Everything comes bigger in Texas. That includes automotrons, of course. But also egos. Which is why, perhaps, some of us are more forgiving of Barry Bonds than others.
Texas Super Fan Matty McConaughey recently e-mailed the Austin American Statesman in defense of Barry Bonds. His e-mail, subject title "Why Root For Bonds" said:
So every home run he hits, like the mammoth 452-footer he hit in Philadelphia May 7, is a hit, a home run -- for Barry, for baseball. It's a clean pursuit of the record, by maybe the greatest home run hitter ever to play the game.
Whether we admit it or not, we want that. We need it.
We believe in the game of baseball, and although it's somehow easier to root against and boo Mr. Bonds, deep down, we really love to see him succeed.
Look at the fans in Philly as the ball left Bonds' bat. Booing turned to oohing as the ball flew so strongly and longly upward and outward into the depths of the third deck. They stood to witness, and their jeers turned to cheers, as the man, Barry Bonds, who played for the other team, put a mammoth and unanimous steroid-free run on the board.
Maybe the other 712 were the same. Ironically, in a nation whose judicial system says we are all "innocent until proven guilty," we like to think of him as a guilty man who just hit an innocent home run, but that's another story for human nature and socio-psychology.
Whatever. He hit it, and when he hits it that far, we are reminded that the cynics who say he has now "lost" his power are just wrong. Steroids or not, that shot didn't need an extra "roid-assisted 6 feet" to get out of the ballpark. So we all know, and are reminded, 'roids or not, this man has more than the ability, but the talent, to be the greatest home run hitter in baseball history, and I think he is.
So, believe what you want, guilty or not, what the future tells or not, we should, and do, all root for Barry Bonds to break every record in baseball's home run history.
It's even more than what we love about the game; it's what we love about success. We, America, still love to see success. Keep it up. It's why we are who we are.
Just keep livin',
"Steroids? Your upset about steroids?
Get your priorities straight, dude!"
What to make of that? First of all, he's clearly stoned. But beyond that, he's right. I'll be the first to admit that Bonds can be a world class jerk, the spoiled product of a dysfunctional family, fathered by an alcoholic superstar that taught him squat about how to deal with people. I'll also concede that he went too far in his obsession with working out, artificially enhancing his ability to recover from workouts with performance enhancing substances.
But, I offer two other points for thought.
- Steroids don't help you hit a baseball. They help you work out more. Should Bonds have used them? No. Does he regret it? Absolutely. Is it why he's such an amazing talent? Not even close. Steroids help you work out; they don't help you hit a baseball. Would he have broken these records without it? Maybe, maybe not; but he'd have gotten damn close. He's that dedicated, he works that much harder than everyone else, and he's a freaking physical genius.
- The obsession with hating Bonds is borderline ridiculous. It's gotten to the point of hysteria. Deadspin, a site I normally enjoy perusing, has become so Bonds-obsessed that I can barely scroll through it any more. My eyes are literally sore from all the rolling they're having to do. The Bonds hatred is mob mentality at its worst, and though he has himself to blame for a chunk of it, a bigger part of it is just people piling on. It's a shame, too. No one should feel sorry for Barry Bonds, that's for sure. But I feel sorry for all the people that are missing one of the greatest shows on Earth. Get over it. Enjoy the show. Quit the hysterics over steroids. It's. Not. The. End. Of. The Earth.