Monday, October 02, 2006

It's the End of the Season as We Know it

by SonDog

Consider this a preface: 1) I am a die-hard Giants fan. I support that team more than any other professional sports franchise. This three-part blog in April supports that claim. 2) I support them to the degree that I can tell you, off the top of my head, the statistics for low-A ball players who are years away from making an impact on the major league roster. In fact, I can honestly say that I TiVo'd more than one Fresno Grizzlies AAA games this year. I have a subscription to Baseball America's daily prospect update to see how the farm system is doing... yes, daily. 3) Giants' Spring Training in Scottsdale is an annual ritual for me. That's right, I drop loads of money each spring to essentially watch grown men in tight pants practice things like running and stretching. When I think about it, it's kind of creepy. But, as a wise man once said, "Good times, good times."

Chapter 1

The 2006 season was one of my worst experiences as a Giants fan. With the exception of a few young players like Matt Cain, Noah Lowry and Jonathan Sanchez, I disliked most of the players on the roster. The team was very old and very bad. The manager looked like he was bound to have a stroke at any moment. I accidentally received Steve Finley's AARP card in the mail. And, of course, the cloud of steroid suspicion (more like a tornado) was so dark around Barry Bonds and the Giants in general that it became increasingly hard to discuss much else.

(Note to reader -- What I'm about to say may surprise many of you.)

I'm a baseball junkie. In the past few of years I've been fortunate enough to visit Wrigley Field, U.S. Cellular, Minute Maid Park, The Ballpark at Arlington, Coors Field, Chase Field and numerous Spring Training parks.. Here's how most of my conversations have gone with other fans at those yards:

Me: "Hey, the (insert team here) are playing better this year. (Insert young player here) looks like a keeper."

Anonymous Fan: "Yeah, he looks good. The kid's got a howitzer for an arm. Hey, I see you're wearing an SF hat. Are you a Giants fan?"

Me: "Yup."

Anonymous Fan (with a condescending smirk on face): "So, what do you think about Barry Bonds?"

Me: "Nice talking to you."

Here's my point: I can't talk about Barry Bonds anymore. Nor can I support Barry Bonds anymore.

I have been an unconditional Bonds-lover for years. I will one day tell my son stories about Bonds and what a joy it was to watch him hit. There was a time when you had to stop whatever it was you were doing to watch Bonds swing a bat. I was fortunate enough to watch, in his prime, the greatest ballplayer of my generation. Sadly, those days are gone.

I am no longer an unapologetic Bonds fan. Look, I'm the first to admit that it's easier to say this now than it was when Bonds was hitting .370 or jacking homers at an alarming rate. The fact is that Bonds simply isn't that good of a player any longer. He's a liability in the field and, for most of this season, not much of a threat at the plate. To an equally important degree I have dishonestly justified his juice using with the "everybody was doing it" card. I don't buy into that logic any longer. It just seems too easy, weak and void of rational thought. (But that discussion is for another story.)

Bonds has been one of my favorite players for quite some time, but frankly I'm tired of defending myself for supporting a team that I live and die with. I want to get back to talking about baseball when I'm talking about the Giants. That will not happen as long as Bonds is in a Giants jersey. Maybe I'm selfish, but you wouldn't be the first to accuse me of that. As a Giants fan, it's hard to have a conversation about the team without it invariably coming back to Bonds and his relation to the steroid mess.

For the first time since Bonds became a Giant in 1993, I can honestly say that I would be happy if he was no longer on the team. I enjoyed the Bonds spectacle while it was alive and well but it's no longer alive nor well. And yes, I fully appreciate the irony of writing a story about not wanting to talk about Bonds.

(It was interesting to read Peter Magowan's words on Monday. I thought he would be the last person to admit that Bonds could no longer be the figurehead of the franchise.)

Coming soon: Chapter 2 - Title unknown


OZ said...


C-lo said...

Seriously? Mr. Defensive is pulling away from the Barry arguement? I feel your pain though. Try saying you're from Arkansas and not getting, "Oh yeah, what do you think of Bill Clinton?" Time to impeach Bonds I guess.