Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Greg Doyel loves all-star game, hates Barry Bonds

Blogger won't let me do titles, so, er, that was my title. At any rate this article by Greg Doyel falls into the following categories of "chris w" annoyance:

1.) Bandwagon blahs

2.) Hyperbolic metaphor hacking

3.) Self-important finger wagging.

I think this one is worth going through bit by bit, so as not to miss any juicy stuff.

Chiseling off my fingers, one finger at a time -- one knuckle at a time
-- is an option. Dropping a bowling ball onto my left foot is another option. Impaling my right foot with a lawn dart is yet another possibility. These are some of the things I would do before watching tonight's All-Star Game.

Despite wringing the rock of metaphor so hard he could draw proverbial blood, Doyel's actually got me agreeing with him here. I, being a curmudgeonly, iconoclastic, semi-college-aged smartass, hate the all-star game. I mean, like, don't care to watch it. For instance, Joe Buck and Tim McCarver are the most ignorant, insipid, insidious announcing team in baseball. Berman's pre-game schtick is obnoxious. The intros are always drawn out, the promo tie-ins are pathetic, and in almost all years but 2006, not enough White Sox are involved.

I would rather do all those things Doyel mentioned before watching the ASG. Plus it's got that dead day afterward where there are no sports that I can't bear. So I'm with Doyel here...too bad he didn't end the essay there.

Tonight, Barry Bonds will get love. Tonight, I will get sick. But only if I watch the All-Star Game in San Francisco, where the home crowd will undoubtedly treat Bonds like the loveable guy he is not.

So I won't watch, which gives me yet another reason to loathe Bonds. He was dislikeable for years, well before the steroid era, for his surly, narcissistic, arrogant yet insecure personality. He became more dislikeable for cheating so blatantly that his head grew, his body grew, his power grew and his place among baseball's all-time best grew. He became more dislikeable for the way he has refused to acknowledge his history with performance-enhancing drugs, instead calling the mountain of evidence a "witch hunt."

Besides the bandwagon blahs perpetrated here (der...I hate Barry Bonds. der...He's a mean person. der...Barry is a blight on baseball) let's look at Doyel's logical progression, laid out as such:

Barry Bonds will get love tonight.

I will get sick.

But only if I watch the all-star game.

So I won't watch the all-star game.

There's got to be a better way to say this....And furthermore, how do we know Barry won't get booed? I'm almost positive he will (I won't be watching, as I said earlier in this article, but I'll find out somehow). What's likely to happen is a smattering of cheers with boos. How is that not appropriate? Here's a guy who will be booed in his own home stadium at the all-star game. If you were the kind of person who hates Bonds with a taste for blood, like Doyel, wouldn't that be a cathartic moment rather than a sickening one? I mean, why is Doyel so certain he won't get booed? Did ticket holders have to sign a binding contract not to boo?


Now this. Now he's taken the All-Star Game from me, and for that, I'm

Calm down.

Baseball is the only sport whose All-Star Game matters. The NFL's Pro Bowl is a joke. The NBA's All-Star Game is a slam-dunk competition. Hockey and soccer are pointless. Baseball has always been the one to watch, this exhibition game somehow providing some of the great moments in the sport's history, including Pete Rose's leveling of Ray Fosse in 1970, Reggie Jackson's home run off the Tiger Stadium light tower in 1971 and Bo Jackson's 448-foot leadoff homer into the green tarp of Anaheim Stadium in 1989.

Ok. The pro-bowl is unwatched. Find. The NBA all-star game is pretty low-rent, but people still manage to care. Hockey's may be pointless if you don't watch hockey, but it's up there with baseball as something people care about. The skill challenges might be the best thing going on in any sport. Soccer, I wouldn't know about, as I don't watch MLS (therefore, it's pointless). Even so, if you're swallowing the bullshit that the MLB ASG still matters, you must not have watched it recently. Notice that of the three "momentous" events (which are truly memorable, I'd agree), two happened in the 70's. The third happened almost twenty years ago, and was just a freak display of athletic prowess. I would argue that any number of awesome slam dunk contest jams are as memorable.

