It Was Fun While Lasted?

Over the weekend, Giants owner Pete McGowan announced he would not bring Barry Bonds back for another season in San Francisco. Bonds expressed disappointment with the decision, claiming (with some justification) that the Giants had come to it a while ago, though McGowan claimed otherwise. Bonds is roughy 70 hits from 3,000 and has expressed a desire to play another season. I hope he gets the chance, and for Billy Beane, across town. Why? I don’t have any sympathy for Bonds, but the truth is that baseball’s owners got into bed with him, and they should be forced to stay in that bed until they’ve come up with some kind of honest appraisal of their own culpability in the PED affair, not to mention a truly effective testing policy. The Giants tell us that they’re not renewing Bonds because they want to get younger and build a better team for next season. That’s BS. They can get younger and start to build a new team without jettisoning their best player. The Giants cashed in on Bonds’s talent to build a new stadium, and then kept the registers humming as he set the single-season and career home run marks. Now that he’s passed those milestones, now that there’s no big chase to sell tickets and ads against, they’re ready to cut ties. That’s business. We’re not sold.

33 comments… add one
  • Having Bary on a team you root for is like dating a crack whore.
    The sex is amazing, but not worth the embarassment.

    El September 25, 2007, 10:30 am
  • In cycling, you test positive and you have your title stripped. In baseball, you test positive you get warnings, incremental suspensions, and no effect on the things you “accomplished” while under the influence other than opprobrium – and that is pretty fickle I think.
    I recently heard a debate saying such comparisons are unfair because cycling, like track and field, tests for single events and so you can be stripped of accomplishments in that event, while baseball is a more drawn out affair – and what would you strip? I don’t agree
    I think if baseball were serious, they would strip all stats for the season in which a player tested positive from consideration in record books and any “honors” for that season or career. And this could be retroactive for any player proved to be taking PEDs earlier in his career by evidence uncovered later. Team stats would remain as there is nothing you can really do about that.
    As for Bonds, who never tested positive for anything, we are all stuck with him, not just the owners.

    IronHorse (yf) September 25, 2007, 10:39 am
  • So now the Giants have an obligation to bring back a player whose contract is done, who they’ve paid a TON of money to, for what? For history? For “honor”?
    I see no reason why the Giants should be under any obligation to bring Bonds back, if they don’t want to spend the money and don’t see him as part of their team. Why should the Giants’ ownership bear the cross of all of baseball ownership? I assume the Yankees will be quick to part ways with Jason Giambi when his tenure is up, and though his stint in New York hasn’t been historic (at least not yet, there’s still time), should Steinbrenner have to re-sign Giambi “until they’ve come up with some kind of honest appraisal of their own culpability in the PED affair, not to mention a truly effective testing policy”, to quote your own words? He did hit two huge homers against the Sox in the 2003 postseason, you know. That’s worth something, right?
    This is absurd, YF.

    SF September 25, 2007, 10:45 am
  • I see your point, except he’s a huge defensive liability and while he gets on base is a slow runner. Obviously having him on the team didn’t do them much good this year.
    We already have one of those in Giambi – and they’ve been thinking about getting rid of him for a while (though I do like him).

    batty September 25, 2007, 10:53 am
  • I don’t think they have any obligation to Barry I just don’t exactly understand what they were trying to accomplish by telling him (then he leaked the info), and thus being forced to announce it at an emergency press-conference. They tried not to sign Barry last year and when Carlos Lee took less money to go to Houston, they HAD to resign Bonds.
    I thought they would take the same strategy this year. Now, if they can’t sign any kind of serious bats, they’ll be left with Raja Davis and Dave Roberts.

    walein September 25, 2007, 11:07 am
  • Please, SF. This is the Giants washing their hands of a problem they’ve embraced for a decade. It’s hypocrisy. Call it what it is.

