Friday, May 12, 2006

Bonding with Bonds

Barry Bonds is sitting pretty, right where you don't want him to. You say you couldn't care less; and yet you couldn't stop watching him, stop talking about him, nor stop writing about him. He's discussed, dissected and dished for every menu item.

If there's anything wrong, it's in the game everyone but baseball plays with him. He only plays baseball.

Yes. He's not an endearing one you send invites to. He's always been that way, a jerk, when I hear what you say, when I read what you write.

But he's respected. No. Not by you.

He's respected by the pitchers who pitch to him, respected by the managers who sweat every time he's out there.

That's what Barry cares about. He knows he's feared and he will be as long he chooses to play.

And that he has earned. You didn't hand it out to him. Neither did I. And that was long before he allegedly injected himself with steroids.

Ask any player, any game, any sport. Everyone will zero in on one thing: respect - the respect of the opposition. Everything else comes next. You play the game to win - not to win a popularity vote. Barry's what Barry does regardless of what you think of how he does it.

Likely he's cheated: cheated the game of baseball, cheated the fans who pay to watch a game played out fairly - a fair expectation from fair fans who are fair to the Babe, fair to his legacy because Babe's fair and his numbers are fair in an era of all-fair baseball.

But as of now, it's only likely that Bonds cheated.

He's not playing so will send him flowers. He's playing the game like he's always played, like he owns it, like he's born to play the game, and like Barry Bonds.

You see, it's a matter of sending the ball where the boo begins and Barry ends.



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