Washington Nationals reliever Mike Bacsik was zen about the experience of giving up the record-setting home run to Barry Bonds 11 years ago, reacting somewhere along the lines of “Welp, if this is what my career will be known for, then so be it.” We don’t know if any Giants fans in the wild have bough Bacsik a beer because of the accomplishment, but it’s nice to know that a baseball player — especially a pitcher — had immediate perspective in the moment.
And now here’s the point where the non-Giants fans get to have their fun: yes, Barry Bonds took performance enhancing drugs. Yes, Barry Bonds was a bad person. Yes, the Giants built a baseball stadium around Barry Bonds’ ability to hit home runs and for several years relied on his ability to generate crowds because they sure as heck weren’t going to try to build a competitive franchise in addition to their star.
Barry Bonds was the Giants for a good long while. That sort of legacy doesn’t just wash away over night, and while so many other franchises have never and will never have someone in Barry Bonds’ stratosphere, they should... wait... what was my point? Oh. Those losers can suck it. We got to watch Barry Bonds’ abilities every night and they didn’t.
As Grant wrote in his definitive review of Bonds:
He can’t find work. No one will touch him. Any team in baseball can have him for $390,000. The Phillies win the 2008 World Series, and the other 29 teams should feel dumb for not signing Barry Bonds. The Rays would go on to make something of a strategy out of acquiring sketchy characters with legal problems, but they lost the World Series in the season they declined to have Bonds as their DH.
Your favorite team already has a bad person somewhere on the roster contributing to its success and you’re happy about it because it’s your team. There are no Rays fans, so pretend another team in 2008 — say, the Brewers, who had traded for C.C. Sabathia later that season — had Bonds to come off the bench and play part time. Some people would’ve changed their tune about him.
Anyway, Barry Bonds is not a complicated figure. He hit a lot of home runs and for a good long while, he was the Giants. Also, it’s hard to taint a memory of a home run... because we have video.