BEING BARRY BONDS
On August 13th, at Turner Field, before a Giants - Braves game, I
had a chance to observe Barry Bonds. Here is my interpretation of what it would be like to be the games' most famous
player for one night.
You are Barry Bonds, fresh off hitting your 600th career
homerun. You are king of the baseball universe - and you know it. After getting dressed you head out of the clubhouse down
the tunnel toward the dugout. When you emerge into the dugout everyone notices. You are wearing designer sunglasses, you look
cool - real cool. Cameras click, reporters scurry.
Everybody wants a piece of you, but you keep walking oblivious
to those around you. You've learned to be that way. Heading out to the batting cage, you have a long chat with good friend
Gary Sheffield. Braves hitting coach Terry Pendelton drops by to say "hi" as does Julio Franco.
You notice WBO Welterweight
Champion Veron Forrest has come to the game to see you. He approaches you with a smile beaming from ear to ear. You embrace
him with a hug and talk for a few minutes. Charming and funny, you can be that way - when you want to. Cameras keep clicking,
reporters continue scurrying.
After gracing the above mentioned players and journalists with your presence, you turn
to walk away - a little fly of a reporter pleads, "Barry, do you have quick second?" You casually say "no" and head to the
outfield for warm-ups. These reporters are like panhandlers asking for spare change, you think, and that is exactly how you
treat them. You are, after all, Barry Bonds - king of the baseball universe.
You go about your warm-ups with little interaction with your teammates.
It's time to get prepared for a game. You haven't won 4 MVP's, belted 600 home runs, and set the single season home run
record by being a nice guy. This is business, you are the best, and you want to make sure it stays that way. You are facing
Greg Maddux tonite, your team is in the thick of the Wildcard race, and you are Barry Bonds. The world is watching you.
a Giants 7-2 victory in which you went a ho-hum 1 for 3 with a single and intentional walk, you exit the shower heading toward
your lockers. You do, after all, have two - you are Barry Bonds. There are two Japanese reporters waiting for Shinjo in your
way. You motion for them to move, and they part like the Red Sea. You are not really in the mood to talk, and the reporters
sense it, by staying away. It is your aura they sense - intimidating, yet captivating.
You quickly get dressed in
your designer clothes, and two young female reporters, not yet astute enough to know how you operate, ask for an interview.
You offer a look that perfectly illustrates your answer to their question. They slink away, tails between their legs, a little
less naive, and a bit more cynical.
You quietly exit the clubhouse. The night offers endless possiblities. You are
Barry Bonds, king of the baseball universe - and you know it.
- David Zingler
Bonds' page @ Baseball-Almanac.com
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