Barry Bonds’s pursuit of the all-time home run record has replaced Roger Clemens as the most talked about story in Boston.
NESN’s Jerry Remy, in his weekly appearance on sports radio WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan show this morning, was asked if most major league ballplayers sided with David Ortiz, who was supportive of Bonds in recent comments, or Curt Schilling, who was highly critical of Bonds yesterday.
“I would have to say probably Schilling’s,” said Remy. “I agree with what Ortiz says, you can take all the stuff you want in the world and it’s not going to help you hit the baseball, but when you do hit it, it’s going to help you hit it farther.
“On the other hand, I’m having a difficult time with this. I’m not excited by it at all, which is a shame because I love the game of baseball. I love to see records broken, but it’s who it is. “And I guess it’s playing well in San Francisco, but I don’t know if there’s any place else in the country where it is. And I think that’s very sad. And I think he’s brought that all upon himself. Not only with the steroid thing hanging over his head, but the fact that he’s not been a very nice person throughout his major league career and he’s impossible to talk to. I don’t think he’s very popular with players at all.
“It’s just the wrong guy. It’s the wrong guy going through this. I wish I could be more excited about it. Maybe I will when the time comes. I don’t know. But if he hits a home run, I go ‘big deal,’ he’s a little bit closer. That to me is a shame. It’s really too bad. One of the greatest records of all time is going to be broken. And this guy has been one of the game’s great, great players of all time.”
“You think back, prior to all this stuff that’s gone on, this guy was a five-tool player. He could do everything. Great outfielder. Great speed. Great base runner. Great average, home runs, everything, and it’s all tarnished over what’s happened over the last few years.”
After having spent the last week of April in the San Francisco area, this observer can tell you the Barry Bonds home run record chase was hardly making a rumble outside of Giants Neighborhood (hardly a Nation), somewhere near the Cow Hollow area of the city.
The hot story was Critical Mass, a monthly bicycle ride through San Francisco that has brought motorists and cyclists to a head. And of course the red-hot Warriors were all the rage, the big story was that the playoff games were sold out in this not-exactly sports crazed town.
When Bonds hit home run No. 742, one local anchor led his evening sportscast with, “It’s great that we now just focus on the home runs and not all that other stuff.”
The “other stuff” appears to be making a comeback.
“Of course, the Boston Red Sox. They have nothing better to do now that they’ve clinched the AL East, right?” writes Ratto. “David Ortiz opened the bidding on Bonds’s behalf by suggesting that whatever form of Mother’s Little Helper he may or may not have been using could not have helped him that much, because his swing is still That Swing. Ortiz’s remarks were part of a wide-ranging chat in which he also said he might have unwittingly taken steroids himself at one point, in the form of a protein shake he used to drink in the Dominican Republic as a young player. He said he no longer does so for fear they actually might be high-octane smoothies.
“Then Curt Schilling, a conversation magnet whose performance before the congressional committee investigating PEDs two years ago was nearly as absurd as Mark McGwire’s, offered a raging rebuttal in a radio interview.”
“I think we’re in an era now, with Barry, Julio Franco or Roger Clemens, when guys who take care of themselves can play the game for a long time, with all the things we can do in the weight room and all the medical stuff,” Glavine said. “Young guys who come into the game now should take notice of it. If you take care of yourself, you can play this game for a long time.”
“However, I’m confused, is the story Bonds or Schilling?, asks Viera. “It should be Bonds, as he approaches baseball’s most cherished record. A record-breaking event that has the baseball elite looking the other way. Aaron has stated he will not be in attendance, and MLB Commissioner, Bud Selig, is looking to hide. Unless you’ve been devoured by the UFC phenomenon, you know the Bonds story all too well, so it appears that Schilling is the soup-de-jour.
“While I understand why fans may dislike Schilling, as he often speaks his mind for self-promoting reasons, I’m confused as to why some of my media colleagues disdain him,” Viera writes. “On one hand, we hate it when athletes give scripted, canned, boring answers to our redundant questions – then we (or some) bury the athletes who provide their honest opinion and give us interesting material to write. To challenge their opinion is fine, but to attack them personally for providing it…is hypocritical.”
“Barry Bonds is a first-ballot Hall of Famer,” Schilling said in an article in the San Francisco Chronicle in September 2000. “I’d vote for him every day of the week and twice on Sundays, but when he retires, he’s still going to be the biggest ass — who ever lived. Ask his teammates. Ask anyone on their team or in their clubhouse. He is who he is.”
Bonds fired back …
“He has an attitude toward me, and I’m not a Curt Schilling fan,” Bonds said in the Chronicle article. “He’s one of the best power pitchers in baseball. That I will always have respect for. I have no disrespect for the guy, and I don’t really dislike the guy. I’m just not a fan of his, because when you’re supposed to be friends, you’re supposed to be friends regardless of what happens on and off the field.”