Barry Bonds had his number 25 retired by the San Francisco Giants on Saturday. It was quite a ceremony. Among the highlights:
- Hall of Famer Willie Mays — who, as you probably know, is Bonds’ godfather — used his speech to stump for Bonds being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Mays said, “Give somebody honor that deserves to be in the Hall of Fame . . . I want him to have that honor. On behalf of all of the people in San Francisco and the country, vote this guy in.” Based on the comments that usually come up regarding Bonds on this website, I presume your mileage varies on that.
- It was a pretty star-studded affair beyond just Bonds and Mays. Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichal, Willie McCovey and Gaylord Perry were there too. His former managers Jim Leyland and Dusty Baker were there too. I assume Jim was a bit more cordial to Bonds on Saturday than he was on certain occasions in the past (NSFW language!). So was former Giants outfielder Fred Lewis. For real. The Giants didn’t even invite him. He paid his own way to fly there from Mississippi because he wanted to thank Bonds for taking him under his wing when he was a young player.
- The crowd stood and roared and it got all emotional on several occasions. You’re gonna act like that’s dumb because you hate Barry Bonds, but people in San Francisco don’t. And you don’t hate the PED-associated dudes who played for your team. Don’t pretend otherwise, even if you want to make a case that it’s totally different.
Finally, Bonds took his old place in left field one last time. I wish that Sid Bream was on hand to round third one last time so Bonds could once again float a wounded duck to home, at which point the ghost of Skip Caray would go crazy, but we can’t always get what we want.