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I know this is just going to create a lot of arguments, and the half of you who give a shit are going to disagree with me, but this is something that cuts to the heart of why I really, really hate sports fans and the sports media and basically everything about sports except for the games themselves.

I've expended a lot of words talking about this guy considering he never played for the Chicago White Sox, but if you go to Google News and enter the words "Barry Bonds", you'll get two kinds of results: dipshit sportswriters gloating about how his career is over, and dipshit sportswriters bitching about how bad the Giants are going to suck this year. Gosh! What a totally optimal outcome for everyone! One of the greatest players in history can't get a job because every ballclub in the majors are being peevish, and his old club gets the reward for acting like complete pricks of getting to spend all year in the toilet! What a lot of fun for fans and players alike!

If ever you needed a glowing example of how repellently douchey sports fans and sportswriters can be, this is it. Everyone's treating the guy like he's a big blocked-up shit who has finally been expelled from the colon of baseball, and in the tidal wave of whiny gloating you can hear the nasal strains of the nerdy kid who always got picked last having a safe laugh behind the cafeteria dumpster that the captain of the football team broke his leg at an away game.

Of course, everyone keeps pretending it's about steroids, and of course, it could not be more clear that it's not about steroids. Fans keep rattling on about how "concerned" they are about the juice (check out the dumb-ass Carolingian who has invented a fantasy world in which "everyobdy knows" that Bonds was on steroids but "it has yet to be proven" that Roger Clemens was), just like they didn't in 1998 when two guys everyone knew were roided to the earlobes "saved baseball", but the total lack of outrage directed towards the million other guys in the MLB who are or were juicing is enough to put paid to the notion that this is all about performance enhancement. All the gas being squeezed out about protecting the integrity of the game (and honestly, every time I hear some milk baby rattle off about the sacredness of baseball, I just want to throw up) smells even staler when you consider that every fucking day, Jason Giambi (who not only juiced, but then weaseled out of it with the most unmanly chickenshit pseudo-apology in the history of human behavior) suits up for America's team, an outfit so doggedly adherent to the sanctity of the game that they won't let you wear your hair long. Absurd.

It's not about steroids, and it's never been about steroids. It's about Barry Bonds being a jerk. And Barry Bonds is a jerk, I won't deny it. It's the pretense that bothers me, this hypocritical and transparently phony claim that it's solely about how he's tainted the game -- if people just came out and said "I hate Bonds because he's an egomaniacal dick", I still wouldn't be happy because they'd be letting off the hook hundreds of other egomaniacal dicks in the business who aren't nearly as good at what they do, but at least some of the stink of bogosity would be rinsed out of the conversation. Bonds has always been one of the best players in sports (the only real meritocracy we have), and he's always been hated, long before anyone knew about BALCO or HGH. They hated him for being standoffish and arrogant, especially when he didn't play for their team; they hated him for his wealth and breeding (recall all the contempt he garnered for having his own personal trainer, as if trying to be your best was a crime, or expressing doubts about some of the outdated methods used by team trainers was worthy of condemnation); but most of all -- and this is the heart of it, and what really got the ball rolling in terms of the now-omnipresent portrayal of Bonds as some kind of war criminal -- they hated him because he had no use for the press. They hated him because he didn't think he needed them, and for that, for making them feel worthless, they'll never forgive him.

So where are we now? The San Francisco Giants, in one of the most juvenile displays of institutional pique I've ever seen, have virtually wiped their stadium clean of all records that Barry Bonds ever existed, something that the NFL didn't even do when one of their greatest players turned out to be a double murderer. Some sportswriters, drunk on what they see as the triumph of their own propaganda, are making the absurd claim that Bonds is gone and soon to be forgotten, as if his seven MVPs, eight Gold Gloves, 14 All-Star selections and innumerable other career highs will drop off the pages of the record books just because they say they're tainted. Others wax nostalgic for the good old days of uncontroversial ballplayers, and vapor about how "hard work and determination and perseverance were the path (Hank Aaron) took", just as if hard work and determination played no part in Bonds' career.

