Leave It In San Francisco, Barry Bonds!
The Pittsburgh Pirates and its' strong fan base of the late 80's and early 90's were a driving and shaping force of Barry Bonds. The "Killer B's" had electric energy that made Three Rivers a hot spot to watch the swashbucklers of turf, albeit astro, put on their afternoon or nightly show - It would be a difficult mission to find a boy in the Pittsburgh area that didn't emulate some portion of Barry Bonds swing during this time. But, like many areas of Bonds career, he decided to look for a different source of energy, thus, landing him in a pool of cash and his father's team. Thanks for the free parking Pittsburgh, but I gotta go!
No person in Pittsburgh should blame Bonds for splitting. It was money the Pirates could not afford and a player the team did not really want. Bonds was just starting to be Bonds back in those days. The move was just one of many to follow in the next decade-and-a-half, but, unlike most, it was not as confusing. The steel city and its' blue-collar people don't want to hear about the money or how many kids you have to feed on it, then or now. How much do you really need? Barry Bonds, enjoy your trip to San Francisco, take the rear-view mirror off the car because we don't want you looking back.
The next chapters of his career were both amazing and dismal. Yes, he was not a nice man with the media, but a lot of high-profile athletes have followed that formula . I always have this argument with the "10 cents for a loaf of bread generation" that their beloved Ted Williams was just as much of a donkey's southern-parts as Bonds was, maybe even more. And players of that day always claim that Bob Gibson would knock your head off if you spoke to him on game-day. He might not have had a 60-inch flatscreen in front of his locker, like Bonds did, but that is all science - Your telling me Babe would have still gone for the Model-T if there was a Diablo right next to it? Give me a break. Money earned, money spent, if it was all nice-guys and dancing for the media, they would have had Liberace broadcasting and Simon Cowell as the Commissioner. Bonds was the newer, scientifically advanced(SEE BALCO), diva-athlete. His relationship with the public and media was nothing more than a throwback of what used to be, before everything went soft-toss.
The amazing was simple. I can still see the reactions of people when he hit number 73, or the reactions of people when he hit 756. As stated before, steroids will get you stronger, perhaps, but they don't swing the bat for you. That is natural talent, something Bonds always had, and something that baseball historians should acknowledge.
However, the steroids will always follow him, and the court drama will be there too. Never more so than in San Francisco, which is why he needs to split, again. Nothing would show more strength, humbleness and growing-up than if he were to return to the club of his beginning and take an honest stab at bringing the energy he helped drain back to Pittsburgh. In San Francisco he would be a side-attraction, other than the west side story'esque turf battle between the A's and Giants ownership, and that is all. The cameras would find him for questions about steroids and Clemens and Manny, not questions about the line-up or the teams future. In Pittsburgh, he would receive all these questions, but he would also have his newly-clipped wings as the "saving grace" of a front office struggling to end a slump longer than a Premanti's line on a Saturday after a Donnie Iris concert. If Bonds wants to start over, Pittsburgh should be his destination. Show your greatness by fixing the past, in baseball terms, not in mistakes made privately that went public.
Who knows, maybe kids in the Pittsburgh area will emulate your swing, once again.