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THE GREAT ONE
2003-09-03 19:08
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.


Tom Boswell has a sympathetic piece on Bobby and Barry Bonds in The Washington Post:


Where did Bobby Bonds get the bad rep? Was he too smart, too independent, too pro-union? Did he party too much or, a more likely sin within baseball, speak his mind too often? Don't ask me. We hit it off. Once, when we were talking, a player tried to push a rubber snake under my stool to make the kid reporter jump. Bonds tipped me off and we turned the joke around with me stomping the snake. That was Bobby Bonds to me.

How Bobby got on the wrong side of the baseball establishment long ago is ancient history now. What's pertinent is the impact on a son when a father he adores is ushered out of town when he's 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18. How would any son, after that experience, feel toward owners, general managers, managers, coaches, reporters or fans? Would you trust them, consider them fair judges of a person's character? Would you think they'd taken the trouble to know what made you tick?

Barry Bonds's supposed split-personality -- an obsessed, driven jerk within the game, but an amiable nice-guy to everyone who meets him outside a baseball context -- has never seemed mysterious to me. Some players have a chip on their shoulder. Barry carries a grudge. Every time he sets a record, it feels like he's settling a score.

...These days, we need to ignore everything that Bonds isn't and focus on what he is. Don't ask him to be an ambassador for a sport he doesn't trust. Just appreciate what he is. Only Ruth, whose statistics far surpass Bonds's, was better. Right now, Barry's playing with an injured hamstring and can barely run. We're not guaranteed how long he'll stay at this level.

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