Thursday, September 08, 2005

Being a Fan

     This may seem a little strange, but I root for Barry Bonds.  I have no idea why I do, other than the fact that he plays for the team I grew up rooting for and that he’s clearly very good at what he does.  At the same time, there are any number of reasons I shouldn’t root for the Giants Barca Lounge Leftfielder.  That is, if you happen to believe even a third of what is said about the guy.  To put it simply, he doesn’t go out of his way to be nice to the media, though that’s no reason to dislike anyone.  There’s also strong circumstantial evidence that he used steroids in some form.  Of course, I pull out the whole innocent until proven guilty thing for Barry.   Did he go about the rehab thing the right way by choosing his own doctor and sticking with him even when the first surgery resulted in complications?  Probably not.  Still I root for the guy.

     If you had to insist on a reason, it comes down to something like familiarity and connection.  I grew up watching Bobby Bonds, Barry’s father, as he tried to succeed Willie Mays.  Bobby was a very good player, one of the best combinations of speed and power to ever play in the majors, but a drinking problem and a lack of plate discipline kept him from true greatness.  I felt a lot of Bobby’s pain.  It just never felt fair to tell a twenty one year old that he would be a failure of sorts if he didn’t match the standard set by one of the four or five best players of all time.  After achieving stardom as a Pirate, Barry Bonds came to the Giants and finished his father’s mission by becoming the only Giant to seriously rival Mays who also happens to be his godfather.  Two years ago, Bobby died while Barry was chasing Mays’s career home run total.  This isn’t a bad reason since it goes across generations and reminds me that I’ve been a Giants fan since I was seven years old and I saw Mays, McCovey, Cepeda, and Marichal all on the same field.  Of course, if this really were my best reason, I’d be a huge fan of Moises Alou.

     After all, Mosies’s father Felipe not only played for the first Giants team I saw, but is now the manager.  Moises also is a very good, though not great, player.  Sometimes, I think it was that business of Moises telling the reporter that he urinates on his own hands to keep from getting blisters from all those high velocity swings of the bat.  Maybe, I just found the human bobblehead that is Barry Bonds someone I’d prefer to high five after he hits a home run.

     When I  read  blogs and columns from the other side, I repeatedly attack the logical consistency of trying to support George the Abysmal, our current Yellow Jersey wearing leader of the tour de Gulf.  In this race which runs from the Gulf Coast to the Persian Gulf, you see how many people you can kill before you have to explain anything about how it happened.   Often, I can’t understand how these other people who collect photos of bus yards in New Orleans, track tickets to Springsteen concerts, and study typefaces on old letters a la Richard Nixon prosecuting Alger Hiss, can’t see breaks in the Presidential credibility levee big enough to drown any hope for democracy anywhere.  To them, the President may ride through streets filled with offal, but he’s always mounted on one of those white Arabian horses that the FEMA director helped procure for him.

     Once in a while it occurs to me that they feel about yellow jersey George the same way I root for Barry Bonds.  They’re fans, which happens to be a shortened version of “fanatic”.  To be a fanatic means that logic and reality don’t matter in the moment.  
There is, however, one difference.  Whatever his shortcomings when it comes to Q factor, Barry Bonds always performs on the field and has the numbers to back it up.  George the Abysmal has had an August about as good as his friend Rafael Palmeiro, who went home recently to end his slump maybe with the help ofViagra.  When Barry stops performing, even his fans would say “We loved rooting for you, but Barry it’s time to retire. Even Jerry Rice retired when he couldn’t be better than a 4th receiver.”

If a guy keeps getting people killed and keeps claiming it’s someone else’s fault, isn’t it time to at least bench him?  At least in baseball, K stands for strikeout.  I see three clear strikes, 1) the August 6th 2001 presidential briefing that the President ignored then tried to keep classified. Al Qaeda Prepared to Strike  2) the War in Iraq and the Downing St. Memo (would someone just do the math?  If any of it followed rules that CPAs and auditors follow…an honest court would shut the war down)  3) Katrina.  Does anyone understand that even if the Governor and Mayor made big mistakes that doesn’t absolve the administration from its mistakes? After three strikes, you’re out.  What should it be when K stands for Killed?

If you’re a hitter and strike out a lot, even the Texas Rangers send you back to the Bush leagues.



At 9/11/2005 10:30:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the urinating-on-hands thing, my 2nd husband went commercial fishing for a few summers in Alaska 35 years ago and when his college-boy hands got brutal blisters from all the hell-wet fish-slime lines, the old pros told him to piss on his hands -- and it worked -- hardened 'em right up. (I'm not sure who discovered this in the very first place? Probably the same person who ate the first artichoke.)

Love "George the Abysmal" -- I might go for George the Cretin as even more accurate and insulting, but yours sounds better -- you get both percussion and hissing -- always good. I think "pipsqueak" is the bullseye word really.

Good point re the rooting thing. One hates to have one's judgment 'shown up' -- so to admit that George & Minions are a Gang who can't shoot straight would make one feel fooolish had one ever been a fan. I always knew the guy was a complete dork -- a word I seldom use.

Please remember and pass on that we are spending $200,000 per MINUTE in Iraq.

I love Barry Bonds with no apologies. He has the most astonishing perfectly economical swing ever in the game and to see it on a regular basis because he is local is a fabulous treat. About everything else, shaddup all you simpleton detractors. What else matters but The Perfect Swing?

I would prefer if he hadn't taken steroids, but all this stuff can get pretty weird -- should one not eat Wheaties either? BUT even if let's say he did take them along with various other stars. NONE of THEM has a perfect swing. You don't get that perfect swing out of a needle or a bottle. I will always treasure that perfect swing with no junk in it. It has to be seen regularly to be believed. Nothing tarnishes the glory of that swing and you may quote me on that.


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