Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Harder to Like Than A-Rod

What a sweet guy. So shy.
I know what you were thinking when you read this title. How, in the world, could anyone be harder to like than Alex Rodriguez? It is just not humanly possible.

Yes it is. Read Game of Shadows by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams about the BALCO steroid users and suppliers and you will be able to answer the question in two words. And the words are ... Barry Bonds. He was such a contemptible jerk he makes A-Rod seem like a prince.

Bonds was a terrific ball player. His dad Bobby wasn't too bad either. Barry took advantage of his dad's fame to get him things, such as the privilege of doing less work than every other player on his little league and college teams, while at the same time resenting him. "What bat did he ever swing for me?" he told a Playboy interviewer in 1993 when he went to the Giants.

In high school the other players would always run out to their positions. Barry would saunter out, fiddling with his glove or sunglasses. "I'd work half as hard as the other kids," he admitted, "and I was better. Why work hard when I had all that ability?"

An attitude like that did not endear him to anyone at Arizona State. "I never saw a teammate care about him," said his coach Jim Brock. "Part of it would be his being rude, inconsiderate, and self-centered. He bragged about the money he had turned down. He demanded and got a whole different set of rules than everyone else.”

The first time the players saw Bonds' new Pontiac Trans Am, it was parked in Brock's parking space. When Bonds and some other players got in trouble for missing curfew he mouthed off at Brock who kicked him off the team. A vote was held to decide if he should be allowed to return. Every player voted No.

Pre-juice Barry Bonds.
When he played for the Pirates he quickly developed a reputation for not running out groundballs, for not signing autographs, and for not being polite to reporters, He seemed to care only about his personal stats. The fans considered him greedy, unpleasant, and a choke artist. After Bonds won his second MVP, the writers voted him MDP, Most Despised Pirate.  

"Why should I buy my grandmother a wheelchair you can drive like a car when she's gonna die anyway?" he told one reporter. 

After Bonds threatened a TV crew in Spring Training the Pirate press secretary tried to smooth things over. "I'll make my own rules," he told him. Bill Virdon tried to calm him down and was told, "Nobody's going tell me what to do." 

Bonds then got in the face of the beloved hero of 1960 which brought Jim Leyland out to intervene. "I've kissed your butt for three years. No one player is going to run this camp," Leyland yelled. Of course Bonds yelled back at him, to which Leyland said, "Don't fuck with me, I'm the manager of this fucking team!" 

"Everybody makes me out to be the bad guy," said Bonds. Then he accused the Pirates of baiting the TV crew to bother him.

In 1990 he hit .167 in the playoffs and drove in just one run. In '91 he batted .148 with no RBIs. In '92 he did better, hitting .261 with a home run. In Game Seven the Pirates were an out away from beating the Braves. Andy Van Slyke, their center fielder, motioned for Bonds, who was playing in left, to move in and to his left. Bonds always called Van Slyke the Great White Hope. He looked at Van Slyke and stayed put, deep and guarding the line. The next batter hit the ball right where Van Slyke had wanted Bonds to be. One might suppose that the Pittsburgh fans were not overly upset when Bonds went to San Francisco.

Before getting him fired, Bonds made Giants manager Dusty Baker's life hell. Players were not allowed to have anyone in the clubhouse. Bonds had three of his own trainers there constantly (one was his steroid provider) even though the Giants could have been in big trouble if he got hurt and was not being handled by their trainers.

Bonds continually denied using steroids even though
his body had morphed into that of a comic book figure.
Bonds insisted on being pampered. He refused to run out routine grounders and wouldn't show up for the team picture. When Baker tried to give him a day off Bonds would throw a tantrum. "Baker is disrespecting a three-time MVP winner," he'd tell the press. Bonds wanted days off – but only when he dictated. 

He was irate when his teammate Jeff Kent won the MVP award. He complained to reporters who told him that he had lost because his manager had told everyone that Kent should win it.

In spite of all the money and attention and pampering Bonds got he still managed to play the race card. He believed Mark McGwire got more attention because he was white. He claimed he was a black man in a white man’s game.

San Francisco fans rooted for Bonds. No one else did.
There may be a small chance that it had something to do with Bond's personality. His handlers advised him to be a bit friendlier to reporters. When one said, "Barry they seem to be pitching around you. Are you getting frustrated by all the walks?" Bonds said, "Can we talk about something besides my fucking walks?"

He had to be paid to sign autographs so when a group of kids came up to him in Spring Training Bonds shooed them away and said, "What the fuck are you doing here? You're supposed to be in school."

I could go on, but I think you are probably getting an idea of just how warm, kind, humble, and considerate Barry Bonds really was. As much as Yankee fans like me hate having A-Rod on our team, it could be worse. We could have Barry Bonds.

1 comment:

Rick Blechta said...

A little known fact that makes Bonds cooler than A-Rod: Bonds' provider of steriods, Victor Conte was once a bass player for Oakland band Tower of Power.

He's still a complete dickhead, but he probably knew what is hip...