Written by Jonathan Leshanski
Published: 05 August 2007
I just read Jeff Passan’s column over on Yahoo! sports titled “Bonds
Bemoans Taunts’ Impact on Daughter.” It has a tagline of, “Some fan
behavior toward Barry Bonds is too childish even for an 8-year-old to
Now I don’t ever like to take umbrage with another sportswriter --
especially one who I rather like and respect -- but I think Mr. Passan
missed the mark widely on this one, especially when he characterized
the behavior of fans as racially motivated and moronic.
I find it hard to believe that Mr. Passan or anyone really believes
that the color of Bonds skin is much of a factor in the fans dislike
for Bonds. No, I think it’s a lot simpler than that -- we don’t like
Barry because his breaking of Hank Aaron’s record is a mockery of the
game we love.
Sure dressing a giant (or Giants) syringe, or coming to the game
dressed as a mad scientist with BALCO written on the back may seem
childish, as do the chants of steroids, catcalls of cheater, boos and
other disparaging remarks, but it is deserved. That’s the fans showing
how displeased they are with not just with Barry Bonds, but with Beg
Selig, Donald Fehr, and all of the others who’ve failed to clean up the
steroid mess or hold anyone responsible.
I can understand that Barry wouldn’t want his daughter to see the
anger, the mockery or listen to the jeers and curses that sail the way
of the embattled slugger. No parent approves of that, but Barry doesn’t
have a right to blame the fans without taking a deep hard look at
He’s responsible for all of this. Barry has tried to lie to us, insult
not just our intelligence but the fans themselves and not just because
of steroids. And any good spin doctor or handler would tell you that
Barry has handled this about as wrongly as he could.
He should have choked back the angry remarks. He should have smiled,
pressed the flesh, been outgoing and friendly - even if it killed him
inside to do so.
We’d be more inclined to forgive him had he come clean, had he
apologized, had he done the right thing and testify against BALCO, had
he done the Mark McGwire thing and start an anti-steroid group
targeting youngsters, had he made his training regiment transparent.
Had he done more of that, he might find that there were fewer boos,
fewer catcalls and a lot more support. Americans love the guy who
apologizes and is contrite for his wrongdoings; he’s capable of
becoming a hero again in the eyes of those who’ve judged him.
So Bonds is angry that all the people he’s shown such little respect
for are mocking him and slamming him as he gets closer to his
Their answer is “So what?” Why should they care what the heck Bonds
thinks of them or their behavior. He certainly hasn’t been a role model
for sportsmanship, fair play, or even civility.
No, Barry deserves everything he’s getting. Everything except the applause.