The Reuters global sports blog
When Barry Bonds was playing baseball he seemed to crave attention. He wanted and needed the spotlight to be fixated on him. But like a spoiled child, he did not care if the attention was positive or negative as long as people were talking about him. For Bonds, the negative far outweighed the positive.
Jeff Pearlman, who wrote Love Me, Hate Me: Barry Bonds and the Making of an Antihero, sums Bonds up perfectly as “the undisputed president and CEO of the AMSAPS (Arrogant, Mean-Spirited Athletes in Professional Sports) Movement. Inside clubhouses, he scowled at teammates, reporters and club employees as if they were grime beneath his freshly manicured fingernails. On the field, he ignored 99 percent of fans who called his name, desperate for an autograph, a wave or even a simple nod. He treated his personal staffers like cockroaches and his wives like broken appliances.”
Now that it has been over two years since he has played in a professional game, his tireless work to be the most discussed player is still paying modest dividends, albeit in a twisted and increasingly diminished way.
ESPN the Magazine conducted an anonymous player poll during spring training consisting of 20 ‘hot-button’ issues, including the elimination of the designated hitter and what the reaction in the clubhouse would be to an openly gay team mate. But there was one question — should Barry Bonds be in the National Baseball Hall of Fame? — that will grab most, if not all, of the attention. The answer is inconsequential. It is the name, Barry Bonds, that will generate the discussion.
Reports that Major League Baseball will introduce testing for synthetic Human Growth Hormone (HGH) in its minor leagues next season year prompt disturbing memories of the explosion in power hitting in the 1990s headed by Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds.
This year McGwire admitted he had taken steroids when he broke Roger Maris’s long-standing home run record in 1998.