08 Jun 2007
I've been ignoring this site too long.
Without the energy to continue the Civics lessons right now (local government organization, accountability, politicians versus bureaucrats), I suppose I'll just rant.
Let's start with Barry Bonds. Many times through my life I've marveled at such a marvelous baseball player. I wasn't really paying much attention to him in the early 90's, but he was good. Just the same, every year I'd read an article on what a poor sport he was or what a snob he was. Fair enough, I guess. I didn't have to go interview him, so I didn't really care that he was mean to some reporters. I did not see articles on how good he was, but I figured that's because I wasn't in his market. But regular citizens started using those articles as a scapegoat to hate Bonds. "I just don't like him," they'd say. I'd ask about his cards at card dealers, "Why aren't Bonds cards worth more?" "Maybe it's because of his bad attitude," they'd respond. What's the effect on his attitude on the everyday Joe? There's virtually no effect, except that articles were being written to make people feel like there was an effect.
When Bonds had his stellar run early in the decade, I fascinated at his amazing ability. I distinctly remember feeling giddy (yes with goose bumps and all) watching him at the plate, just knowing that he was gonna crush the ball. He had that confidence that you see in Gary Sheffield - the confidence of someone you want on your team. And I respected that. Still, the prima donna argument continued to pervade. "Yeah he's great, but..." "He's the most dominating hitter of our time, but..." - but you've never even met the man and you harbor some deep down dislike for him? The prima donnas of the 1950's are now described as "determined," "focused," or "competitive."
Look, if you don't like Bonds, fine. I'm not saying he's a Nobel Peace Prize winner. Since the steroids scandal has been coming to light, people have switched to use that as their scapegoat for hating Bonds. I'm even okay with that, but again we have to look at the effect of his actions. I'd agree that his actions have hurt baseball and the average Joe. But please don't end the conversation there. Please also say that you really really really don't like Bud Selig. Please say that baseball's blind eye to steroids has hurt the game more than any one player could. Then we can we have a real discussion, like, say, about how much you don't like Mark McGwire.