Barry Bonds is not a cuddly figure.
We know that. He’s surly, unapologetic and unlikable. His relationship with the media has never been anything but rocky, and he’s not the most civil athlete in the world, as evidenced by his recently calling Bob Costas “a little midget man who (knows) nothing about baseball.” (although, to Barry’s credit, he has apologized) Not only that, Bonds practically has his own locker room all to himself.
No wonder people bristle at the guy.
Bonds has a temperament befitting an eccentric genius or a brilliant artist. He’s not your regular Joe Schmuck who everybody thinks would be their best buddy, if they were to meet. He’s no lunch-pail carrying, scrappy, hustling everyman who appeals to the fans and the media. He’s not a congenial, effervescently smiling type like Ken Griffey Jr. In fact, Barry seems to have more in common with that other irksome athletic genius, Floyd Mayweather Jr, than he does with his close friend, Griffey.
And that is what hurts Bonds more than anything.
I like Bonds. But I’m a different cat. Many people look at him and see a complete dick, I look at the guy and see Van Gogh. His quirks are interesting to me. His unlikable personality seems genuine, if anything. Bonds doesn’t have to put on airs and be everybody’s golden boy, so he doesn’t. People already have their minds made up on him, so it wouldn’t matter much what he did anyway. His chase to break Hank Aaron’s all-time home run record would easily be the biggest story of the year if Bonds was even remotely likable, but he’s not, and that taints the whole show.
That, and the steroid allegations.
Now rightly or wrongly, Bonds personality fits into that situation as well. If Bonds was as likable as Mark McGwire, the attention for the record chase would be different. Even with the allegations. People can get over just about anything if they like somebody. Give him a smile and a generous, shimmering reputation, and vitriol over those allegations would be reduced significantly. Bonds is not that guy though. Never has been and never will be.
But the steroid issue is crucial.
Will Bonds breaking Aaron’s record be a black mark on baseball?
I will say this, after finding out Bonds’ testimony in the BALCO investigation, his accomplishments of the last several years are definitely questionable. His home run record will be a tainted one. No doubt. Now if the leaker is to be believed, Barry Bonds, in his court testimony, admitted to using a type of rubbing balm and what he thought was flaxseed oil. This sounds like the designer steroid THG, which is found in similar forms known as “the cream” and “the clear.” It’s hard to believe that someone who takes care of their body the way Bonds does, wouldn’t know what they were putting on it, and in it.
It doesn’t make sense that he would do that.
So if the leak is accurate, it’s hard to give Barry the full benefit of the doubt.
Questions will forever linger.
However, Bonds is an easy target. He makes a good villain. Definitely a convenient one. Any steroid use, if true, is made even more egregious when you consider he was already one of the best players ever. And this was well before the alleged use occurred.. However, Bonds isn’t a black mark on baseball. He’s just the most obvious guy to point a finger at.