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Ross Maak: Bonds to take bat, ball and go home

Yes, I’m writing about Barry Bonds again. Yes, I realize this is probably the most overwritten, beaten-to-death subject in sports. However, I’m going to try to offer a twist.

Nowhere in this entire column will you see the words “steroids,” “performance enhancing drugs,” “human growth hormone” or “cheater.” (Except for right there, of course, but that’s it.)

I haven’t kept secret my feelings for Barry Bonds. Or lack thereof, I guess I should say.



But this most recent attitude of his takes the cake.

I always knew there was something about Bonds that rubbed me the wrong way. I never really understood the fact that he needed his three lockers in the clubhouse compared to everyone else’s one.




In never understood how he can come across as “picked on” when someone walks him. (Given the choice I’d rather walk him and win, than pitch to him and lose.)

I never understood how Giants fans could stand by a player who is rude to his fans, his organization, his teammates, his team and, most of all, the game of baseball.

Kevin Costner’s little lecture to Tim Robbins in Bull Durham comes to mind.

“You don’t respect yourself, which is your problem. But you don’t respect the game, and that’s my problem.”

That’s definitely my problem with Bonds.

It came out Monday that Bonds may not send any of his memorabilia to the Hall of Fame after he hits his upcoming, record-breaking home run.

His reasoning?

“I take care of me.”

That’s his answer to the game that’s given him everything and made him who he is today?

I see the other side. Bonds has worked hard to get where he is and I don’t mean to take anything away from that. Everything he has acquired he has earned.

However, there are three parts to this equation, not just one. Besides hard work, fortune and fame ” especially in the world of sports ” comes from the God-given talent you possess and the stage available to strut your stuff.

When it comes to Bonds’ God-given talent, you can’t argue. His abilities are supernatural. His hand-eye coordination is like nothing I’ve ever seen. I could go to the batting cages for eight hours a day for the next 10 years and probably never see the ball as well as he did when he was in high school, let alone how well he must see it at this point in his career.

And then there are the cathedrals in which he gets to perform. Personally, I show up to work in a beautiful town in a beautiful building with a beautiful view.

He shows up in possibly the most beautiful and interesting city in the world and gets millions of dollars to play a game. For that, his answer to a simple request from an organization steeped in tradition is “I take care of me.”

If Bonds was living under a bridge, then did something to come into money, I’d support his attitude. Even if Bonds was a regular Joe making $50,000 a year and suddenly did something to get rich, I’d understand what he’s saying.

But he’s a millionaire numerous times over and will never have to worry about money again in his life ” and has been that way for quite some time. When someone in that position says “I take care of me,” it makes me think of another sports-movie quote (“The Replacements, I think): “Do you have any idea how expensive it is to insure a $7 million Ferrari?”

Awww. Poor Barry.

The story even said he authenticates all of his baseball-related belongings and keeps them in a warehouse. “So people don’t steal my stuff,” he says. He says he has enough “stuff” squirreled away to take care of the next three-plus generations.

This shocks me on so many different levels. He has an entire warehouse full of his “stuff”? He’s figured out how much all that “stuff” is worth? He’s figured out how many generations of his family can live off all the “stuff” he’s accumulated?

Wow.

His greed and arrogance really know no bounds.

Don’t worry, Barry. You’re stuff is safe. You’ve made sure of that.

It’s safe from the fans who love you and the game that’s given you everything.

ooo

To contact Sports Writer Ross Maak, e-mail rossm@theunion.com or call 477-4244.


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