Walk Away?

I think I would have to really consider not watching a single game that Bonds plays in a Red Sox uniform, thus completely ignoring the idea that the Red Sox would stoop to such an insulting level.

– commenter Brad

it’s a great study in human behavior, and how one’s standards can be greatly altered by desperation…i’m amazed that any sox fans, who take pride in their team’s clean image, even regulars here, who have professed past disdain for bonds, would even consider adding him to this team

– commenter dc

These comments, from the previous thread at this site, are worth a separate discussion.  It’s one thing to object to a Bonds signing. That is certainly within the right of any fan. And it’s within the right of any fan to forsake one’s allegiance over such a signing. That’s always the fan’s right, to root or not root. But it is another thing to walk away from a team that has been your love for years over such a signing. How many chumps have we all rooted for over the years for either of our teams? Did we SFs stop rooting for the Sox when they signed Jose Canseco? Did we stop rooting for Wade Boggs when the Margo Adams brouhaha dropped, a distasteful affair that highlighted the egotism of a morally retrograde Hall of Fame hitter? Have Yankee fans stopped rooting for their team because they employed Gary Sheffield and still employ Jason Giambi, known cheaters? If the Sox sign Bonds I won’t be all that happy – I very much dislike him as a character and feel like the distraction won’t be great for us fans and this site in particular (we’ll end up in circular firing squads about the signing, and instead of talking about real baseball issues YFSF will surely become a "nyaah nyaah nyaah" debate between our "I told you our teams are all the same" Yankee fans and "hoist by their own petard" Sox fans), but why should it keep me from rooting for the Sox as a team? Why should I disavow my decades of allegiance just because the Sox sign a good ballplayer and (probably) a very bad guy?

I think we should all consider how many reprobates we have rooted for as fans, in any sports league – not just the Majors – before making what I find to be overly dramatic claims of disavowal.

21 comments… add one
  • I just want to protect frequent commenter Dio (we SFs have to look out for each other, right?!) from making himself look bad in case he decides the Sox just have to have Barry – here is a comment from Nick’s “like/dislike” thread last year:
    Players I Hate:
    Oddly, none of the top 3 are Yankees…
    1. Barry Bonds – Screw you, Barry. Screw you. Not only is he a cheater who stole a record from a great man, but is just a horrible person too. Terrible for baseball. The anti-Ortiz.
    2. Canseco – Again.
    Posted by: Dionysus | Thursday, August 09, 2007 at 02:55 PM

    SF June 3, 2008, 2:37 pm
  • “He is the anti-Ortiz”. Funny, considering he’d be replacing him if this move were to be made.

    Atheose June 3, 2008, 2:41 pm
  • We need to draw a distinction here, I have made it clear how much I don’t like Barry in the past and I didn’t change my mind today, I still say pass.
    If they did do such an awful thing to us, I’m not turning my back on 30 years of being fan because of one d-bag on the team.
    I would still root for the Red Sox, but would just be really pissed at the front office, an emotion that’s actually pretty familiar to a lot of us.

    LocklandSF June 3, 2008, 2:42 pm
  • I would still root for the Red Sox, but would just be really pissed at the front office, an emotion that’s actually pretty familiar to a lot of us
    I know that prior Sox front offices did way worse things than a speculative Bonds signing. When the Fisk fiasco went down that was a real crime against the fans, far more than signing a player who might help the team. Surely there was greater justification in ditching a team over something like the Fisk (and Lynn and Burleson) BS, whereby a front office effectively says “screw you, fans” than a case where a front office signs someone at a cost in order to (hypothetically) improve a team. How can signing a player that might help be a reason to disavow one’s team? Isn’t it far worse when a front office does the opposite, does nothing to show the fans that they are willing to spend money to improve?
    I rejected the Boston Bruins for that exact last reason – their ownership doesn’t care about winning. If the Sox sign Bonds (or if they don’t, even) there should be no reason to doubt that this front office cares about putting a winning product on the field. Isn’t this the way it should be?
    And I understand the principles behind this, I sure do. I prefer that the Sox let the kids do their thing, stay away from Barry for the time being and all the crap that comes with him. But if it seems like Bonds is an option, why should that be the thing that destroys my relationship with the Red Sox?

