Yes- I am late blogging about Barry Bonds’ historic home run. Maybe I just wanted the historical histrionics to be over too. Face it- I only once wrote about sports on this blog. It just isn’t my bag. The last time it was about French footballer Zindaine and his bad behavior in the 2006 World Cup. This time- oddly enough it is also about questionable behavior but it is also more than that. It’s about a city, my home town, that seems more and more a city of contradictions.
Let’s get the steroid thing out there straight off. A statement that “I never knowingly took steroids” is an absurd statement. Sports journalist Bob Costas made an excellent point that someone as fastidious and obsessive about disciplining his body as is Bonds would never have been so careless as to ingest anything “accidentally”. So as political journalists call it- there you have your “non- denial denial”. Everyone with half a brain knows that Bonds took steroids. His super human abilities got better as he aged where most non-bionics actually decline as they get older. But really it is his own statement about not knowingly taking steroids that tells the real story. Oh yeah – there is also the fact that his best friend and trainer- Greg Anderson is sitting in jail rather than giving testimony that might implicate Bonds. If it wouldn’t implicate Bonds- I doubt he’d be sitting in jail. I sure hope Bonds gives him half his Giants salary for being his fall guy. Roman Emperors rarely had a Praetorian guard that would have so completely fallen on their sword.
So yeah – the record is tainted. Yes even this tainted record is admirable- but one can never be sure which home runs we should cheer and which ones were juiced. We’ll never know- because Bonds will never come clean. Besides Mr. Bonds just doesn’t seem like a the “role model” that so many sports heroes were in my childhood. True my heroes were more in the realm of opera than baseball- but I had friends OBSESSED with baseball heroes. Bonds is just one of a series of professional athletes disappointing us. True steroids aren’t as bad as murder, dog abuse and rape- but it isn’t lofty and bottom line- “drugs is drugs is drugs” and cheating isn’t a good thing either. But these guys should realize that part of their job is PR and being a role model. They seem to resent that- but too bad— that’s part of what you signed up for when you signed some obscenely high paying contract.
But let’s get back to that “record”. Actually Mr. Bonds is only the questionable home run king in the United States, he does not hold the world wide record.
There is another baseball player who has actually hit more home runs in professional baseball. Sadaharu Oh is a former baseball player and manager of the Yomiuri Giants in Nippon Professional Baseball and is the current manager of the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks. He holds the professional baseball record for home runs, having hit 868 in his prestigious career. How US-centric that we conveniently forget about baseball in other countries!
Yes- baseball is “America’s past time” but as ball players behaving badly has become the norm here, it is actually respected more in many other countries- Cuba and Japan specifically. The Japanese are probably more baseball obsessed than Americans. Yet in our world where apparently the world revolved around the USA and others do not exist “at our rarified level” we do not recognize Oh’s record. It seems even the venerated Hank Aaron gave some sort of nod to Oh- in 1988 Oh and Aaron teamed up and created the World Children’s Baseball Fair (WCBF), to increase the popularity of baseball by working with youngsters.
So yes- the record is questionable because of steroids and it isn’t a worldwide record anyway. But here in my city by the bay- I could be tarred and feathered if any body heard me say something remotely negative about Barry Bonds (I should have used a pseudonym for this blog!). San Franciscans are blinded by this record. Bonds is their hero. For goodness sakes- City Hall has been lit up like Linus’s Giant Pumpkin for the past few weeks. It’s an homage to the Giants- since their colors are orange and black. I guess they decided it wasn’t a good idea to light the city hall rotunda black.
San Francisco is a city that is OBSESSED with fairness and openness. The city’s sunshine ordinance insists on a level of “openness” in government that is seen very few other places. But we don’t seem to want to see the man behind the curtain where Bonds is concerned.
Maybe it’s because Balco and other steroid producing shops are the product of neighboring Silicon Valley that San Francsicans don’t balk at bionic prowess -after all San Francsico is just lousy with Silicon Valley millionaires and they invented this crap.
But I really think that San Franciscans want the rest of the country to like us- and see us as regular guys who, like middle America, love baseball. And not only do we love baseball we have the baseball King here!
Nope- we ain’t a buncha latte drinkin’, wine sippin’, foie gras eatin’ pansy-assed liberals here! We love hot dog, beer and baseball! F’ing A! But truly you can get some pretty good eats (the garlic fries are too die for!) and some vintage wines at AT&T park (shhhhhh- even baseball in San Francsico is prissy!).
But alas- Mr. Bonds isn’t giving San Francsico the opportunity to be seen as one of the guys. I am proud of being a liberal (latte drinking and all) and don’t feel the necessity to show the rest of the country that we have as much testosterone as they do even if it is out of a syringe.
Come on San Francisco! Get with it- celebrate who we are. Part of who we are has always been to expose those who are hypocrites. Why are we celebrating one of the all time biggiest bypocrites in the annals of sports?
I think Barry Bonds should sign right now to guest star on the upcoming TV series the “Bionic Woman” – after all they are perfectly matched!