The morning after Barry Bonds hit a pair of HR’s in the Giants’ 8-5 victory over Pittsburgh, the SF Chronicle’s Bruce Jenkins comes to bury, not praise, SF’s Sultan Of Surly (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)
Hank Aaron did a wonderful thing this week, telling reporters that he has no intention of attending any Giants games. He was pretty cold about it, too, stopping short of direct criticism but suggesting he might get around to sending Bonds a telegram.
Aaron doesn’t admire Bonds as a person, and he is certain that steroids, not talent, will have taken down his record. Why in heaven’s name would he show up as a hypocrite, pretending everything is great? The conversations, regrettably, won’t be about Aaron’s career and what it was like to step in against Sandy Koufax or Juan Marichal. They will be about legitimacy and performance enhancement, and remember, this isn’t some one-day vigil. The wait could last for a week or more. In Aaron’s case, a week of lying. This is a man who always shunned the spotlight, built a career around quiet brilliance and tabbed Jackie Robinson, a pillar of dignity and courage, as his personal idol.
Plus, what if somebody asks Aaron about the proliferation of amphetamines during his playing days? What if he joined the cast of thousands, as some suspect, and popped a few greenies himself? It wasn’t a big deal then (or ever, truth be told), but at some point, that issue will surface. Aaron doesn’t want to head down that road at all.
As for the prospects of a Bonds trade, I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anything more ridiculous. For one thing, he’s all the Giants have – in star power, gate appeal and home-run potential. Despite management’s frantic denials, he is absolutely (and sadly) the face and centerpiece of the franchise. Are you kidding? If Bonds comes begging to play another season and get his 3000th hit, the Giants will take a hard look at 2008 – no hitting prospects, no blockbuster trade possibilities, fading fan interest, no All-Star game – and cower once again.
Even more to the point, there is no interest from other teams. Got it? None – unless you can picture some American League executive telling his fans, “We just traded for three months of Barry Bonds. We know you hate him. We know we gave up two really good prospects for him. We know he’s costing us a ton of money. But really, it’s going to be cool.”