    SF June 3, 2008, 2:49 pm
  • I just love the “holier-than-thou” attitude of a lot of the Boston fans I know about PED. To go ahead and think that no one is a Sox uniform has ever taken anything is ludicrious. I’m not saying you guys per se, but to give up on your team completely because they signed Bonds seems crazy. What if they sign him and win the World Series? What if he gets a few big hits getting there in the playoffs? Would those who feel that way then not celebrate the ring? I think not…get real. No offense SF’s but I pray for the day one of the Boston “clubhouse” guys gets pinched and squeals like McNamee did.

    krueg June 3, 2008, 3:06 pm
  • I hate that we’re describing anyone on this site as “morally retrograde.” I’m not sure how dragging Gary Sheffield and Jason Giambi into what is already a non-issue. (Likelihood of a bonds signing, to me, stands at about 0.0 percent.)
    I think the issue here is that a team makes a covenant with its fans that it will do its best to win and also make an honest effort to put on a product that we can all delude ourselves into believing is “pure.” We watch sports as an escape. To get away from pettiness and the difficulties and unpleasantness of the everyday. If the escape becomes unpleasant, than why bother watching or caring?
    There’s no way to brush the Barry issue under the carpet. As a Yankee fan, I’m having my own reservations about the implications of leaving Yankee Stadium. I’m honestly not sure I’ll be able to look at this team with anything like devotion once they’ve moved into their new home, an ersatz place where the everyday fan is disenchranchised.

    YF June 3, 2008, 3:39 pm
  • I think the Giambi comparison is a fair one. Do Yanks fans stop cheering when he comes to the plate because he is a known ex-steroid user? Of course not. So why would Sox fans be hypocrites if we cheered Bonds in a Boston uniform?
    I agree that the chances of this are close to zero. There’s every indication that players like Frank Thomas or Matt Holiday may be available in a pinch if Ortiz is out for the season.

    rootbeerfloat June 3, 2008, 3:47 pm
  • “Do Yanks fans stop cheering when he comes to the plate because he is a known ex-steroid user? Of course not. So why would Sox fans be hypocrites if we cheered Bonds in a Boston uniform?”
    The difference, at least to me, is that PED use in a very tiny part of my dislike for Bonds. The guy is just an awful person, PED use or not.

    LocklandSF June 3, 2008, 3:56 pm
  • YF:
    I am not “dragging” those guys into this. Their presence on the Yankees has been/was an easy target for Sox fans, and dangerous ones, considering the discussions about Bonds. I for one have thought that Sox fans should be very careful about attacking the Yankees for having these guys on their team, considering the history of the game these last couple of decades. That was my point, not to attack them or sully them by association – I have only stated a fact about their history for establishing the context by which Sox fans might deal with a Bonds signing. It was a point made as caution to SFs, nobody else, I apologize if it wasn’t clear.
    The key in your statement is when you say we all basically want to “delude ourselves into believing [the game] is ‘pure'”, which is my main point. It’s a delusion, this idea that one’s team is without violators, whether of social mores or of league rules. I find it strange that a Bonds signing would be the thing that pushed people over the edge, when in the end the intent would be to improve the team. Oftentimes you attack me for being a “prude”, I find it ironic that here you are criticizing me for being blunt and writing without naivete.
    Lastly, your point about Yankee Stadium sounds noble (and to an extent I agree with your general sentiment), but knowing you as I do I hardly believe that your interest in the team will flag or that you will hold the new ballpark against the team – you love the Yankees too much and they are a part of you, inextricably.
    p.s. I would have said the last comment to myself regarding the Boston Bruins way back when, but at the time I was 20 years old and truly a sophomore. At almost 40 years old we don’t have the excuse of being naive about these types of things.

    SF June 3, 2008, 4:00 pm
  • To bring up Krueg’s “Holier-than-thou” attitude about Sox Fans… I’ve said several times that I suspect several players of using PED’s. Right before the Mitchell Report came out there was a thread where everyone tried to guess what players would be named. I think I guessed Varitek, Damon, Millar, and Trot. None of us Red Sox fans are disillusioned about PED’s, and I think in general we realize that, by sheer statistics, some of the members of the team from the past few years used steroids.

    Atheose June 3, 2008, 4:05 pm
  • rootbeerfloat: I think the Giambi comparison is a fair one. Do Yanks fans stop cheering when he comes to the plate because he is a known ex-steroid user? Of course not. So why would Sox fans be hypocrites if we cheered Bonds in a Boston uniform?
    I think there’s an important distinction here. Giambi, and Pettitte for that matter, have admitted – to varying degrees – that they screwed up in regards to drug use. Bonds, however, continues to deny any wrongdoing.
    In the end, it’s a non-issue. No one will sign Bonds…he’s Kryptonite.

    nettles June 3, 2008, 4:09 pm
  • Lockland – How is Bonds such a bad person?

    rootbeerfloat June 3, 2008, 4:10 pm
  • I agree with the above comment, this is a non-issue, it won’t happen. Bonds himself has expressed a dislike for Boston. Also, it would infringe upon team chemistry, I bet anything that strong club-house guys would object to the signing.

