(I worked as a Sports Editor from late 2004 until the summer of 2006. This is one of the many columns I was able to save that were originally published in The Sun-Times of Heber Springs, Arkansas.)
I’m sure most of you saw the incident on opening day where a San Diego fan threw a huge plastic syringe at Barry Bonds’ huge steroid inflated head.
And some of you may have even tuned into the San Francisco slugger’s new reality show, ‘Bonds on Bonds’, Tuesday night on ESPN.
Both of which came on the heels of Bud Selig’s recent announcement that he was investigating (Bonds) the steroid scandal of the past few seasons.
After the San Diego game Bonds meekly stated that it wasn’t his problem, that it was the fans that were acting like idiots. And on his show (which I didn’t and won’t watch) he broke down in tears over the persecution of him in the media.
The syringe and the tears are just the beginnings of what may make for an intriguing, disgusting and possibly dangerous season of sporting fans waiting for Bonds to self-combust.
If fans in San Diego – where the temperature is always 75-degrees and sunny and there are rainbows and birds chirping for everyone – are chucking objects at Barry, imagine what’s going to happen to him in New York or Chicago or Los Angeles.
I wouldn’t be surprised if hand grenades or small barnyard animals are tossed in his direction when he travels to more socially distressed cities.
Now don’t get me wrong, I think Bonds deserves all the scrutiny, boos, name calling and general dislike that is inevitably coming his way the next few months. You can’t chase legends like Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron while being tailed by cheating allegations and expect a free ride from the working people in the stands.
Most of us normal Joes (and Mikes) can’t cheat to make ourselves better at our jobs and therefore richer in the process. We can’t go around acting like surly sourpusses and expect everyone to shower us with kittens and kisses.
Before one of you jumps up and reminds me that Bonds wasn’t cheating because steroids hadn’t been banned by baseball when he was allegedly (assuredly) injecting them or having them rubbed on him while he was blindfolded, let me interject.
Just because the ‘roids weren’t illegal yet doesn’t mean it was cool. Not everyone in MLB took the stuff, just a few of the more self-centered, egocentric ignoramuses like Bonds, Maguire and Palmeiro to name a few, felt the need to give themselves an unfair advantage.
Now it’s time to pay the piper, so to speak.
MLB doesn’t seem too concerned about the flying projectiles heading Barry’s way, or the influx of sarcastic and caustic signs that will be littering the outfield bleachers from now until whenever it is that baseball finally ends.
Reverend Jesse Jackson called out Bud earlier this week for not doing anything to curb the fans’ lack of enthusiasm towards Bonds. I have to question Jackson’s motivation here. Is it because he believes in Barry and that everyone deserves a fair shake, or is it just because Barry shares the same skin color?
I didn’t see the Reverend coming to Jason Giambi’s rescue last season or standing up for Palmeiro when he was taking gut punches over his pretentious finger-wagging lies.
What Bud needs to do is go ahead and suspend Bonds until the investigation has run its course. Does anyone other than Barry really want to see his fat head break the Babe’s record, and then have a shot at Aaron’s?
The answer is a flat out, resounding, no. The fans in San Diego have started the rebuttals, and Selig needs to listen before something horrible happens to Bonds or baseball.