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Like him or not, he is the best ever

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by creamora, May 17, 2007.

  1. creamora

    creamora Member

    Pretty soon the Bonds haters are going to start to feel lonely. Wonder how many will switch sides when those who continue to hate become a minority?
    Can't wait for Bud's decision to go ahead and plan a big celebration.

    Like him or not, Bonds is best ever

    Baseball's villain isn't a regular guy - just the greatest player in history

    Jean-Jacques Taylor
    The Dallas Morning News
    Thursday, May 17, 2007

    HOUSTON – The biggest sports villain of my generation is a Spider-Man fan.

    That's right, Barry Bonds – the most controversial figure in sports – is a fan of the red-and-blue clad web-slinger, and he can't wait to see Spider-Man 3.

    The 42-year-old movie buff prefers action movies like 300 and has no use for chick flicks. Looked like he swallowed tobacco juice when I posed the question.

    He's helping Arizona State, his alma mater, raise money for a new baseball stadium, says Rangers third-base coach Don Wakamatsu, a college teammate. Bonds reminisced that he was quite the ladies man back in his college days. He said he has been checking out the NBA playoffs.

    By the way, he never tires of talking Sacramento Kings basketball.

    Sounds like a regular dude.

    Of course, he's not.

    Far from it.

    You can't be a regular guy when you're the son of a baseball star, the godson of a Hall of Famer, worth tens of millions of dollars and under constant scrutiny because we believe you used steroids to make yourself bigger and stronger.

    Still, Bonds remains the greatest player in baseball history.

    You can debate it if you like, but I'm not hearing it. He's 11 home runs away from surpassing Henry Aaron's total of 755 – the most hallowed record in sports – and it's too bad we can't celebrate Bonds' impending accomplishment because we don't like him.

    The crowds at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday and Wednesday lustily booed him every time he walked to the plate for the Giants. They cheered every strike, cheered louder when the count reached two strikes and went nuts every time he recorded an out.

    A fourth-inning strikeout of Bonds on a 1-2 pitch Wednesday earned Astros pitcher Chris Sampson a standing ovation.

    In two games, there couldn't have been more than 20 fans wearing Bonds jerseys, though the guy wearing the black No. 25 Giants jersey and waving a rubber chicken after every pitch out of the strike zone was fairly amusing.

    But it's not like when Emmitt Smith approached Walter Payton's rushing record. No matter what stadium he visited, there were lots of fans wearing his No. 22. That said, there weren't many empty seats in the right-field stands when Bonds took batting practice Wednesday afternoon. And when he returned to the dugout after taking his swings there were plenty of requests for pictures.

    "Barry, it won't take but a couple of seconds to pose," one 30-ish man yelled as he leaned over a rail near the dugout.

    "Barry, we love you," a middle-aged woman shouted.

    And we won't even get into how many people snapped pictures with cell phones or digital cameras as he disappeared into the dugout to prepare for the game.

    He's the icon we love to hate, but fans still want to tell their grandkids they shared the same space with Bonds – even if he didn't know it. Or care.

    "I've got a job to do," he said, devoid of emotion. "It doesn't bother me."

    Too bad. It should.

    We spend our time debating whether Aaron and commissioner Bud Selig should be in the stadium when he breaks the record. Or whether Major League Baseball will find some creative way to suspend him before he breaks it. We wonder how steroids affected his career.

    It's easy to say fans despise Bonds because they believed he used steroids, though it's never been proved. He reportedly once flunked an amphetamines test, but that's never been confirmed.

    New York fans still cheer for Jason Giambi and he admitted using steroids, so it can't just be about the belief Bonds used performance-enhancing drugs.

    Bonds appears oblivious to how much fans dislike him.

    Maybe it's because he controls his environment at the ballpark. On road trips, he talks to the media for about 10 minutes on the first day of a series. He refuses to answer questions about his quest for the home run record.

    "I haven't done any interviews about myself and I'm not going to start now," he said. "If you want to talk about us as a team and how we're doing, that's fine. I just want to talk about the team."

    Baseball has been through the Deadball Era and the Golden Era. We just completed the Steroid Era.

