April 24, 2006
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Bonds on Bonds: An Unprecedented Platform
It's been no secret throughout his career that Bonds has been less than enthusiastic about donating his time to the media, be it for post-game interviews or otherwise. Such an unreceptive attitude has done little to endear him to those who are paid to talk and write about him. And until recently, it seemed like Barry didn't care. But one might guess that the thirteen-time All-Star, seven-time MVP, and single-season homerun king finally reached his breaking point when the very convincing book Game of Shadows was released. Within it's pages, Bonds is shown as a liar and blatant violator of Major League Baseball's performance enhancement policy. The authors contend that their book is entirely factual and, so far, there is little to argue with. The enormous growth in Bonds' hat size, the dramatic increase in homerun power — the evidence seems to be out there, but it has yet to be definitively proven. In this day and age, that doesn't seem to matter. You are judged based on public opinion. If Jack and Larry at the plant think Bonds is a cold, steroid-abuser, then that's what he is. All of this constant, unrelenting attack on Barry Bonds and we've never heard a convincing rebuttal from him. That is, until now.
|It's no fun being Barry Bonds in any city other than San Francisco, where his hometown has forged an undying bond, so to speak, with their hometown hero.|
The show lives up to the hype. Each week, we follow Barry through his most recent games as he takes on and answers his staunchest critics as honestly as he can. It's an incredibly powerful position for someone to be in. Imagine you're a politician running in an election. Every day, the media, your opponents, your party, your critics question your integrity, ability, your every move. Each week, you, as the politician, have an undivided, free, national forum to rebut and clear your name. It's the kind of leverage never before privileged to an athlete and it's addictive because we previously never heard Bonds speak nearly at all. The man has charisma. He certainly has star quality. He's unquestionably gifted as a baseball player (arguably the greatest of all time, according to this writer) while perhaps being the most hated athlete in America. (I heard recently on a radio show that Bonds' Q-Rating — what advertisers use to determine the effectiveness of a celebrity's marketability — was, amongst current athletes, above only that of Latrell Sprewell; he who choked his coach and whined that his inflated NBA salary isn't enough to provide for his family).
|In a medium where there is no purer definition of reality television — sports — we have reached a new level: a tabloid documentary dotted with sincerity, relevance, and eye-popping appeal.|
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