World Series: Giants Fans Now Claim They Never Much Liked Barry Bonds
|Apparently, we never liked Barry all that much after all|
We're so well practiced at idealizing the past, sometimes I wonder if we can't help but idealize a pretty ideal situation in the here and now.
I can understand Giants fans lamenting that the team isn't facing the Yankees in the World Series. Certainly a victory over the epitome of button-down, corporate baseball -- and the Giants' longtime former crosstown rival -- would exorcise many demons. But you don't get to choose the decor on your life raft. A World Series win, to borrow every athlete's favorite phrase of late, is what it is.
More unforgivable, however, is the notion that this year's trip to the World Series will, somehow, be more entertaining -- or more valid -- than the 2002 edition, largely because of the absence of one Barry Lamar Bonds.
Sorry, that's just not so -- and it's self-indulgent claptrap to boot. This year's Giants team is marvelously likable. As likable as Bonds is not. But I don't recall sold-out crowds packing wild October stadiums showing up to fervently root on the team -- but feeling a pang because the team's superstar was an antisocial prick. In fact, Bonds and the Giants were scintillating throughout 2002, and Barry played a spectacular World Series. Fans didn't expect Bonds to be their best friend. They expected him to be the best left fielder. And he certainly was that.
As a longtime Giants fan, I've always been a bit perplexed by the notion San Francisco supporters were particularly naive or foolish -- or that our team's efforts were ill-gotten -- because of Bonds' obvious drug use. I refuse to apologize because our steroidal freak was so much better than the other teams' steroidal freaks.
Baseball chose to allow rampant drug abuse by its players -- and profit from it handsomely. The specter of a hulking, fortysomething Bonds shattering home run records was the just desserts of the league's premeditated policy of turning a blind eye.
But that's neither here nor there. The Giants' spectacular success is a thrill. But to contrast this with the '02 team -- in a way that allows us to declare how we never really liked Barry Bonds anyway -- is a lie. The Giants sold plenty of seats and No. 25 jerseys. And they were plenty fun to watch.