Reclusivity does not merit hostility

    San Francisco Giants outfielder Barry Bonds has won Major League Baseball’s Most Valuable Player six times, more than anyone in the history of baseball. He also won the MVP award three years in a row while no other player had even won it more than three times, period. According to Jim Molony, a writer for MLB.com, “Bonds looks like the clear choice for the honor this year,” which would make it an unprecedented fourth in a row. This man holds the single-season home run record and is on pace to break the career home run record currently held by Hank Aaron. There is no question that Barry Bonds is one of the best offensive players of all time, if not the best, yet he is one of the most hated men in sports since John Rocker.

    Unlike Rocker, Bonds is not racist, sexist or a chauvinistic pig; he simply does not like to be a role model or pretend to be someone he is not. Bonds is not Donovan McNabb or Derek Jeter; he does not do cheesy Campbell’s commercials or public relations moves to get on People’s “50 Most Beautiful People List.” Bonds simply hits balls into orbit and then drives home to stay out of the spotlight. This is not a crime or a weakness; it is only a part of the complex character that is Barry Bonds. Yet fans, reporters and baseball players alike constantly attack him as a disgrace to the game.

    Every year, it seems Sports Illustrated columnist Rick Reilly writes a column bashing Bonds. In between his heart-wrenching columns about an athlete with a heart of gold or a high school football coach who encourages his players to play for the love of the game, Reilly will take time out of his busy schedule to sling mud at Bonds. Less than two months ago, Reilly took a break from his normally cornball tearjerkers and wrote a sarcastically clever piece on Bonds filled with low blows about steroids usage, his defensive play and his arrogance.

    Bonds is despised by many sportswriters in the United States because he often turns down interviews without common politeness or answers questions with a growl. The worst part of this whole conspiracy against Bonds is that writers dispense their opinions to readers who believe what they are told because they have no other means of information. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the power of press at work.

    I have a friend here at UCSD who is a very misinformed man. He has no reason to dislike Bonds; he has never met him and never will. However, he reads Sports Illustrated and he listens to rumors about steroids and juiced balls and is under the impression that Barry Bonds is the worst thing to happen to baseball since Darryl Strawberry did his first white line. This type of naivete is rampant all over the world and especially here at UCSD, where students hate Barry worse than they hate partying.

    Columnists like Reilly dislike Bonds because he doesn’t jump through hoops for reporters so he can have good public relations to garner more endorsements form Nike or Tinactin. He simply doesn’t care what people think about him and this is why reporters hate him. They are used to being sucked up to because of the consequences that someone faces for not submitting to the media circuis. Many players will go out of their way to be nice to reporters so that in return, writers will make them sound intelligent, seem funny and appear to be perfect role models for the children.

    Despite his less-than-bubbly personality, there is no denying that Bonds is showing the greatest offensive prowess of our generation and possibly any generation. Bonds is dominating the baseball world and breaking records as he breaks the bank. He’s no Ty Cobb, Mike Tyson or Rocker, so let’s just let him stay quiet and respect him for what he has done over his incredible 19-year career.

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