With the All-Star game at AT&T Park only two weeks away, the debate over whether or not Barry Bonds belongs on the field for the Midsummer Classic is gaining momentum. People in this town are buying into the all-star hype. There hasnâ€™t been this much baseball-related excitement around here since the 1989 Bay Bridge World Series between the Giants and the Aâ€™s.
As Barry nears the record for career home runs, the local media is pushing for fans to vote for Bonds. But, it doesnâ€™t look good. The voting closes on Thursday and Bonds is currently in fourth place among NL outfielders, trailing Alfonso Soriano of the Chicago Cubs by more than 120,000 votes. It would take a ballot stuffing frenzy of Jeb Bush-like proportions to get Bonds elected now.
So, the question at hand is â€“ should he be selected by the NL's all-star manager (Tony LaRussa) to be on the squad? How can MLB keep the greatest hitter of the last 50 years out of a game being played in his own stadium? Doesnâ€™t Barry deserve to be there based solely on his career stats?
The arguments are strong from both sides. From the oppositionâ€™s point of view, Bonds isnâ€™t having the kind of season that warrants a spot on the team. Cbssportsline.com has him rated as the 10th best right fielder in the National League. He hasnâ€™t fielded well, his batting average is less than spectacular and heâ€™s playing for a last place team. If you also take into account that the guy is strongly disliked by many non-SF fans and part of the whole steroid controversy, it makes sense to keep him off the team.
Bonds supporters are saying that he needs to be an all-star because heâ€™s a baseball legend, regardless of what heâ€™s doing this year. In addition, theyâ€™re asking this question -- who else on the SF Giants deserves to be on the team if not Bonds? Itâ€™s a good point.
Every team has to be represented in the game. Itâ€™s a rule. Even Tampa Bay gets one representative. So, the next question is -- who is more qualified than Bonds to be the Giantsâ€™ lone all-star? Barry Zito surely doesnâ€™t belong there. The only other player worthy enough to merit consideration might be starting pitcher Matt Morris (7-4, 3.38 ERA).
Thereâ€™s little doubt that Bonds is by far the best player on a bad team. Heâ€™s played in 69 of the Giantsâ€™ 75 games and has made some decent defensive plays on occasion; including a great catch up against the wall recently against the Oakland Aâ€™s in interleague play. He also leads the league in intentional walks, which shows that heâ€™s still one of the most feared batters in baseball.
I think the people of San Francisco deserve to see Bonds in the all-star lineup on July 10. Let him enter the game after the third inning and pinch hit. It will be the manâ€™s final moment in the spotlight. With all the controversy and bad karma that surrounds Barry Bonds, heâ€™s still entitled to be there when The City by the Bay is watched by the entire professional baseball world. Itâ€™s just the right thing to do.
Copyright © 2010 Ed Attanasio
Should Barry Bonds Play in the All-Star Game?
Copyright © 2010 Ed Attanasio
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