But the point is, great ASG moments are a forgotten relic. The last memorable thing to happen at an all-star game is the commissioner deciding it was so irrelevant as a contest that he declared it a tie. A fucking tie. Now, Selig may be a moron, but it says something that the only ASG moments in recent history worth a damn were that and a sentimental moment involving a statistically undeserving but sentimentally deserving Cal Ripken hitting a beach ball sized lob job a half row back. Oh and Sammy Sosa hit a bunch of HR's in the HR derby 5 years ago. But that's the HR derby, not the ASG....and Bonds didn't participate in the HR derby (and by logical extension, didn't make Greg Doyel slightly nauseous.

Even the pregame introductions are cool. One by one, the greatest players in America's greatest game trot onto the field. Sometimes the crowd cheers, sometimes the crowd boos, and half the fun is trying to guess what the reception will be. And then there's that goose-bump moment when the home stadium's All-Star is introduced. That guy, whoever it is, always gets the biggest cheer of the night. That's the way it should be, and even though I know it's coming, I still get tingly every time.

Ok but you left something out--someone always gets booed. In fact, many someones often get booed. Usually it's Bonds and whoever's the representative(s) from the home team's division rivals. Usually after that happens an exaggerated, hyperbolic invective is written about how classless it is to boo at the all-star game, blah blah blah. But I digress. The point is, all Doyel's doing is establishing how devastating a symbolic gesture it will be when home town fans actually do boo Bonds. Because it will happen. Seriously.

I don't want to tingle tonight. I would tinkle, however, all over Bonds if I could. I'd tinkle on Bonds and then the 30,000 or 40,000 hypocritical San Francisco fans who will cheer him tonight, their misguided applause producing a moment that would never give me goose bumps -- but might give me goiter.

Seriously? A tinkle joke? Actually, this is my favorite part of the article.

Honestly, cheering Bonds? That is misguidedly blind devotion, and there are few things less attractive in sports than a fan base's misguidedly blind devotion. For years Yankee Stadium hated Roger Clemens, and rightfully so, until he started taking Boss Steinbrenner's money. So now the mercenary is embraced by the Bronx despite being the same self-centered hunk of rubbish he's always been. A partisan fan base with its biased and even irrational appreciation of all things "us" is cool right up to the point where it is given a clear choice between good and evil and it chooses Bonds evil.

Can you believe how outraged Doyel is about an event that hasn't happened yet, and that almost certainly won't happen in the way he envisions?

And what's this crap about Clemens? He was hated because he was on their division rivals. You really wanted them to boo Clemens when he was helping them win championships? That's insane. Further, the only way this would have anything to do with Bonds is if you were chiding Yankees fans for not booing at Clemens's steroid use. I would totally support that, if Doyel brought Clemens obvious steroids use into this discussion. But of course not--that would remind us that Bonds isn't the only person ever in the history of humanity to use steroids...something antithetical to Doyel's bizarre crusade.

Oh one last thing--in the article, the word Bonds in the last sentence is struck through and replaced by the subsequent "evil." See what he's doing there? Try to keep up, dear reader. Greg Doyel's wit is nimble.

That'll be the choice facing Giants fans tonight. Given this indelible opportunity to tell Bonds that what he stands for, what he has become, will not be tolerated at any ballpark in America, even his own, San Francisco fans will instead issue a chilling demonstration of mindless groupthink by cheering for a player who, if he played anywhere else, would get the biggest boos of the night.

Ok, that's fine. This is the crux of the argument and the only really interesting thing about this situation--the dilemma of being a Giants fan. Does Doyel really think that Giants fans are uniquely disposed to encouraging cheating?

The problem that uniquely faces Giants fans that their best player and face of the franchise is, more and more, year by year, revealed to be a complete scumbag, is a fascinating issue, one Doyel ignores in his haste to generalize, stereotype, and harangue.

And it's not as if Bonds will reciprocate the love. Already given a chance to thank his home fans for saving him the embarrassment of being left out of the All-Star Game in the year it is played (A) at his home park and (B) in the season in which he will become baseball's all-time home run king, Bonds farted in his fans' general direction.

Monty Python! zomg!

He declined an invitation to participate in the Home Run Derby Monday night, and while there were all kinds of reasons for him to do so, there was this unassailable fact that demanded he take part: San Francisco fans rigged the All-Star vote in the final hours to get him into the game in the first place.

So what are you saying? That he had justification not to? Or that he had to? It was nice of his fans to vote him in, and I'm sure they would have liked to see him in the derby, but a lot of players decline to play in the derby because they believe it fucks with their swing or that it might lead to injury which would prevent them from helping their team (and fans) in games that, you know, um, like, matter?

