A buddy of mine who is a huge baseball fan claims to be more excited about this baseball season’s Opening Day, which is today, than any previous one. Starting last night, there will be games just about every day for the next seven months, and, he says, people can finally talk about what’s taking place on the field.
Yes, another exciting baseball season is upon us. Will the Yankees manage to outlast the Red Sox and win the division – again? Will the Braves, who don’t look as good as they did last season, somehow manage to shock nobody and win the division – again? And will they then quickly bow out in the playoffs – again? Will the Royals, Pirates, Rockies, Devil Rays and Tigers all fall out of contention in July – again?
So, as great as a summer day at the ballpark can be, and, as tense as September and October baseball always is, the regular season can sometimes drag on.
Fortunately, that’s where Barry Bonds steps in. Like it or not, the Giants’ slugger is going to make this season very interesting.
Now that two authors have evidence that proves what anyone with eyes saw five years ago, everyone is after Bonds. Last week, Commissioner Bud Selig launched an official investigation into the steroids era.
But while everyone looks at the past, what about the present? Today, baseball has a relatively strict steroids policy, and Bonds, who turns 42 in July and has a completely torn-up knee that forced him to miss last season, batted 10-for-21 with four home runs in spring training. How do you explain that? If he slams 450-foot home runs and intimidates pitchers like before, what then? Cynics will say he found something new to take, but even if that’s true, won’t others be taking it, too?
In fact, most people who rip baseball players for taking steroids in the first place don’t bother to examine the situation from a player’s perspective. At the time, a major leaguer could take steroids (which weren’t banned) and become better players, earn more money and become bigger stars. It likely got to the point where a player would have to be foolish not to do steroids.
It’s not hard to imagine a scenario where a player truly felt it was wrong to take steroids, but he did so just to avoid being at a competitive disadvantage.
As for Bonds, whose claims his life is “in shambles,” he chose now, when he couldn’t be hated any more, to start a reality series. With so many ridiculous yet enjoyable shows on television, it’s going to be tough to find the time to watch yet another one. But I’m going to try.
The show, according to the official site, follows Bonds’s “attempt to break milestone records set by Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron.” Whether he will try to break the record for consecutive minutes staring into a camera and spewing complete lies remains to be seen.
Of course, since it is Bonds’s show, he’ll do whatever he wants to make people think what he wants them to think, even though nobody is that stupid. In fact, that’s what made the sight of Bonds trying to dress as Paula Abdul as disappointing as it was funny. Everyone who follows baseball knows that he hates everyone on the team, and everyone on the team hates him, so why bother trying to prove otherwise? I guess an hour of Bonds ordering around batboys and trainers wouldn’t make good television.
Unfortunately, this entire Bonds-centered season hinges on his knee, which could give out at any time. Because without him, there won’t be much to get excited about this season. Unless Kenny Rogers gets close to any cameramen.
Sharad Mattu believes this is the Mets’ years. He can be reached at email@example.com.