|Bonds' anger at fans is unwarranted||| Print |||Send|
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on August 04, 2007
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 himself.
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 milestone.
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.