The game will go on, Bonds will retire with his millions, and people will keep spewing bullshit about whatever the next scandal du jour will be. But while the institutional memory of baseball will keep alive the image of Barry Bonds, Evil Steroid Demon and Would-Be Destroyer of Baseball, a few of us will remember the ignorance of the fans, the hypocrisy of the media, and the shamefully self-serving behavior of the MLB.

Fuck the haters. And let's go, White Sox!

Comments

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archaica
Apr. 1st, 2008 01:28 pm (UTC)
when one of their greatest players turned out to be a double murderer Buh?

And I agree with this post.
ludickid
Apr. 1st, 2008 01:31 pm (UTC)
O.J. Simpson? I don't know if you ever heard of him, he was in the news briefly a couple of years back.
archaica
Apr. 1st, 2008 01:36 pm (UTC)
Wasn't he the one advertising horseless carriage rentals?
oilyrags
Apr. 1st, 2008 02:00 pm (UTC)
To be fair, although everyone (including myself) figures he's a double murderer, he was technically acquitted and has stuck to his story about being innocent.
shekb
Apr. 1st, 2008 03:52 pm (UTC)
Right. Mister "If I did it" never even hinted that he might have actually done it.
oilyrags
Apr. 1st, 2008 03:58 pm (UTC)
Jeez, I forgot all about that travesty. Thanks a bunch!
ludickid
Apr. 1st, 2008 08:12 pm (UTC)
Not having been convicted of a criminal charge, then, is something else he shares in common with Barry Bonds.
lester22
Apr. 1st, 2008 01:45 pm (UTC)
Maybe this is twisted, but I actually respect Bonds for his egomania and standoffishness. I defended him to other baseball lovers until it became virtually apparent that he had used some sort of performance-enhancing substances.

I've always had some weird respect for people who do things better than everyone else in their field, and with that have forgiven them for arrogance or surly behavior. I think, if you get to the point where you're actually the Best at what you do, then a little chest-puffery isn't out of line. (These are my high school-era Objectivist tendencies rearing their heads.) It's why I loved Roger Clemens, and why I was completely willing to forgive him based on his retarded explanation of why he threw a bat head at Mike Piazza.

But I really can't condone using illegal substances to gain an advantage. Note I said illegal. Ballplayers - in every sport - are going to try their damndest to make themselves better, or make the game easier somehow. It would be wrong if they didn't, because in the end it benefits those around them (in team sports) or themselves (in golf...can you see John Daly juicing?). In fact, I never had a problem with McGwire taking andro simply because it wasn't illegal when he did.

So maybe I'm the outlier, but I definitely had mad respect for Bonds for years. The guy was amazing at what he did. And I might add, he would have been just as amazing, or close to it, without the performance enhancing drugs. You can't juice talent. Which is why I was so upset and disappointed when all of this circumstantial evidence hit the fan about his associations with BALCO, testimony that he used the cream and the clear, HGH injections, etc.

hipsterdetritus
Apr. 1st, 2008 07:03 pm (UTC)
I've always had some weird respect for people who do things better than everyone else in their field, and with that have forgiven them for arrogance or surly behavior. I think, if you get to the point where you're actually the Best at what you do, then a little chest-puffery isn't out of line.

This is why I can't bring myself to get annoyed at Kanye West. (And hey: Graduation, track 7.)
picodulce
Apr. 1st, 2008 02:20 pm (UTC)
someone with no love for the press must hate america.
you're gonna have to go somewhere else for the argument. and you really should. because bonds' treatment is bullshit; while congressional members are all "well, we don't know if he lied". it's crap. i hate barry bonds as much as anyone else, but we know mcguire was on the juice, and he wasn't half the player bonds was. and bonds has never gone through a trial.

but we're not going back for a while. bonds won't be on the first ballot of the hall of fame, and i hope a few writers go out on a limb and call that bullshit. and players in every sport are going to stretch the boundaries to make them better. lance armstrong probably did dope himself up. the runners certainly did. it happens; but people don't take the time to understand that a couple of squirts of gamma ray juice don't make you a fucking superhero in the real world. how many dudes got caught with the 'roids in some fashion who we've barely heard of?
krinndnz
Apr. 1st, 2008 02:35 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty much with you on this one, being as how I'm the sort of commie who thinks that the only thing that the high end of sports is good for is distracting us proles from actual issues.


