Barry Bonds returns to AT&T Park; fans cheer, media grumbles

33 Comments

Barry Bonds just ran out onto the field before the Phillies-Giants game, where he and other past Giants stars threw out the first pitch.  When he appeared: a loud ovation from the crowd.  I looked to the Twitter feed and this is what I see from Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times:

SF Giants make you wonder if they have a clue. Bonds throws out first pitch. You can catch him again in March at his federal perjury trial.

I think the Giants have a perfectly good clue. They’re clued in to the fact that their fans got 15 years of some of the most phenomenal baseball that has ever been played from Barry Bonds. They’re clued in to the fact that, however PED-aided that performance was, the fans still enjoyed it and now remember it fondly. They’re clued in to the fact that hardly any of them give a rat’s kiester about a perjury prosecution that, the longer it drags on, the more it appears to be a persecution. They’re clued in to the fact that even those who disapprove of Bonds for his legal and ethical issues surely can’t be bothered by him throwing out a simple ceremonial first pitch. They’re clued in to the fact that pretending their past stars who have been tainted with PED associations don’t exist is silly, and unlike the Yankees and Cubs, aren’t going to scrub those players from team history. Or at least try to.

Baker is a guy who, though I often disagree with him, certainly never shies from grappling with the big issues in the game. And for that I respect his work. But in this instance, I do wish he’d remember that it is just a game, those big issues notwithstanding.

People enjoyed watching Barry Bonds hit. Who are we to take that away from them? Or even to want to?

Minor League Baseball eclipses 40 million in attendance for 14th consecutive season

Sara D. Davis/Getty Images
4 Comments

Minor League Baseball announced on Wednesday that, for the 14th consecutive season, the league has eclipsed 40 million in total attendance. 20 teams set single-game attendance records and seven teams set franchise records for single-game attendance in their current parks.

ESPN’s Keith Law, who has been covering the minor leagues for quite a while, did the math:

Minor League Baseball president and CEO Pat O’Conner, whose most prominent stint in the public eye involved him disingenuously justifying the underpaying of his players, said, “Minor League Baseball continues to be the best entertainment value in sports, and these numbers support that. For us to top 40 million fans for the 14th consecutive season despite the weather challenges our teams faced in April and May is a testament to the continued support of our loyal fan bases and the creative promotions and hard work done by all of our teams across the country.”

Major and Minor League Baseball are quite happy to make money hand over fist on the backs of their players, but are too cheap to pay them adequately for their labor.