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One writer who sticks up for Bonds
2006-05-25 16:51
by Bob Timmermann

Brian Murphy writes on's Page 2 about San Francisco Giants fans and why they still like Barry Bonds.

It's an interesting look at a complicated issue.

Jeff Kent won the MVP award in 2000, but Kent didn't get it the way Barry got it. While Barry kept saying he wanted to win a World Series for Giants fans in San Francisco -- "my hometown," as Barry always pointed out -- Kent was the one who ripped the Giants' new home uniforms on Opening Night at Pac Bell, oozing disdain when he uttered his infamous "french vanilla" description of the Giants' cream-colored home gamers. Worse, he dared describe Pac Bell Park as a place with flaws. He pointed out its shortcomings, how it wasn't a hitter's park, how it was still cold … when all any San Franciscan and any Giants fan wanted to hear was how pretty it was and how lucky we were to have it.

See, I told you, this is complicated stuff. It involves the ego of the native Northern Californians, and a regional pride that likes to be fed with compliments. Northern Californians and San Franciscans are proud in a provincial way, sometimes to our own detriment. Kent never got that, or maybe he did get it and he wanted to be the needle in our pride balloon.

As Murphy says repeatedly, it's complicated.

What he doesn't answer is, could Bonds get a sympathetic reaction now in any other city if he played for a different team?

Personally, I don't think so.

A different viewpoint.

2006-05-25 17:18:24
1.   deadteddy8
I think the most important word in that piece is "family". Bonds has always connected the concept of family to his time playing for San Francisco. He's made a point of saying how proud he is to carry on in his godfather's and his father's footsteps as a Giants outfielder. He grew up in the Bay Area. It's not a new phenomenon that fans look past a person's flaws because he or she performs well on the field; Jason Giambi is, by accounts I've read, not as much of an a-hole as Bonds, but, in my opinion, did just as much to hurt the game. Same with Derrick Turnbow, and in both cases, fans look past it, choosing to forgive them. In this case, because that "family" thing has been cranked year after year in the Bay Area, both explicitly and implicitly, it's especially hard to turn off the switch that controls the "Holy crap! That's awesomely amazing! YES!" reaction when we see Bonds do something humans generally can't, even though we know there's a dirtiness to it (to paraphrase Grant from McCoveyChronicles).
To address your question, I think Murphy does a great job of illustrating how Bonds's situation couldn't be more polarizing if he played in a different city. That is, he couldn't be as loved anywhere else.
2006-05-25 17:26:34
2.   Bob Timmermann
Down here in Southern California, it's very, very rare that a local kid ends up playing for the Dodgers and talks about it as a lifelong goal. Some players pay lip service to it (such as Kent has and Nomar Garciaparra to a lesser extent), but the only player I can think of who came to L.A. because it was "home" was Darryl Strawberry and that didn't turn out too well.

Eric Davis only came back to L.A. because he and the Reds hated each other.

The most beloved L.A. players have been guys from other countries (Fernando Valenzuela, Hideo Nomo) or Italian guys from Pennsylvania (Lasorda, Scioscia, Piazza).

I'm not going back to the Koufax/Drysdale years.

I don't think L.A. fans particularly care about a local hero since area ties here aren't all that strong.

2006-05-25 21:19:50
3.   Kayaker7
Most Socal residents are transplants anyway (like me).
2006-05-25 21:24:00
4.   Kayaker7
You gotta love The Onion. The Onion predicted the five bladed razor a year before it happened. (Warning. Strong language. May not be suitable for office reading.)

2006-05-25 21:58:02
5.   capdodger

WE can think what we want about Bonds. WE can be disappointed by his guilt. YOU, on the other hand, don't understand the history, the journey, the ride we've been on. YOU don't remember the 90 losses in 1992, the potential St. Petersburg Giants. YOU weren't there that day when Pacific Bell Park opened, and the Giants had the prettiest park in the land, the House that Barry Built. It's family. WE can talk about our family, judge our family. YOU, on the other hand, are an outsider. You are not family. You are not to judge.


Yes.... There was a man named Elster there that day wasn't there.

2006-05-26 00:00:37
6.   Strike4
2- Willie Crawford and Wes Parker were well loved locals post Koufax. Chuck Tiffany could have been.

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