I'll miss Barry Bonds because I'll miss watching him play. I so, so, so won't miss talking about him, though. Wearing a Giants hat in another part of the country is a conversation-starter, but it's always a stupid conversation. Why do you root for Bonds? How can you root for Bonds? When would you stop rooting for Bonds? My answers, in order: Dunno, Eli Whitney, and I like banana cream pies. There's no sense in explaining it anymore.
But I do root for Bonds. When he hits a home run, I cheer. When he takes a walk to move a runner on first into scoring position, I appreciate just how unappreciated that is, and I cheer. Steroids? Wish he hadn't. It's a pretty distasteful situation. Yet the only reason he's the face of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball is because he's the best player involved, not because he's the player who was helped the most by the drugs. That makes hypocrites out of about 95% of the finger-waggers who continue to cheer their own team. Hate the sport, not the man...or plug your nose and dive in. Enjoy your '98 Series memories, Caminiti-lovers. Keep cuddlin' with that rally monkey, Glaus-apologists. Steroids can land you some sack-time with Madonna and a ring, kids; just ask the '89 A's.
Ah, but there's another reason to hate Bonds; he's almost certainly one of the biggest jerks in the jerk store. I generally ignore that part. All of the anecdotal evidence about autographs or recliners is something for the folks who watch baseball as if it were an extension of the E! channel. There are limits -- I'd never cheer for Rae Carruth or Michael Vick, for example -- but I'll do just fine using on-field results as the reason to cheer.
Then I hear Mike Krukow say Bonds was in street clothes while the Giants were trying to make a ninth-inning comeback. That decision affects the on-field results. That affects the people who drove up from Fresno to say goodbye. There's about a 2% chance that Barry's toe is so messed up, he couldn't risk limping out like Kirk Gibson because that would have jeopardized his chances of limping out like Kirk Gibson tonight. So there's about a 98% chance that Barry is just a total ass. We knew that already, but this is an ass move for the true connoisseurs of the Barry-is-an-ass storyline. It's just too perfect. Maybe I'm being unfair with my made-up percentages. Maybe he's just too emotionally drained to say goodbye on multiple occasions. I doubt it.
I'll still give him a standing ovation tonight. I'll wear my Barry fish shirt. I bought tickets just to watch his last game in San Francisco. And, damn, will I cheer. Maybe that does make me a sheep. I don't know anymore. Occam's razor -- all things being equal, the simplest solution tends to be the right one -- is useless right now. Dang it.
Maybe we'll all miss talking about Barry, too.