Thursday, March 27, 2008

A Damn Shame

Word out of San Francisco today is that AT&T Park, the "house that Barry built" as I like to call it, will no longer feature the likeness or record numbers that the greatest player in franchise history achieved while he was a member of the organization.

While I can understand the removal of Bonds' image on the left field wall that signified his pursuit of the all-time home run record, I am quite upset that the team will not be displaying the number 762 inside the ballpark.

762 of course being the number of home runs that Bonds has hit to this point in his career; a career that appears to be over as no team has expressed real interest in the 43-year-old slugger.

Think what you want about Barry, but the fact remains that he is the all-time home run leader and for the one place in the country where he is beloved to basically disavow any connection to him is unfortunate.

In fact, not only do I think they should feature his record number prominently inside the park, but should he sign with another team at some point they should be updating it as he adds to the record total.

It's the least they could do after their shotty handling of his departure from the team, which included a preemptive announcement from owner Peter Magowan that Bonds would not be asked back in 2008.

"We're very respectful, at least I am, appreciative of all the contributions he made to the Giants over all that long period of time, but the time came when we needed to go in a new direction," Magowan told reporters.

A new direction I understand, because on the field the team has more than its fair share of holes to fill. But it's a disgrace in my opinion to not pay tribute to the man that single-handedly changed the fortunes of a franchise that was not all that far away from relocating to Florida prior to his arrival.

How quickly people forget that it was Bonds who energized a half-dead fan base and led the Giants to 103 wins in 1993.

It was Bonds who carried the team to the World Series in 2002.

And it was Bonds whose performance from the time he signed spurred the Giants to the third-most wins in all of baseball from 1993 through 2004.

How quickly they forget.

There is a way however that Magowan and the Giants can rectify this situation and make it clear that they're not simply bowing to Major League Baseball or letting legal concerns take away from just how much Bonds meant to the team and the city of San Francisco.

And that way is to erect a statue of Bonds alongside the one of his godfather Willie Mays, so that every time a person walks into that glorious ballpark they know exactly who it was that put it there.

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