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.
On Sunday, Blue Jays closer Ken Giles spoke to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star. Giles said, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston.” Giles won a World Series with the Astros last year, but talked about communication issues with the Astros and compared them unfavorably to the Blue Jays. Giles described the communication as having been “lost” and credited the Jays for staying patient with him.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch responded to Giles’ comments on Monday. Per Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, Hinch said:
I think he’s wrong and I’m disappointed that he would go down that path given how much work and time and energy and communication that our front office, our coaching staff, me, we all went through this with him. And I understand, there was some disappointment in his tenure as an Astro because of the turbulent way things went about. We gave him every opportunity, we communicated with him effectively, we have an incredible culture where every single player will tell you it’s one of the best cultures they’ve had, one of the best communication envrionments they’ve had. They all know their roles. They all know their situations. To have one person out of all the guys in our clubhouse come out and claim otherwise is flat wrong.
While Giles certainly could be embellishing or deliberately misconstruing his time there, Hinch’s rebuttal doesn’t actually disqualify anything Giles said. Giles certainly could have had a negative experience in Houston even if everyone else was enjoying the “incredible culture” and “one of the best communication environments.”
Given how the Astros — including Hinch — responded to criticism about their acquiring an accused domestic abuser, they’re not in the best position to boast about an “incredible culture” anyway.
At any rate, this is a he-said, he-said situation. If anything more comes of it, it will be Giles further torching a bridge.