The dates are seared into my memory.
April 17, 2001. The day my father and I watched from the Coke bottle as Barry launched #500 into the cove, giving the Giants a 3-2 8th inning lead over the bums from L.A.
October 5, 2001. The day three high school buddies and I cut class to witness history, egregiously overpaid a scalper to get inside (sorry Mom), and were rewarded handsomely with both #71 and #72 (thanks Chan Ho Park!).
August 6, 2007. The day I went berserk for #756 alone in a small Wyoming bar while some drunken rednecks taunted me for loving that loathsome steroids user.
I live in North Carolina now, but I still bleed orange and black. Out here I get asked a lot about the Giants. The Freak, the Beard, the Machine, Cody F*cking Ross – people on the East Coast are curious about our band of misfits.
In recent days, however, I’ve been getting asked a lot about Barry: “How can you defend him? He’s a liar and a cheat.”
To these people, my answer is always the same: “You wouldn’t understand. He’s one of our own.”
In 1993, Barry Bonds—the San Carlos native, Serra high alum, godson to City icon Willie Mays—came home. Through the jaded, post-LeBron lens of professional athletes spurning their hometowns for greener pastures, Barry’s loyalty is striking.
As fans, we stuck it out with Barry for fourteen thrilling, awe-inspiring, heartbreaking years. We formed a bond only a few cities can claim with an athlete—Gretzky & Edmonton, Bird & Boston, Jordan & Chicago, the few who know the privilege of welcoming a truly transcendent athlete into your daily routine.
The education and inspiration Giants fans gleaned from watching Barry play ball turned us into the most knowledgeable and passionate fans in the world. It is thanks to Barry that we have our beautiful stadium; “2nd & King, the House that Barry Built” is the refrain from a certain wise N-Judah operator. And, more likely than not, it is thanks to Barry that a World Series championship banner will unfurl from the rafters this coming season.
So, to San Franciscans, the name of the case says it all. In the “United States of America v. Barry Lamar Bonds” we see persecution rather than prosecution. We see a federal government with more important issues to solve picking on our hometown hero.
And to outsiders, regardless of the outcome of this trial, our answers will never change:
“Did Barry Bonds do steroids?”
“Did he lie about it under oath?”
“Doesn’t that bother you?
No, because Barry is one of our own. He means more to the City than you could possibly understand.