    YF September 25, 2007, 11:22 am
  • I have no desire to defend Barry Bonds nor baseball ownership in general, but this is a player who was on a one year deal at the age of 43, who would turn 44 in his next season and who can no longer play the field very well nor run the bases solidly, whose team simply doesn’t need him.
    Not sure this is the best place to play the “hypocrisy” card, YF, though I don’t doubt the hypocrisy of ownership in general.

    SF September 25, 2007, 11:34 am
  • I don’t udnerstand this post either. So owners, because they were culpable in the PED affair, should be required to keep Bonds around until he has a heart attack on the field and dies or retires of his own volition? That’s the only interpretation I can derive from the “forced to stay in bed with him” line. Who exactly would enforce this bizarre arrangement?
    It’s hard for me to see why the Giants can’t decide to let go a player who essentially is worth 25 home runs a year and little else but is being paid much more than what that value normally receives. Bonds has held down the Giants for the last few years — sucking up resources while providing little value — with a big assist from shoddy management. (We could argue whether the attendance boost from the chase outweighs the millions the Giants are paying for a weak-kneed mediocre left fielder with some pop).
    The Giants may have decided to let Barry go because he’s no longer worth as much to them with the home run record broken, but YF seems to have forgotten that the Giants tried hard to not resign Barry last offseason as well. If they had been slightly competent, they would have already been rid of him. “Hypocrisy” is an easy accusation to sling with little knowledge of the realities behind the scenes. The way I see it, the Giants are finally doing what they should have done two years ago. Better late than never.

    Paul SF September 25, 2007, 11:37 am
  • Barry will make a monster DH, even if he only plays 110 games. Sort of like Frank Thomas “on steroids.” Sure Barry is and will always be a headache, but his bat could do wonders for a team like Minnesota, if they decide to make a run for it while they still have Santana. Or the O’s, with their short RF porch, if they wanted to make a one-year splash.

    Tyrel SF September 25, 2007, 11:53 am
  • I agree with you YF. The Giants are an old team, letting Bonds go is nothing more then them covering their A**. They got everything they could get out of him and now it’s time for him to go. They must figure his situation could only get worse, who knows what findings leak next year. I hate Barry Bonds, don’t get me wrong, but like him or not he is that franchise and he has made them a ton of money, he deserves better.

    John - YF (Trisk) September 25, 2007, 12:07 pm
  • Sosa got a contract. So will BB. I’m calling the A’s.

    Pete September 25, 2007, 12:08 pm
  • “The Giants tell us that they’re not renewing Bonds because they want to get younger and build a better team for next season. That’s BS.”
    BS? Who are we to stand in the way of the Giants wanting to get their average age to 37? Heck, they could even get down to 36 next year!

    FenSheaParkway September 25, 2007, 12:16 pm
  • SF is right on here. The Giants are under no obligation to sign Bonds to some absurd contract that he will demand this off season. He essentially held them hostage this past winter and had them agree to a price that was way higher than I personally think he should have gotten from a pure value added on the field prospective. Granted the Giants didnt lose much if anything. If im understanding this correctly, by YF’s rational, the Giants should be required to give Bonds a contract until he decides on his own to retire since Barry took steroids and they (as one of 30 owners) didnt do enough to stop it?
    Also keep in mind that the Giants have paid Bonds some $170 mil over the years. I think they have paid their due. I cant blame them for wanting to move on.

    Sam-YF September 25, 2007, 12:17 pm
  • “Barry Bonds deserves better”
    I can’t believe these words were written. Honestly. Bonds has made literally hundreds of millions of dollars from the Giants. He’s a player that has barely any place on their roster from a baseball standpoint. What does he deserve from the Giants, exactly? They “owe” him? What do they owe him? Have they not paid him fairly? Have they treated him like sh*t all these years?
    Both player and team have derived benefit from their relationship, but it’s not a perpetual one.

    SF September 25, 2007, 12:23 pm
  • Sure, the Giants are absolutely under no obligation to keep Bonds. However, I do agree with YF that the timing (after the fanfare and record-breaking) does strike me as a little crass. We all figured the Giants were keeping him around for the crowds only, and not because he was good for the team. This just confirms it.

