If You Cheered Barry Bonds, Philly Sportswriter Thinks You're Stupid

Categories: Sports
Dude can't not make news
Love him or hate him, the story of Barry Lamar Bonds is forever entwined with that of the San Francisco Giants. It was Bonds's star appeal that helped build AT&T Park (now a model for urban stadium design); Bonds broke all of baseball's home run records and became (possibly unfairly) the Steroid Era poster boy all in Giants black-and-orange.

So when Bonds and some of his 2002 NL pennant-winning teammates threw out ceremonial first pitches yesterday, he was cheered by Giants fans, who are stupid to do so, a Philadelphia Inquirer sportswriter says.

"It's a shame," wrote columnist John Gonzalez. "San Francisco is a beautiful city, a real-world paradise with stunning vistas - and it's wasted on people who can't get enough Bonds and MC Hammer and, even worse, can't bring themselves to admit it."

We were once a sportswriter ourselves, so we appreciate the craft, which is performed under excruciatingly-tight deadlines (10 minutes to write a 400-word wrap? No problem). That said, sports columns often substitute vitriol-laden invective for thought-provoking prose -- think Jay Mariotti -- and Gonzalez appears to take the lower deck of the Bay Bridge.

"The crowd rose and clapped as though it was hailing a conquering war hero who had just returned from fighting fascists overseas," wrote Gonzalez. "It was a remarkable thing to behold - tens of thousands of people applauding a man who's much more than a common cheat." Bonds is in fact an uncommon cheat -- a totem for cheaters everywhere, whose trial in federal court is scheduled to begin next year.

But enough with the man, let's bash the fans. Gonzalez referred to the AT&T Park faithful as "orange-and-black clad lemmings, [who] plunged one after the other off the embarrassment cliff Tuesday." Doing some reporting, Gonzalez tried to approach fans to put them on the record supporting No. 25, "and no one would openly confess to backing Bonds."

Now, Philadelphia is the same place where fans react to a franchise quarterback's drafting with racially-tinged boos, where flashmobs turn violent, and where sitting in the bleachers at Citzens Bank Park leaves you susceptible to being vomited upon. So maybe we don't exactly know where Gonzo is coming from.

SF Weekly e-mailed Gonzalez for comment. He's a nice guy, who told us he was "just having some fun at Giants fans' expense." Fair enough, but it leaves one wondering -- what would have the appropriate reaction to Bonds have been?

Also, for the record: Oakland native MC Hammer lives in Tracy (where we used to be a sportswriter, and would bump into the rap legend -- literally -- while exiting the restroom at Pop Warner games, where all of Hammer's kids played football). But Hammer is welcome in SF anytime (and we'd be happy to buy Gonzalez some Little Skillet, preferably the morning after another Giants win).

Until then, cheer on, lemmings.

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