Barry Bonds’ devotion to the San Francisco Giants is so touching.
Today, citing concern for his health and the competitiveness of the San Francisco Giants, Bonds opted out of the World Baseball Classic. Here’s what Barry had to say:
The timing is just not right. I have too many other responsibilities, too many things I have to take care of that are important to me. I owe it to the city (of San Francisco), my knee, my team, the fans and my family. I have to put my greatest effort right now into all of that.
On his unintentionally comedic Web site, BarryBonds.com, Bonds was even more eloquent:
After the announcement I received a lot of criticism as well as concern from fans and my family and friends. The obvious objections were about my health and whether or not I would be ready to play. In the end, I decided that I can’t take any chances that might jeopardize my season. I don’t want to give the impression that the WBC is not important. I know this means a lot to showcasing our sport worldwide, and the patriotism of playing for Team USA would have been a great honor. I feel what is best for me, my family, the Giants, and our fans is that I sit the WBC out.
Since when did Barry Bonds care about the Giants? For years, Barry has focused on what’s right for him. He wants to break Hank Aaron’s record (or at least the Babe’s mark). Any benefits to the Giants have always seemed tangential.
But now, Bonds is supposedly concerned about his health AND its impact on the Giants. He has other responsibilities. He has concerns about his health. He can’t risk injury by playing in the World Baseball Classic. But he still has to play during Spring Training. Couldn’t he get injured then?
And there is the first red flag: Bonds cites the weak injury excuse. So then is Bonds really being a team player? Not exactly.
Yesterday, Bonds announced to the world that he refuses to bat second in the Giants lineup. This remark came just a short while after manager Felipe Alou pondered using his feared slugger in the second. At this point in his career, Bonds said, it doesn’t work for him.
Why not, I say. Bonds, with his monster OBP and monster bat, would enjoy a greater level of protection batting second than fourth. Pitchers would have to face him because they wouldn’t be able to pitch around the 2-3-4 guys in the lineup. Bonds would still get his cuts and still get on base. He just wouldn’t get all of the RBIs. No stat-padding for you, Barry.
It’s hard to deny that his batting second would help the team. Just like it’s hard to believe that Barry Bonds is opting out of the WBC over concerns about its potential impact on the Giants’ season.
So as Bonds brushes aside questions about the WBC better than A-Rod ever could, baseball fans will be left wondering about his motivation. Is Bonds concerned with the Olympic-style drug tests or is it something more basic? Barry just doesn’t want to do something that Barry doesn’t want to do. Either way, it’s the same old song and dance from one of the game’s greatest who has never embraced his fans.