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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Sportztyme!: Bonds on Bonds

Uncle Buster sounds off on ESPN's new Barry Bonds "reality" show.

First off, a couple of disclaimers.

I think Barry Bonds is guilty as hell, and a cheat of major league proportions. I hope he never hits another home run, and I don’t consider him in the same category as either Babe Ruth or Hank Aaron.

I also think it’s irresponsible and interest conflicting of ESPN to even carry this kind of program. They like to bill themselves as a sports journalism giant with their annual Emmy-winning SportsCenter, and yet they succumb to this kind of drivel just because Bonds’ name is hot right now. It would be like MSNBC doing a behind the scenes series with Bill Clinton while NBC news is covering his impeachment.

That being said, I tuned in to the series premiere of Bonds On Bonds, their exclusive personal look at the man in the center of baseball’s ongoing steroids probe. I wasn’t expecting to learn things I didn’t know or even cared about. Such were my low expectations, and this poor excuse for entertainment didn’t even come close to meeting them.

Bonds took turns both vilifying and sanctifying his late father, former Giants great Bobby Bonds. It was tough to tell where the love began and the borderline hate ended. Family relationships can be like that, so I’ll give him a pass. But he said that his father’s tough love, telling him how mediocre and undeserving he was as a young athlete helped to make him stronger. He also spoke of how hurtful and negative coverage from the media helped him in the same way. So to hear him tell it; he owes most of his success to a drunk, abusive father and a less-than adoring press.

I didn’t need to see Barry visiting his father’s grave. Some things should be too personal to share, even for a tell-all expose. It also struck of some disingenuous emotions. One moment, he’s bad-mouthing the man for his vices and temperament (while neatly ignoring his own) and the next he is lamenting how much he wishes his father was still around. Even more creepy when laying on the grass next to his headstone.

His former manager Dusty Baker comments on how Barry is just like a “big ol’ kid”, which explains why he acts like such an infant sometimes. Then, 54 minutes in, he finally breaks down with some tears of questionable authenticity. Barry is broken thinking about all the people who depend on him and have to go through the public scrutiny that he has brought upon himself. He weeps for the people who are innocent in his war of words and deeds.

There are roughly 800 players on major league rosters. Multiply that number times all the athletes that have come through the game in the 19 years that Bonds has played, and a staggering number of major leaguers have had the privilege of being in the show. A small minority of them have been questioned about using steroids and an even smaller number have made the money that Bonds has made.

To watch him cry over their supposed pain lets you know just how much of an idiot Bonds really is. They aren’t complaining when you cash your paycheck, and to current knowledge, they didn’t shove a syringe of human growth hormone and anabolic steroids into your ass, just so you could hit a ball 450 feet instead of 425 feet. So what does that make ESPN for packaging this moron as a suffering figure, and what does that make the rest of us for watching it?

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