Sympathy for Barry Bonds: And I thought only golf could make someone look so dejected
As Barry Bonds walked off of the field during the Giants’ opening game yesterday, a fan threw something that resembled a syringe in his direction. Everyone is aware of the allegations surrounding Bonds, so I don’t even need to describe the significance.
The camera caught a close-up of Barry’s face, and something unbelievable happened- I actually felt sympathy for him for the first time ever. I have always been the first to criticize Bonds (more for his overall arrogance and the comments he’s made than for his steroid….excuse me.. alleged steriod use), but yesterday was the first time I’ve ever seen real anguish on his face; it wouldn’t have surprised me to have seen him crying.
I was trying to think about other times in sports when I have seen an athlete with that same hopeless look, and a few examples came to mind: Greg Norman at the 1996 Masters on Sunday; Jean Van de Velde at Carnoustie after making a 7 on the 18th hole of the British; and Mark Calcavecchia after hitting a lateral shot on the 17th hole in the Ryder Cup.
Until yesterday I thought only golf could give that look to a world-class athlete- I guess I was wrong. I know what it feels like when golf kicks me around, and I only play for fun.
As unlikable as Bonds has managed to be over the last few years, I still hope I never see him look that way again.
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Now it's blowing up in his face. Guess what, people? That happens in life -- we ARE sometimes held accountable for our actions and many times in very very harsh and painful ways.
The really odd part is that the guy didn't need steroids to waltz into the Hall of Fame and probably be considered among the top 5 or so to EVER play the game. Instead, he'll rightly go down as a fraud who tore pages out of the record book and wiped his rear with them all in the name of personal gain. His home run "record" will have the mother of all asterisks next to it.
Think about the very real pain and anguish that was on Hank Aaron's face as neared home run no. 715. The guy was taking heat and even getting death threats from cowardly racists (and being that it was an era where Medgar Evers, MLK, RFK, etc. were very much still on people's minds, a death threat for a black man in the South was not taken lightly). Now, compare that with the "pain" and woe-is-me self-pity that Bonds is showing day in and day out. The contrast couldn't be more stark. Aaron was a scrappy, skinny ballplayer who dug in and fought against the odds for years, playing great team ball to eventually become known as the greatest home run hitter ever. (Did you know he never hit 50 in a season?) Whereas Bonds spent his whole career being glad-handed and pampered, became the very definition of clubhouse poison and then, at the tail end of his career, thinking baseball owed him even MORE, he begins cheating. Pathetic. Now he's about to cry because fans are angry that he's done everything to soil the integrity of the record book ...... well boo f***ing hoo, Barry.
Ted Williams was a jerk to the media and his own fans, but will be forever respected and appreciated for his talent. Plus, as he aged, he became more sympathetic.
That could have been Bonds, but his greed, petty jealousy and ego made it too much for him. He had to cheat. Now he will never be respected.
So it's syringe season for Bonds, for the rest of his career.
Fact: McGwire admitted using Andro for years, though he evaded the question about other steroids in front of Congress. Andro was not banned. Questionable, but no proof of wrong doing.
Fact: Sosa GOT CAUGHT using a corked bat. PROVEN CHEATER, but with cork and no proof of steroids.
Fact: Palmeiro GOT CAUGHT with steroids in his system. Apparently within weeks of his Congressional testimony. PROVEN CHEATER AND LIAR.
Fact: Giambi admitted to using steroids for years. ADMITTED CHEATER.
Fact: Bonds has not been caught with steroids in his system, cork in his bat, or Andro in his locker. He admitted that he tried steroids, but didn't continue [See Clinton, Bill as in "I didn't inhale"]. He's an ass, but that ain't a crime.
Fact: Whether Bonds' tested positive or not (come on, MLB doesn't have the faintest idea how to test for steroids - if they were serious, they'd hire Olympic testers), I - Hoyt Decker - believe that Barry Bonds was a heavy steroid user over the past few years. That is a fact. And I'm not alone. Not by a long shot.
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