Unless you’ve been trapped in a mine for the last week (I was going to reference R. Kelly’s “Trapped in the Closet” here, but thought that would be tasteless)…you know that the San Francisco Giants made IT official.
They no longer want fans to come to 3Com, er, Pac, I mean…AT&T Park.
It seems every third rate baseball blog across the country traded in their ridicule of Rick Ankiel for a “didja hear the one about the Giants NOT bringing back Barry Bonds?!?”
And we heard, rather, READ all about how he “ruined the game” and “needs an asterisk”. We also read about the tool who wanted to send 756 into space. What we DIDN’T read was the fact that even though the Giants have one of the worst records in the Majors (two losses separate them from the basement in the National League), they were one of the BIGGEST DRAWS in Major League Baseball.
Both at home AND on the road!
So, riddle me this…if people HATE Barry Bonds, why do they come out in droves to see the man? I mean, call me crazy, but I have a hunch that fans aren’t flocking to the ballpark to see Ryan Klesko (hooray!) or Lance Niekro (hooray?). Hell…can you NAME five members of the Giants that AREN’T named Barry and/or Bonds?!?
Now, before you tell me “San Francisco is a GREAT city (it is, by the way) and that’s why people go to AT&T”…look at the numbers. PRE-PacBell/AT&T Park, the Giants were lucky to get twenty thousand people to the park every night. Those are Kansas City Royals numbers, folks.
When the Giants moved out of Candlestick…that figure doubled.
Matter of fact, the Giants have surpassed the three million mark in attendance for eight straight seasons! After the Giants made their decision to part with Bonds, Bonds responded…“My understanding as far as business and corporations go is if you bring value to a company, you normally have a job. I believe I brought value to the company.”
Speaking of “bringing value”, it should be noted that when Bonds decided to become a full time home run hitter (alledgedly)…more asses parked themselves into the seats. Yes, you read right…as Bonds’ home run totals increased, so did attendance.
No surprise there, right?
BUT…as his home run totals increased, so did his status as one of the game’s most hated players. If you’re confused by that…I am too. For some reason, the Giants think it is a good idea to cut their ties with their latest meal ticket…and, yes, he WAS their meal ticket. Willie Mays (another Giant great who was ceremoniously ushered out of the Bay) hasn’t suited up for them since 1972. Between the two…no one really holds a candle to the popularity that either of them attained.
More interesting than the team that has let go two players that combined for 1230 (644 for Mays, 586 for Bonds) Giants home runs was General Manager Brian Sabean’s asinine "everybody has to go at some point" comparisons to when Ted Williams left the Red Sox or Ernie Banks left the Cubs.
Memo to Sabean…THEY RETIRED.
Neither Williams or Banks were injured, leading their team in home runs and let go despite bringing fans to the park. It should be noted that Bonds’ OBP (.480 to .351), SLG (.565 to .442) and OPS+ (170 to 104) were MUCH higher than the next best player on the field…Randy Winn. I guess it was nice that the Giants allowed Bonds to get his 756th as a member of their team...something tells me that the gate for the season was GOLDEN (pun intended) due to Bonds’ historic run at Henry Aaron’s record.
The big question…where will Bonds go? That’s a debate for the others out there in the blog-o-sphere to debate. My job is, and will continue to be, to bring up the merits of those that have more than likely been overlooked and maligned by baseball’s Hall of Fame.
Now…is this where I am supposed to give my playoff picks?!?