    michael June 3, 2008, 4:15 pm
  • SF: I’m attacking (and maybe attack is too strong a word) the framing, not the issue itself. First of all, let me point out that even raising Giambi/Sheff makes this a Yanks vs Sox issue when it isn’t. The Sox have their own PED issues, at least according to the Mitchell report. But in any case, now that we’re at this ugly place already, Yank fans had already come to know Giambi/Sheff/Pettitte before the PED issue really hit. There’s a big difference between hiring a guy, then finding out he’s dirty and hiring a guy KNOWING that he’s dirty. Now you can argue that we (the fans, the organization) only didn’t know these guys were dirty only so far as they were willing to stick their heads into the sand, but my point is that WE WATCH BASEBALL IN ORDER TO STICK OUR HEADS IN THE SAND. The real crime rests with the institutions that allowed things to get so bad that this is no longer possible. Because that’s when revulsion sets in, and fans will start to tune out.

    YF June 3, 2008, 4:24 pm
  • RBF, I just don’t like him, I’ve never read anything about the guy even remotely positive. I could go just off his quotes alone, but the list is very long.

    LocklandSF June 3, 2008, 4:27 pm
  • Fair enough, YF, though I am not sure I entirely agree with you.
    The idea that we lovingly watch baseball as pure escape strikes me as a bit lala. We all watch baseball for different reasons. If anything, at least to me, we watch baseball with a tacit acknowledgment that we are not supposed to judge those who play (since many of them for whom we root are certain to be scoundrels), we are simply just to watch. Maybe we are saying the same thing, I am not clear on this…

    SF June 3, 2008, 4:32 pm
  • New from Carroll:
    “Everyone I spoke with was stunned when the wrist injury to Ortiz went from “mild annoyance” to “possible season-ender.” The images that showed a “significant tear” caught everyone–especially the Red Sox–by surprise. As I said yesterday, everyone I spoke to seemed to think this was minor and would be a couple games. Instead, the sprain is going to cost Ortiz at least a month of the season, and could be far worse than that. The invocation of Nomar Garciaparra made originally by Tony Massarotti of the Boston Herald, who broke the story Monday night, caused wailing from Red Sox Nation (no doubt Bill Simmons covered his ears with his Celtics jersey). The team will wait for a month to see if rest alone is enough to heal the left wrist. There are reports that it’s the tendon sheath rather than a ligament (via NESN), so there’s still more to be sorted out here. If it is the sheath, it covers the extensor, the tendon that helps the wrist move “down” as if swinging a hammer, or medially (towards the body in anatomical position, though this can be confusing, since in anatomical position the palms face upwards). Take a quick “swing” and you’ll see that this is precisely the kind of motion made on every swing of the bat. If there’s any consolation, it’s that Ortiz injured his “top hand” and that he’s overcome wrist problems before (Ortiz broke his hamate in his right wrist during his Twins tenure). Even in the best case, Ortiz will miss a month and lose some power once he is back. For the Sox, they do have some interleague games coming up and could help Manny Ramirez’s knees by shifting him to DH in the interim.”

    A YF June 3, 2008, 4:35 pm
  • I clearly need to state that no matter who they sign, I’ll still be a lifelong fan of the Boston Red Sox, but on the same note, I will lose an incredible amount of admiration for this year’s team if they were to do this. I don’t think, in my heart, that I could sit on my couch and root for Barry Bonds. Just as I could not bring myself to do it for Conseco. Will it stop me from being a fan? Of course not. Will it stop me from really caring about this year in general? Probably not.
    Will it stop me from hoping that Barry has the worst six months of his career even if it is in the Red Sox uniform? Absolutely not.
    Besides, he’d never play in the racist Boston anyhow, right? Didn’t he say that about the town a few years back?

    Brad June 3, 2008, 5:16 pm
  • dead on brad. i’m surprised it took this long for it to come up.
    Bonds shook his head and said, “Boston is too racist for me. I couldn’t play there. That’s been going on ever since my dad (Bobby) was playing baseball. I can’t play like that. That’s not for me, brother.”
    bonds and GMJr have been outspoken about their greater understanding of the racial climate in boston. both can stay away. both can bask in the wonderful glow of racial equality that only exists in san francisco and orange county.

    sf rod June 3, 2008, 6:55 pm
  • A friend just pointed out: Ortiz is out of the Babe Ruth contest now. Question is: Who do they replace him with? A Yankee? Giambi? Matsui? Someone else? Pujols? Howard? I still can't see A-Rod doing it now (though if they had asked him first).

    A YF June 3, 2008, 7:18 pm
  • I’d pick A-Rod. It’s Yankee Stadium, and someday he will surpass Barry Bonds in homers (without cheating).
    If not him, how about Manny? Or Ken Griffey?

    Ron Newman June 4, 2008, 12:07 am

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