In the tenth inning of a 3-3 game last night at Shea Stadium, Barry Bonds pinch-hit with one out. After an at-bat that has resembled literally thousands over the last decade or so, he trotted off to first, the glib recipient of yet another ho-hum, five-pitch, intentional unintentional walk.
Two batters later, with two outs, Kevin Frandsen roped a liner down the right field line. Bonds jogged, thinking it was foul. As it hit the chalk just beyond where the grass meets the warning track dirt and made a hard right into the stands, Bonds was lazily looking over his right shoulder. With the third base coach hopefully screaming obscenities at him, Bonds turned it up and strolled into third.
Then he smiled.
And that's when it hit me: I love Barry Bonds.
I love the way he wears more gear than the troops in Iraq, even though there are very few pitchers in the National League with enough short-and-curlies on their coin purse to actually plunk him.
I love the way he seems to have a forcefield around him at all times, with a look that suggests he wouldn't piss on his own kids if they were on fire; or, better yet, he would - if they paid him.
I love the way he possesses such a vitriolic hate for the media. Have you seen these clowns? Why the fuck should he talk to them? Have they hit 73 homers in a season? Can they take the one good pitch - think about that; ONE GOOD FUCKING PITCH - they've seen in about three days and move their muscles in such a way that the round, cylindrical object they're holding makes solid, square contact with a round, spherical object that's coming toward them at 94 miles an hour and breaking about six-to-eight inches from roughly fifty-nine feet away? You're goddamn right they can't.
Speaking of the media, I love the way he makes those bland, expressionless quotes and statements (like when he said it doesn't bother him that Hank Aaron won't show up for #756) with that benevolent, detached million-air - even though inside it's got to be like six Bartolo Colons and eight Sidney Ponsons fighting for the last ham sandwich of the clubhouse spread.
I love that he may have taken more performance-enhancers than the Rolling Stones touring the Playboy Mansion - or he may not have. And I love that he hit oodles and oodles of gravity-bending blasts off of pitchers who, most likely, were on something, too.
Most of all, though, I love Barry Bonds because he makes it so easy for me to hate him.
In the movie "Unbreakable," Samuel L. Jackson's character, Mr. Glass, explains about how the villain's head is always larger; Bonds has his ever-burgeoning cranium. Mr. Glass's mother tells how there are brute, thuggish villains who use their strength and might and wily, evil villains who use their brains; you can argue Bonds's case for both sides of that coin.
Mr. Glass lives in an isolated world, surrounded by drawings and fake people, and travels in a car padded with leather; Bonds is famously isolated, surrounded by yes-men, and relaxes in his infamous leather recliner in front of his locker in the clubhouse. Mr. Glass blows up planes and trains and burns down hotels to find the one person who completes him - the person who is his direct opposite; Bonds, on the other hand, blows up everything around him in the hopes of finding someone like himself - a comrade to defend him.
Without having someone to cheer against, you would never know who to cheer for.
So for tonight, Mr. Bonds, you get exactly what you got in the tenth inning - a free pass.