9.26.2007

Fare Thee Well, Mr. Bonds

It was announced earlier this week that Barry Bonds, perennial All-Star and home run king, will not be playing for the Giants next season. As with all dealings in baseball and pro sports, there are upsides and downsides to this announcement.

The upside is that the Giants will free up a rather substantial chunk of payroll in releasing him. His departure also opens the door to new and (much) younger talent to show off their left field skills. At this point in his career, Barry is a liability in the field and he will not be getting better in the off season.

The downsides include the loss of an icon and, in many ways, the face of the Giants. He has been very much the franchise player here and it always hurts to have an era come to an end.

Drug use allegations aside, he was and is one of the greatest players to ever play the game. Before he became a home run machine, he was a base stealing machine and a playmaker in the truest sense of the word. He is a deeply feared hitter even now, in his 40's.

It is a shame that his legacy appears to one of alleged cheating without real substantiation. And there's the other side of the coin, if he cheated then he most definitely was not the only one doing it. He just happens to be the best and that makes it okay to single him out and try to hang the steroid scandal solely on his shoulders.

Which is, of course, grossly unfair and overlooks the players have tested positive. It overlooks players who got out before the testing really got underway. It overlooks the managers, owners and GM's who looked the other way while stuffing their pockets with money.

Many fans hate Barry Bonds with a passion that surprises me. I like Barry but I don't love him, I wouldn't go especially far out of my way to meet him or get his autograph. But I do appreciate what he has done with his career, not only for himself but also for his contributions to the game of baseball. Love him, hate him, he really couldn't give a damn one way or the other.

I just hope he doesn't end up going to the Yankees. Anybody but the Yankees.

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