    We really have no idea who used steroids except for those who admitted it or flunked tests. But I do know this: No one else in the Steroid Era hit 73 homers in a season or put up the power numbers Bonds did.

    Remember, Bonds was a great player before the steroid allegations began. Look at his trophy case: seven MVP awards and eight gold gloves. He's the only member of the 500 home run-500 stolen base club and he's a 13-time All-Star with 13 consecutive 30-homer seasons.

    This year, he ranks among the league leaders with 11 home runs to accompany his .300 batting average.

    He's not the same player he once was. Most nights, manager Bruce Bochy replaces Bonds in the late innings because knee injuries have made him a defensive liability. His power numbers remain good, but he's a station-to-station base runner these days.

    "It feels good to be healthy. If I can just do half of what I could do [physically] three years ago, then I'll be happy," he said. "I just like playing baseball."

    No matter how loud they boo.
  2. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    It's really indefensible to suggest that Bonds is "the greatest player in baseball history."

    That would be Babe Ruth. Then, now and, moe than likely, forever.
  3. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Pretty much.

    Ain't nobody else I can think of who was the league's best left-handed pitcher for a few years and also just happened to hit 714 home runs over the next two decades.
  4. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    That's who I thought this thread was about.

    (Actually, I didn't, considering that creamsickle started the thread, but Babe Ruth is still the correct answer to the question 'who is the greatest player in baseball history?')
  5. Flying Headbutt

    Flying Headbutt Moderator Staff Member

    Creamora.... one of the best hitters ever, sure. But the best player ever? The truest seamheads would never give that title to a left fielder. Ruth is certainly at the top, especially when you look at his pitching ability. Mays and Aaron are right up there too. And even Barry himself would say it's no insult to say those guys are better than him. Well, maybe he would, but it's not.

    And creamora, if you get a chance, at the top of the page click on "my messages" if you could for me. I asked you a question about something you might be able to help me out with. Totally unrelated to Barry.
  6. Shaggy

    Shaggy Guest

    I won't argue whether Babe was the best, but I will say that nobody here saw him play.

    I think Bonds from 2001-2004 was without peer -- and not just currently. Forever.

    Steroid-fueled? Probably. But it was awesome nonetheless.
  7. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    The ESPNization of American sports continues. ::)

    Not a chance. Other hitters have dominated their eras over a four-year period the way Bonds did in his. Ty Cobb, for one (1909-12).

    Babe did it twice: 1920-23 and 1927-30.

    In fact, you could argue that Pujols from 2003-06 was right on Bonds' heels. One MVP, two runners-up and a 3rd. A batting title, 3x runs leader, 2x total bases leader, avg. season of .337-45-125.

    And again, we're just talking hitters. Imagine if Randy Johnson had turned into Barry Bonds around 1997. That's what Babe Ruth did. :eek:
  8. Piotr Rasputin

    Piotr Rasputin New Member

    Thanks to Griffey's injuries, Bonds was the best player of his generation before the roids. He had speed, power, hit for average, and was a solid left fielder, even if his arm was crap. His base-steling ability in his younger days puts him over the top for me.

    But best ever? Probably not. Mr. Taylor is barking up the wrong tree here.
  9. creamora

    creamora Member

    As Chris Rock recently said on the Tonight Show, "Talk about an advantage. You can't compare Babe Ruth to Barry Bonds because Ruth didn't even have to play against black players." He also didn't have to play against huge pitchers on steroids. It's an apples and oranges comparison whether anyone likes it or wants to admit it or not. Don't think they were able to clock the fastballs pitched to Ruth either, but maybe I'm wrong.
  10. Buck, would you consider Aaron one of the best players ever, as Headbutt suggested?

    I respect him and his homerun title but longetivity played more of a role in his greatness than did his brilliance as a player ... the guy was a Galapagos turtle, slow and steady, never dying. But not spectacular.

    I'm on the fence.
  11. MacDaddy

    MacDaddy Active Member

    I seriously doubt Bonds haters are ever going to feel lonely, regardless of how many home runs he hits.
  12. I'm no baseball history, or really even a fan, but doesn't Joe DiMaggio belong in this discussion as well?
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