June 04, 2008
The Barry Bonds Job Watch question has always been a simple one: Should your team consider signing the most controversial man in sports?
Sadly, in light of David Ortiz's wrist injury, many Red Sox blogs jumped the gun without the Stew even asking first. (Yes, you now need my permission to write anything Bonds-related.)
Anyway, to present a different take, I requested that Camp Tiger Claw, one of the impresarios at the always entertaining Walkoff Walk and a noted Red Sox fan, weigh in with something different from the usual paint by numbers argument.
Here's what he came up with:
When the news about the extent of David Ortiz's wrist injury came across the wire, it wasn't hard to imagine him missing significantly more time than the projected one month.
A quick glance over the roster and at the minors doesn't turn up anyone capable of filling the designated hitter role for an entire season. If the news about Papi does trend towards the worst — out for the season? — then the Red Sox become one of those teams that HAS to entertain the idea of signing Barry Bonds.
Now, originally this was going to be a column about all the reasons they should bring him on board. However, the idea was already floated on numerous sites on Tuesday afternoon.
This is a slightly different column for two reasons:
1) I have no interest in reiterating points made by other writers.
2) I also — and more importantly — have no interest in reading anymore of the puritanical nonsense that commenters on yesterday's articles and readers of the "Barry Bonds Job Watch" have been using to explain why they don't want Barry Bonds on their team.
Not surprisingly, Eric Wilbur's Boston.com blog on the topic seemed to elicit the most reaction of all the Bonds speculation yesterday and we will use it to limit our sample size.
Also not surprisingly, nearly every anti-Barry screed was animal crackerz (a.k.a. bananas).
(The following are actual arguments from Boston.com readers ... all spelling errors are SIC.)
The day Barry Bonds dons a Red Sox jersey and steps to the plate is the day the Tampa Bay Rays have their newest fan — and the Red Sox one fewer. I'm sure I wouldn't be alone, either.
It's utterly preposterous. Just the thought of it makes me want to puke.
That'll show em! The organization will never, ever recover from you leaving the fold. And, hey buddy, when you hurl, try not to hit that gorgeous new Jacoby Ellsbury afghan your wife just knitted, will ya?
NO. NO. NO. NO. It is the equivilent of selling your sole to the devil. Win at at all costs, but not that far. Don't do it Theo. Please don't do it.
You can't sell that sole to the devil! What am I going to cook for dinner? Contradicting yourself in a single sentence is an impressive skill, but it doesn't put food on the table.
Your stories suck ... I'm sorry, what I meant to say is you and your stories really suck.
1. Barry says he would never play for the Red Sox because the Red Sox organization and the city of Boston is prejiduce.
2. You are an idiot who will say anything just so people pay attention to you.
3. Boy, I really hate your stories.
4. Even if he hit home runs in every at bat, I would not want a A**H** like him playing for us.
I agree. Negativity is for sucky jerks. And remember this kid? He was a jerk, too.
No, absolutely not. Please keep Barry Bonds as far away from baseball as possible, and even farther away from the Red Sox.
If you sign Barry, you might as well take a shotgun and kill the season dead.
This one is the most typical. The specter of Barry as "boogeyman" looms so large for the casual baseball fan that just having him near your team is tantamount to throwing away the season. Not for any concrete reason, mind you. Just because he's Barry.
I'm certainly not the first writer to ever suggest that he's a convenient scapegoat. That he's a receptacle for a bunch of lopsided anger towards baseball that really could be spread evenly amongst even — gasp! — your favorite player.
But to see it play out in the lightly moderated comment box of your hometown newspaper is to bring it back into sharp focus. My team might need a strong left-handed bat, not your preaching as the lineup crashes before my eyes.
Luckily, one of the more rational Boston.com readers asked yesterday, "Hey New England, how'd Randy Moss work out for you?"
To a Red Sox fan with even a cursory knowledge of how the organization is run, the irony here is not lost. Theo Epstein runs a culture of numbers and Boston is less likely than any team in baseball to be swayed by arguments of attitude over aptitude; of "feelings" over stats.
To believe otherwise is to rebuke the success this organization has had over the past five years. That's exactly what any "fan" is doing by dismissing a Bonds signing as out of hand.