Saturday, December 04, 2004

An inauspicious debut

I've been thinking for months about starting my own blog. Every now and then, a creative thought would pop into my head and I longed to have a place where I could record that tiny bit of inspiration before it was swept away, either by the rigors of work or by the sudden screams from the munchkins that I call my children.

But it took the events of the past 24 hours for me to convince myself that this was a good idea. On a day when chaos reigns supreme in the sporting world and the focus of every eye and every news camera is on Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants, that is the day I felt the need to start. And what better place to start than the center of the storm itself.

Grand Jury testimony was leaked to journalists working for the San Francisco Chronicle Friday - information which says that Barry Bonds did take steroids although he denies knowing that what he was taking was an illegal substance. Let me say that the writers of the Chronicle did a solid job writing the article, although I think they were used like pawns by their "source" and have taken journalistic integrity down a notch with their acceptance of what amounts to sealed testimony and, be extension, theft.

This news was not unexpected. Barry actually testified before the Grand Jury in December and with his connections to some of the key figures in this case, speculation was the Flavor of the Week whenever the Giants were in town. But in the absence of evidence, it was easy for me to believe that he could have been clean the whole time.

When Sammy Sosa said that he failed to realize that he was using his "batting practice bat" during a game, I laughed so hard that my back hurt for a week.

When Gary Sheffield allowed the Sports Illustrated writer to paint him as a martyr and an innocent pawn, I wanted to glare at Sheffield with that same menacing stare he uses on pitchers and call him a liar to his face.

Then Thursday, the San Francisco paper revealed that Jason Giambi has also admitted to taking steroids. Yeah, big shock.

But how could I justify the cynical opinions toward every other sports guy caught in a lie, but somehow believe Barry? It's not possible...right?

Well, explain the 494 career home runs from 1986-2000? He averaged 38 HR a year from 1990-2000 while reaching at least 100 walks a year in 8 of those 10 years (he failed to reach the century mark in 1994 and 1999 having missed a combined 110 games in those two years).

How about the methodical weight training sessions, the meticulous diet, the superior hand-eye coordination, and the hitting instruction from his father Bobby and the Say Hey Kid?

What about the consistency with which he has gone about his job for the past 15 years? Sure he jumped from 49 home runs to 73 round-trippers in one season. A jump like that is not possible for a ballplayer, is it?

Dear Splash Landings -

We must agree with you that Barry Bonds' miraculous increase in the number of home runs he hit versus his previous high could not have been possible unless he was cheating. We should know.


Brady Anderson (+26; +35 from '95 to '96)
Luis Gonzalez (+26)
Hack Wilson (+18)

Of course, I realize that blindly accepting Barry's words places me in a category with those who looked up at Jim Jones at the People's Temple in Guyana and said, "Hey, this Kool-Aid is delicious. But there is a slight after-taste. I'm dying to know what that is."

I am prepared to drink the Kool-Aid because I believe that Barry - regardless of his admission in the once-sealed testimony - is the greatest ballplayer of my generation. With or without the cream or the clear, it is clear to me that watching Barry Bonds swing a bat is like watching Michael Jordan drive to the hoops and dunk; like watching Joe Montana lead his team on a 91-yard drive in the biggest game of their lives while calmly noticing John candy sitting in the stands; like watching The Great One circle around behind the net, set up shop, and then gracefully and effortlessly bounce the puck off the goalie's back into the net.

Barry Bonds is special. And - to me - so are the Giants.

So if you enjoyed these words, sit back, buckle up and prepare for more to come. The wit, the wisdom and the insane ramblings are all inside - waiting to come out. Come back often to find out what I've conjured up and if you like what you read, tell a friend.


Jefferson said...

Hi there, and welcome to the Giants blog bunch!

If you're going to start a blog, you might as well start it with the biggest story of the year, at least so far.

Best wishes and much success!

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Anonymous said...

Good point, though sometimes it's hard to arrive to definite conclusions