It may be an unpopular move with some fans, but it's not "farting in their general direction" (I can't get over how hilarious people who quote monty python are).

At the urging of the Giants organization, which posted information on the club's official website on how to legally if shamelessly flood the ballot box, San Francisco fans helped Bonds overcome a seemingly insurmountable deficit to the Cubs' Alfonso Soriano to become the National League's third starting outfielder.

Ok--so what is it: Barry hates his fans and never does anything to make them happy. Or that maybe Barry's relationship with the SF fans transcends your narrow view of him as a juiced up monster?

I'm not necessarily saying any of the following things:

a.) Barry Bonds is a good person

b.) All SF fans love Bonds

c.) No SF fans are ignorant sheep.

What I am saying is that when a fan base continues to generally support a man who not only is a known cheater, but also has been crucified in the media for being the world's most self-centered, self-serving, egomaniacal asshole, it might be worthwhile to investigate WHY THIS IS, rather than make inflammatory, posturing, contradictory statements and calling that an article.

If San Francisco fans hadn't pushed Bonds into the starting lineup, National League manager Tony La Russa was no lock to include him as a reserve. Being left out of this All-Star Game, in this city and in this season, would have been the perfect message to send to Bonds. Alas, he will be at the game not only as an All-Star, but as an All-Star starter. San Francisco will cheer. Every other baseball city will cringe.

Once again, a lot of conjecture, not just about whether SF fans will uniformly cheer Bonds, but also whether LaRussa would have left him off. Doyel acts like SF fans saved Barry from not making the team. My guess would be that LaRussa, being a generally knowledgable baseball guy, would have taken one of the best hitters in baseball, whose home team also happened to be hosting the ASG. That's usually how these things happen..don't you think?

Me? I'll be doing something else. Stapling my tongue to my upper lip is one possibility. Removing my ears, frying them in lard and feeding them to my dog is another.
Turning on the television and watching Bonds get unconditional love from 40,000 baseball fans? No way. That would hurt me too much.

Like I said, I also will probably not be watching the ASG. But a lot of people are like Doyel and do watch the ASG.

But you know who the all-star game is really for, especially in this day and age where you CAN see every superstar play whenever you want to (something that, it's hard to remember, wasn't always the case)? It's for fans, especially the kids. What are we supposed to do? Pretend steroids don't exist? Pretend Bonds doesn't exist? Pretend MLB hasn't been looking the other way for years and honoring Bonds with myriad ASG appearances and MVPs?

I don't think so. He's going to hit 756 some time this year and mlb is going to honor him and we're going to gnash our teeth and wring our hands and hate Bud Selig because that's the way it should be. These things have happened, and it's just the way it is and we need to accept that whether Bonds cheated or not (he did), he still did these things. These accomplishments are real, however distorted.

Why should the All-Star game be any different?


Chris said...

Before I comment I need to clarify two things. 1. I have been to an all-star game, and 95% of the people are from the home city. 2. I live in the SF area, and the people who attend Giants games LOVE Bonds. Anyone who is heard booing him at games is usually ridiculed and intimidated by everyone around. Bonds will have overwhelming support tonight. I guarantee it.

Chris W said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris W said...

do you really think he won't get booed at all?

i guess time will tell...

Chris said...

There might be a rogue boo-er (is that a word?) or two, but they will be drowned out by tens of thousands of idiot Giants fans. Maybe they'll show up before the 3rd inning for this game, but probably not...

Jeff said...

Did this guy just say he'd like to play watersports with Bonds?

Did he also say "tinkle". I've read it 10 times to be sure, but it can't be right.

Do internet columnists have editors?

pnoles said...

I would tinkle, however, all over Bonds if I could.


Chris W said...

like i said--that was my favorite part of this awesome ar-tee-clay

Chris W said...

boy do i look stupid now.

even so--it would be a worthwhile column to examine why these fans love barry so much when everyone else hates it.

that's a story i haven't seen written.

"barry bonds is a meanie head" is a story i have seen like umpteen times, however.

Chris said...

You might not even see this, since it's a couple days old. In addition to saying, "I told you so", I wanted to say that I've seen a couple articles about why people in SF love Bonds so much. It basically comes back to him coming so SF at a time when they weren't that great and he got the team playing well enough for them to build a new ballpark. The 02 world series too. Fans there are pretty annoying anyways.