Barry Bonds will have his number retired by the Giants one day. He’ll be on their Wall of Fame, just like he’ll be in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He’ll have a statue close to his godfather’s. It’s a matter of when, not if.
At least some of that when might come soon, as the Giants are making some efforts toward recognizing Bonds. And that’s Barry Bonds, Special Advisor to the CEO, to you.
The Giants announced that Bonds will join the front office with that title, describing his roles thusly:
In his new role, Bonds will represent the organization at various community and organizational events in San Francisco. He will also attend the Giants Spring Training Camp in Scottsdale, Arizona from March 22-28 and will visit the Giants’ minor league teams to work with the organization's young players.
Don’t expect him to punch a clock from 9 to 5, in other words, but expect him to be around more. Kevin Frandsen suggests that Jarrett Parker stands to benefit most from Bonds’ tutelage, and I agree, but I’m also excited about Bonds working with, well, everybody. Ryder Jones. Christian Arroyo. Jeff Samardzija. There’s hitting soda in that brain, and we need to drill, dammit, drill.
There’s more news than that on the Bonds front, though, with Henry Schulman reporting that not only is Bonds likely to get a Wall of Fame induction, but that there’s been talk of retiring his number, even though he’s not in the silly Hall of Fame.
The Wall of Fame? That should have been done years ago. It should be the Barry Bonds Wall of Guys He Lets Be on his Wall of Fame, presented by Barry Bonds. It’s so obvious it hurts. As for the number, though, I’ll be honest: I like the hard-and-fast rule of numbers only being retired for Hall of Famers. It takes a lot of the guesswork out, and it’s easy to say, “Look, Will freaking Clark doesn’t have #22 retired, so either make the Hall of Fame, or make a comeback and try again.”
On the other hand, if you’re going to break the rules for a player, the literal greatest hitter in baseball history would be a good place to start. That would also be a nice hard-and-fast rule. It would be a “You must be this much better than everyone else in history to ride” sign posted right at the front. So I’m in favor.
It’s worth noting that #25 is unofficially retired already. No one has worn it since Bonds was colluded out of the game, and no one will probably wear it until the official ceremony.
As for the statue?
Baer on retiring Bonds number: "It's on the table for coming attractions." No talk of statue yet. #SFGiants don't want to cram all together— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) March 21, 2017
Dunno. A weeklong carnival of Barry Bonds and Barry Bonds-themed events, culminating in a statue, sounds pretty boss to me. But I also see their point. Let’s start with the Wall, move on to the number, hope the dinks in the BBWAA keep the upward trend going, and worry about the statue later. The only thing better than a Bonds statue would be a Bonds statue with Scott Spiezio encased inside, screaming, but we’ll just focus on the regular statue for now.
Do you remember the old days? Here’s what Bonds and the Giants were like nine years ago:
Barry Bonds’s larger-than-life presence with the San Francisco Giants has been essentially replaced by a small plaque in right-center field that marks the record-setting 756th career home run he hit in August.
Except for the plaque, which is difficult to see from many parts of AT&T Park, few symbols remain here of Bonds’s long, and controversial, tenure with the Giants — or of his assault on Hank Aaron’s home run record. Gone is the banner that kept count of Bonds’s home runs, along with an image of Bonds on the wall in left field. Gone, too, is Bonds, the Giants’ longtime left fielder.
It was weird then, and it’s even weirder in retrospect. The good news is that the relationship is officially back on track, and the Giants are closer to honoring Bonds’ legacy properly than ever before.
If the Giants need ideas for the statue, I have ideas. Until then, welcome back, Barry Bonds. It’s been a while.