A Letter to Barry Bonds

Dear Barry:

I’ve listened occasionally to sports radio shows over the past few years and have seen you demonized for using steroids to magnify and extend your baseball career. Your supporters point out that no amount of steroids can supply the hand-eye coordination that is needed to break Hank Aaron’s record of 755 home runs. They say you’re a natural and that you’re the best home run hitter that has ever played the game. Your extreme detractors want you kicked out of the game for the use of steroids, despite the fact that such substances have been used by others and God knows for how long.

I know that you haven’t been friendly to the media, at least according to the media. Maybe you’ve been a jerk a times, but that’s no crime. Driving drunk, possessing weapons and beating your wife are crimes and as far as I know, unlike many professional athletes, you’re name doesn’t appear anywhere on that list. One thing for sure; you’re a lightening rod and no one is neutral towards Barry Bonds. I watched the All Star Game last week and saw the admiration of your fans in San Francisco. You were genuinely happy and so were they.

On Thursday, July 19, 2007 I attended the 1:20 p.m. contest at Wrigley Field between the Cubs and the Giants. I have never seen you play and didn’t know if you would be in the lineup. I arrived during the third inning, decked out in my cubs gear, and found out that you had hit a home run in the second inning. According to the guy next to me it was a towering drive that cleared the field and landed way out on Sheffield Avenue! It was your 752nd home run and it was the first home run to clear the right field bleachers this season at the Friendly Confines. And darn it, I had missed it! However, I thought, “At least I can say I saw Bonds play.” You came up for the second time. Realizing that I was watching one of the greatest of all time, I applauded. Although you couldn’t hear them through the boos, a lot of other Cubs fans did as well.

Your final at bat was in the 7th, with two base runners. The cubs were leading by 9 to 5. I remember thinking the most selfish thought to myself, and a stupid thought for a Cubs fan; “Gosh, I’d like to see the guy hit a three run homer! He’s one of the best that has ever played this game. Even if the Cubs lose 3 runs off their 4 run lead, I still want to say that I personally witnessed Barry Bonds hit a home run!” The odds were slim that you would hit number 753 for me. I had blown it by showing up late for the game. After all, with a stiff wind blowing in from center field, hitting two home runs in the same game is difficult at best, even for Barry Bonds.

The pitch came. Bonds took one of his graceful strokes. Launched directly into the wind, the ball just barely cleared the “basket” in center field on top of the the wall of ivy. Home run # 753. Two Bonds home runs in one day at historic “friendly confines” of Wrigley field. Final score: Cubs 9, Giants 8.

Thanks Barry!

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