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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Did You Vote for Barry Bonds 37 Times Today?

Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2007 at 4:58 PM

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(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

At this point labeling the 2007 San Francisco Giants as "frustrating" is a bit like calling the siege of Stalingrad "untidy."

This is a team that has, quite literally, found new ways to lose. Benedictine Monks score more than the Giants. To paraphrase the deceased Israeli diplomat Abba Eban, the team "never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity."

Perhaps that's why, for a second consecutive year, the squad has kept the barebones catchphrase "Your S.F. Giants" -- a slogan I first thought must have been the template holding the spot for the real one ("Good God, they hit the 'send' button before they were done!"). As flaccid, uninspired losses pile up, my thoughts turn morbid -- will this team win a World Series in my older relatives' lifetimes?

With this question running on an endless loop in my mind, I was in a less-than-receptive mood for the Giants' latest cloying promotion: An all-out media blitz aimed at enticing fans to vote with the fervency of Chicago corpses to put Barry Bonds into the All-Star starting lineup. If you've been to a game of late, you know about this already; the team plays these ads more often than TBS used to show "Beastmaster."

At this point I should note that I come to praise Bonds, not bury him. Quips about his subpar performance are out-of-date; he's on pace to hit 33 homers and his On-Base-Percentage is back above .500. There may be more deserving players, but it would not be an aberration to have Bonds starting in left field in his home park next month.

You know what else? All the snarky jokes about Bonds' obvious drug use and the sanctimonious moralizing are played out. To deny Bonds used performance-enhancing drugs would be delusional at this point, but too many fans and writers are selectively delusional. Half the league was on steroids. Bonds' ascendancy is baseball's just desserts for making a fortune while turning a blind eye to the situation.

Anyway, the Giants' Get-Out-The-Vote campaign only underscores how hollow the season has become. I've taken an Ivan Drago approach to Bonds' All-Star status: if he makes it, he makes it.

I'm far more concerned with cajoling my older relatives into living healthy lives. The Giants don't look like they'll be contenders any time soon. --Joe Eskenazi.

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Matt Stroud

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