When watching ESPN's Bonds on Bonds reality show, you are reminded several time that the show is "ESPN Original Entertainment." And as I watched an episode of it, I thought to myself, "Is this entertaining?" Do I want to listen to what Barry Bonds has to say about how he didn't lie to a grand jury? How he didn't start any trouble with Jeff Kent? How he loves his family?
I don't really know. I can say that I didn't find the show to be completely without merit. But is listening to Barry Bonds talk compelling? Is listening to other people talk about Barry Bonds interesting? I'll put it this way, it's better than "Yes, Dear".
The episode I watched started with a sequence Bonds and how he works with two of his non-BALCO trainers. This was shown against the backdrop of the news about Bonds being investigated by a grand jury as well as heavy rain falling in San Francisco. So it's possible the director was showing the actual rain falling as metaphorical rain falling on Bonds as well. Or else I'm just trying to show off some pretentious understanding of filmmaking. I would bet on the latter.
There is also a sequence where Bonds is shown at home in Southern California with his family as the Giants were visiting L.A. for a 3-game series. Bonds is shown as a caring and doting father. Whether that is the case or he is just edited that way is for the viewer to ponder.
Various Dodgers fans are interviewed about their attitude about the Giants and Bonds. Needless to say, the people interviewed did not like the Giants or Bonds. Bonds also gave his opinion on how the rivalry between the Dodgers and Giants is perceived in each city and he thinks that L.A. fans take the rivalry more seriously. This may be because since 1993 Bonds has been receiving abuse from Dodgers fans in the left field pavilions at Dodger Stadium. I've always thought there was plenty of hatred to go around between both teams, but it's likely that the Dodgers draw a rougher crowd now than the Giants since AT&T Park has a much different type of crowd than Candlestick. Los Angeles has now become more of the blue collar crowd park than the fans in San Francisco. Ultimately, if you're looking for keen insights into the Dodgers-Giants rivalry over time, don't watch this show.
Finally, Bonds talks about his fight in the dugout in San Diego with Jeff Kent back in 2002. Bonds claimed to have no troubles with Kent prior to that time. Bonds' account of the event almost appears to be taken verbatim from Henry Schulman's story in the San Francisco Chronicle on June 26, 2002.
"David Bell and Jeff Kent started throwing F-bombs back and forth. Barry stuck up for David Bell. Jeff Kent then started going 'F-- you' to Bonds," according to a fan who provided only his first name, Scott. He was sitting in a small section of field-level seats that are practically inside the Giants' dugout. There is a clear view of the entire dugout from those seats.
Change that quote to the first person and you've pretty much got Bonds's statement on the matter.
At the end, we are given a preview of the next installment of the show, which will be highlighted by a fan throwing a tube of toothpaste (or sports gel, accounts vary) toward Bonds at Chase Field in Phoenix. And you can see Bonds meet players on the Arizona State baseball team. Ooh, compelling viewing....
Overall, what this show really needs is Bonds to hit some home runs. It might provide a bit more drama. A story of a man, hated by seemingly everybody, going after one of baseball's most cherished records. (Personally, I think baseball's most cherished record is F.P. Santangelo's record for most HBPs in a season by a switch-hitter, 25 in 1997.)
The show could be a lot more than it is. But it's pretty much just listening to Barry Bonds talking for 22 minutes or so about how rough he has it. And how he's misunderstood. Somehow, I don't see how that concept can hold up for how many weeks ESPN has this scheduled for.