    FenSheaParkway September 25, 2007, 12:26 pm
  • However, I do agree with YF that the timing (after the fanfare and record-breaking) does strike me as a little crass.
    Maybe it was. I don’t think anyone would argue that baseball owners are the embodiment of class and fairness. But that’s not the gist of YF’s post. YF is saying that the Giants should be bringing Bonds back and that the Giants have to do this because they owe him on behalf of all owners and their silly PED policies (or lack thereof). I think that is completely ridiculous.

    SF September 25, 2007, 12:32 pm
  • I thought YF was talking about owners in general, not the Giants owners in particular. And if that is the case, I agree that he deserves better, that he shouldn’t have to go to owners with hat in hand and beg for the opportunity to play. It’s a pretty harsh double standard that Barry is “untouchable” while other players who were just as guilty either got a second chance (Giambi) or never got seriously looked at in the first place (Clemens). Barry’s possibly the best hitter in ML history, and he’s certainly capable of putting up some good numbers as a DH, he shouldn’t be blacklisted simply because he was the best player in a dirty era.

    Tyrel SF September 25, 2007, 12:34 pm
  • I am not saying the Giants need to keep Bonds on their roster for as long as he stays active, what I am saying is he deserves to be treated better. How could they not tell him this prior to his last home game? That’s a bush move. At least let this guy, your franchise, get one last hurrah at the stadium he helped build and keep alive. It’s a poor move, they knew he wasn’t coming back, they should have announced it sooner and treated him better. Regardless of the person he is, regardless of the cheating allegations, he does deserve better, he carried that franchise.

    John - YF (Trisk) September 25, 2007, 12:34 pm
  • “the truth is that baseball’s owners got into bed with him, and they should be forced to stay in that bed until they’ve come up with some kind of honest appraisal of their own culpability in the PED affair”

    Tyrel SF September 25, 2007, 12:35 pm
  • > “a player who essentially is worth 25 home runs a year and little else”
    and here we get to the crux of the issue. this is bullshit. this is the classic, “I don’t like giambi because he clogs up the basepaths” argument. bonds is old, and he doesn’t play every day, and he’s rickety, but he also has THE HIGHEST OPS IN THE NL for a regular player. higher than anyone in mlb but alex. that forgives all kinds of crappy defense in left field.
    the suggestion that the giants have to dump him because they can’t afford his enormous contract is also specious: he hasn’t made a demand yet!
    this charade is entirely disingenuous. sf tried to dump barry when no one was looking to avoid answering all kinds of difficult questions about their own terrible management and the spectacle of continued association with a fallen idol. it’s pretty pathetic, and it’s sad they’re getting a free pass.

    YF September 25, 2007, 1:09 pm
  • I agree with you, Trisk. But your argument is about PR, effectively, while YF’s is not. YF is holding the Giants’ ownership (by way of the generalist “baseball owners”) to a standard that I imagine can’t be reached.
    Bonds’ contract was up. He was reluctantly brought back this year, record and all. He cost $13M. He’s limited, though talented. He’s going to turn 44. He was paid handsomely for his accomplishments and service. His team decides to move on.
    Not sure I see the crime here, unless you consider baseball owners treating a player with some disdain a crime. I call it normalcy.

    SF September 25, 2007, 1:14 pm
  • I find it interesting that while YF laments Barry Bonds’ impending non-signing and the injustice of it all, he was suggesting (back in 2005) that Jason Giambi might think about being a team player and “save the team some cash” through a demotion. Somehow these two scenarios, PED-wise and deference to ownership-wise, don’t compute.

    SF September 25, 2007, 1:44 pm
  • I find it interesting that YF still hasn’t put Yorman Bazardo back on the Tigers where he belongs. :)

    QuoSF September 25, 2007, 1:45 pm
  • What doesn’t compute, exactly? At the time, it looked like Giambi was spent (like many, i was wrong about that). Bonds doesn’t look spent. He looks like one of the better players in the league.
    Nice fishing, though.

