Dave's Sports Views

Analysis, humor and opinion on the sports world

Location: Dallas, Texas, United States

Monday, May 08, 2006

Where has this guy been?

In watching Barry Bonds' press conference following his 713th career home run Sunday night, I began to wonder: Where did Barry Bonds go?

The guy who was peppered by the media in Philadelphia didn't appear to be the same guy who has feuded with reporters, teammates, managers, and fans throughout his major league career.

This guy patiently answered questions ranging from the steroids investigation (he dodged those, but not in a confrontational way) to the impact of potentially passing Babe Ruth to a chat he had with his mother, Pat, which "helped me get my head straight."

At times, Bonds was humorous (asked if he thought of himself as a home run hitter, he said it was hard to avoid when you have 713 home runs) and complimentary (he praised young Phillies hitter Ryan Howard). He also made a strong statement regarding Philadelphia's unforgiving and often abusive fans, saying that many of them had brought their kids to the game, and they'd have to deal with the consequences should their children be so impressionable. (Let's hope Bonds is doing the same thing.)

But while he did get a little testy when reporters tried to slip in steroid questions ("Are we have a baseball discussion or a steroid discussion?"), for the large part, he came across as human and affable. Exhibiting these traits, which Bonds seemingly his misplaced throughout his career, are likely the result of PR advisers trying to help him put on the best face as he approaches Ruth and Hank Aaron. But he showed that he can pull off such an act convincingly. Which leads one to wonder why he couldn't do the same thing in the past.

There's no excusing Bonds' steroid use, and any records he has achieved or will achieve always come with a caveat. But he has to know that maybe the public outcry against him would not be so strong if only he had made some effort to meet people halfway, to show the side of himself that was on display last night. This backlash is something that he brought on himself, in more ways than one.



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