastly, as far as being an asshole, I’m not disagreeing with you there.  The man is spoiled, he doesn’t get along with his teammates, craves attention, yada yada.  But my point with the article is that just because he’s a jerk, there’s no reason to disparage him – he produces and that’s all that matters.

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