    YF September 25, 2007, 2:07 pm
  • You were asking a player suspected of doing PEDs who was under contract to forgive money to ownership, the same ownership you are mandating should retain a player to whom they no longer have contractual obligations as punishment to ownership for transgressions regarding PED policy idiocy and hypocrisy.

    SF September 25, 2007, 2:10 pm
  • It’s not a parallel situation. AT ALL.
    And in any event, I believe my suggestion was that Giambi quit and the remaining cash on his contract be dumped into some educational fund. it’s not in that thread, but feel free to fish that out

    YF September 25, 2007, 2:28 pm
  • I don’t know, YF. You are presenting Ownership as some sort of evil, lying entity, and you are calling BS on their “we can’t afford it” line, and you are obligating that they sign Bonds as some sort of punishment for their PED transgressions. But when Giambi was involved you actually wanted him to quit and give money BACK to ownership.
    In fact, you said this back then:
    “[he could] save the team some cash. Which could be used on someone with a positive VORP.”
    What does that have to do with an education fund? It’s ironic that your post about hypocrisy actually involves a little bit of your own, involving the Yankees.

    SF September 25, 2007, 3:02 pm
  • In fact, you did call for the education fund, but that pre-dated the regular season and the Giambi demotion controversy, and before the reality of roster spots and performance hit home, I imagine. When the team’s record was on the line, you asked for him to give the money back to the team so they could get a better player. Perhaps you should have stuck to your guns.

    SF September 25, 2007, 3:08 pm
  • Gimme a break. Give us all a break.

    YF September 25, 2007, 3:55 pm
  • You made the post, now I have to give you a break? Why? The post is inflammatory as well as filled with questionable logic and some internal contradictions.
    Why should you get a break? You (correctly) don’t give me them when and if I do similar things.

    SF September 25, 2007, 3:59 pm
  • Honestly. I’m busy. I don’t have time to deal with petty arguments about hypocrisy that does not exist. the two situations are not analogous. the giambi case represented an entirely differeny set of facts and circumstances, and even still my words are being cherrypicked and reproduced out of context–nevermind that they’re (what?) 3 years old.
    the issue here is barry bonds and the giants, not jason giambi and the yankees. if you can’t parse out the contextual differences between their cases, or if you prefer to simply construct a case for “hypocrisy” by digging up old comments for the sake of making yourself feel intellectually nimble, that’s up to you.

    YF September 25, 2007, 4:28 pm
  • Whatever. The contexts are just not that different. You made this about PEDs, ownership honesty and obligations, and player respect. There’s plenty in common between the two cases, and your words are your words. There’s a reason we have archives here, so that we can re-read what we have written. I find it interesting to see how views evolve, change, etc. My own have probably done the same thing on occasion, and I am not immune to the same charge I am making here, honestly. I am not that deluded. To be clear, I am not calling you dishonest, you are surely not that, but in this case your views and opinions seem in conflict pretty clearly, at least to me. My opinion. Deal with it. You haven’t explained why you think the cases are different, you’ve only stated that they are. This is tautological and not very illuminating, frankly. You’re “too busy” to explain their difference, but you’re not too busy to write a missive stating that they are different. That’s called dodgeball.

    SF September 25, 2007, 5:13 pm
  • Honestly, I don’t even understand what is at issue here.
    -The Giants try to duck the issue of bringing back their best player, the face of their franchise, and make some bullcrap excuses about finances (which they haven’t discussed with the player, so are not at issue here; there’s been no demand from Bonds) and quality of play (which is bs: he’s their best player, period.) this is a case of the team trying to whitewash what it’s doing, and while no one is looking.
    giambi: here was a player who looked like he was done. my suggestion was that he quit so that he and the team could move on. but the conditions here are entirely different: bonds is not signed ; he is not cooked; he does not have a similar relationship to the team; the conversation has changed considerably since 2005, when his struggles were at issue.

    YF September 25, 2007, 5:58 pm

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