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Say what? A Barry Bonds column?!

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by pressboxramblings07, Aug 13, 2007.

  1. I know, I know ... Barry Bonds stuff has been overdone, but I was still asked to write a Bonds column for last Sunday. Let me know what you think. I tried to take a different approach than the norm ... not sure if it worked or not. Feedback appreciated.

    Dear Barry Bonds,

    We've never met. You don't know who I am, but I know who you are. You are Barry Lamar Bonds, the all-time home run king, one of the all-time greats.

    I was parked in front of my TV on Aug. 7, 2007, the night you placed yourself ahead of all others on the all-time home run list. I saw the ball leave your bat and head toward left-center field.

    I knew it was gone.

    I sat still while you threw your arms up in the air, rounded the bases, celebrated with your family, watched a message from Hank Aaron on the big screen, thanked the crowd and inhaled all the glory that comes with owning sports' most revered record.

    It was the moment your legacy died.

    You're still playing, yes, and building on top of your new record, but the man, the figure, the legend that is Barry Lamar Bonds was no more once that ball left the field.

    It was the greatest night of my life.

    I could go back to loving baseball like I had before. I could forget all about you, Barry Bonds, and your pursuit of a number. I could turn on the TV and watch a baseball game, not a one-man show.

    You can have it, Barry. Take the record. I could care less.

    I know what you did.

    I know what you told a federal grand jury. I know that your personal trainer still sits in prison protecting your rep. I know how much you changed physically. I know what the evidence points to.

    I know, Barry. Innocent until proven guilty can always work in a court of law, but not in baseball's court.

    Majority rules, and you're guilty.

    But you can have the record. I still don't care.

    I know who you are.

    You will always be the baseball player who could have been.

    Without steroids, Barry, you could have been regarded as one of the greatest players of all time without any questions or controversy surrounding you like a shadow.

    You could have been better than Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Ty Cobb, Joe DiMaggio, Stan Musial or Lou Gehrig.

    Read that again, Barry. The list goes on, but you could have been better than all of those guys. Why did you have to cheat the game, make us question you and ruin those intensely jovial moments when a fan looks at your plaque in the Hall of Fame?

    You could have been loved by more fans than you could ever imagine.

    But you chose otherwise. You put Barry Lamar Bonds in front of baseball, your team and your true legacy.

    You played your career with you in mind.

    That's why you've never won a World Series.

    That's why you spat verbally on men like Babe Ruth, whose class you could have had a seat among.

    That's why you took steroids. Even though baseball dropped the ball in preventing the problem before it began, you still broke the law and the foundation of integrity that baseball rests upon.

    That's why you passed - not beat, don't ever think that - Hank Aaron.

    But you can have the record. It's all yours.

    As a matter of fact, thank you.

    I doubt it was on purpose, but you opened many, many eyes during your pursuit of Aaron's record.

    Many know now exactly what Aaron accomplished. They know exactly what he went through to break Ruth's record and how he did it.

    Thanks to you, Hank Aaron has much of the respect he never got 30 years ago.

    Aaron, who can see through you like all of us, even gave you respect you did not deserve when he never got the respect he did deserve.

    He gave you the number. You can have it.

    I still don't care.

    From this point on, I have forgotten about you, Barry Bonds.

    Why? Because you are a curable disease.


    A baseball fan
  2. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    PBR -

    Thanks very much for posting your work for us to share.

    As you point out, it's tough to come at Bonds with anything remotely new or powerful or thoughtful. I think deep in this piece, though, you came up with a pretty sound idea for a commentary:

    Thanks to you, Hank Aaron has much of the respect he never got 30 years ago.

    If I were your editor, and there were deadline time sufficient to the task, I'd have sent you back to the drawing board with this as your central theme - that Barry Bonds shines a new and beautiul spotlight on Henry Aaron.

    The piece as it stands now wanders in and out of several indictments of Bonds's conduct. That's problematic, and it weakens your piece.

    Even with someone or something as global-seeming as Bonds and the hunt for the home-run record, a writer needs a single, sharply focused idea around which to write an essay of this kind.

    I might tuck this away in a drawer for a year, then, as an exercise, revisit it and try to rewrite it.

    Thanks again for posting with us.
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