Also considering how Bonds carried the Giants sometimes, people in the seats here in SF are unlikely to forget him that quick.
mrwomack
Apr. 1st, 2008 03:11 pm (UTC)
I agree.

And as a lifelong Dodgers fan, the Giants are a hideous gift that keeps giving. First I could extra-hate them for having Bonds, and now I can extra-hate them for ignoring him!
shekb
Apr. 1st, 2008 03:57 pm (UTC)
The cynical, sick-of-it-all sports fan in me is, right now, just glad that nobody is fucking talking about him, and who cares why? Finally, some peace from the non-stop Bonds media volcano that ruined my enjoyment of the sport for three solid years.

Oh wait, the thing that ruined my enjoyment of the sport for three solid years is the performance of my favorite team. And by 'three years' I mean ten. So, I guess...why do I like this again?
dyskodyke
Apr. 1st, 2008 05:20 pm (UTC)
Living near Boston when the Red Sox won may have biased me, but
Baseball fans are the worst ever. I fucking loathe them for so many reasons I'm not even going to rant about here.

Basketball fans are the only fans I don't routinely want to kill. And even that has a lot to do with the Spurs, I think. They're an oddly nice team and most of their fans (that I've met) aren't terribly obnoxious.
tritium
Apr. 1st, 2008 05:38 pm (UTC)
Re: Living near Boston when the Red Sox won may have biased me, but
The really annoying thing about Sox fans is how they stink up the green line.
dyskodyke
Apr. 1st, 2008 06:30 pm (UTC)
Re: Living near Boston when the Red Sox won may have biased me, but
I know, right? The green line is wretched and crowded enough without them.

But I think their stupid riots might be worse. Or the fact that Red Sox fans love to talk about how they're Red Sox fans. And they don't believe you when you say you didn't watch the game last night, and that, in fact, you never, ever want to discuss a Red Sox game. Ever.
hipsterdetritus
Apr. 1st, 2008 07:10 pm (UTC)
Quick devil's advocate question (coming from someone in a similar "ah whatever Barry's a jerk but enough already" camp): Do you think there'd be the same outrage if Bonds hadn't broken two of baseball's most cherished records (career and single-season home run)?

And even if McGwire and Sosa got a lot of giddy Real American Hero-type media attention, I do seem to remember a lot of sports wonks mumbling about andro back in '98. By the time Bonds hit #71 (and #72) in '01 what little time we spent not flipping out over whether baseball could truly heal us after 9/11 was spent looking back at '98 and wondering how much we'd been duped.
ludickid
Apr. 1st, 2008 08:16 pm (UTC)
I dunno, man, "duped" implies that nobody knew. EVERYONE knew that Sosa, at least, was juicing like Tropicana and they still treated him like Christ risen -- by no means coincidentally, too, he and McGwire were both pally with the media. They didn't get one iota of shit when they broke the sacrosanct records, whereas when Bonds did it, it was like he broke into every house in America and kicked the family dog. I think it has nothing to do with what was done and everything to do with who did it.
roninspoon
Apr. 1st, 2008 07:13 pm (UTC)
When I hear people going on about steroids and how they give some, but not all, players unfair advantages, I wonder to myself if those people hold the same beliefs about some of the more advanced surgical and therapeutic treatments. Is orthoscopic knee reconstruction just as unfair as Dianabol and Equipoise?

Then I wonder if that's really a very good point at all.
debg
Apr. 1st, 2008 09:35 pm (UTC)
Best. Fucking. Rant. Ever.

Seriously, love this. And having this moronic excuse for a government spending my tax dollars on investigating this bullshit is all the way up there with giving Ken Starr eighty six million dollars to investigate Bill Clinton getting a free blow job that Starr probably had to lay cash on the barrel to get.

Beautiful.
makkabee
Apr. 16th, 2008 12:38 pm (UTC)
If it makes you feel any better, I hated Barry Bonds for being an egomaniacal prick years before the steroid story started eating the front page of the sports section.
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