Perhaps choosing not waste too much space on the feel-good story that is the first place Long Beach Armada, the Press-Telegram’s Doug Krikorian bemoans the treatment afforded to Barry Bonds in visiting ballparks, writing “the relentless torrent of abuse heaped was a macabre spectacle that could serve as a metaphor for the bitter divisiveness – the Iraqi War, Immigration, Global Warming, Globalization, etc. – that now permeates this country.”
Bonds was treated even worse than the bad guys are at Vince McMahon’s scripted World Wrestling Entertainment shows, as he endured vile words and mean chants calculated to intimidate him.
I felt a sense of discomfort, even sorrow, for Bonds as I would for any other fellow human being who would be subjected to such torturous treatment in a public arena.
Outside of San Francisco, Bonds these days has been accorded chillier welcomes than given even to O.J Simpson, a legitimate outcast of society who richly deserves the opprobrium he has received.
Barry Bonds might be a boorish fellow who has feuded endlessly with the media, but the guy never has committed a heinous crime against nature except for his alleged usage of steroids that might have come, incidentally, at a time when such usage allegedly had become widespread in not only baseball but football, track and field, boxing and all the other sports.
All I know about Barry Bonds for sure is what I’ve observed with my eyes.
And never have I seen a major league baseball player – and I saw Aaron, Mays, Mantle, Clemente and so many others when they were in their primes – cause the apprehension that Barry Bonds does among opposing teams.
Nor, unfortunately, have I ever seen a person treated with such cruel contempt from those individuals in the stands whose brains never have quite made it up to their heads.
The Washington Post’s Michael Wilbon, scornful of Bud Selig’s passive-aggresive handling of Bonds’ march towards Hank Aaron’s career HR mark, weighs in on the Used Car Salesman’s non-celebration last Saturday night.
What Selig is doing, by just sitting there in some sky suite, is taking the easy non-confrontational way out. Implicitly, he’s blaming Bonds specifically and exclusively for baseball’s larger problem of steroid use, even though it’s a generational problem of which Bonds is a symptom but hardly the cause. Of course, there’s great irony in the fact that the pitcher who gave up the record-tying home run has tested positive for steroid use in the minor leagues. In this regard, the chickens have come home to roost; baseball is getting exactly what it deserves.