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!