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Must-clink link: Barry Bonds, cycling through retirement

Nov 20, 2013, 2:34 PM EDT

Barry Bonds

Gwenn Knapp of Sports on Earth has an excellent profile/catch-you-up with Barry Bonds. What’s up with the Home Run King? Some highlights:

  • Spurred on by his girlfriend, former world champion and Olympic silver medalist cycler Mari Holden, Barry Bonds’ new obsession is cycling. He’s good. Not great, but good. And has taken to it with the same sort of abandon to which he used to take baseball, working out and generalized surliness.
  • But he’s not as surly these days. People who know him describe him as relaxed. He never handled the spotlight well. Now he’s out of it. You get the sense that Bonds, for the first time in a long time, is at peace. Maybe because he is not expected to be the absolute best, either by himself or by others.
  • Because of his obstruction of justice conviction — his very dubious conviction, but conviction all the same — Bonds is barred from owning a firearm. Which was problematic for him as, before cycling, he had become an avid skeet shooter and hunter. There’s a bit in there about Ryan Klesko introducing him to hunting that, I feel like anyway, could have become a sitcom circa 2003.
  • Oh, and there’s a better anecdote in there about him telling Kirk Reuter’s wife how to get pregnant. Which, well. Just read it.

But the more interesting stuff comes after that. Stuff about his playing days and relationships with teammates. Some of it is old, some of it new (at least to me) but all of it looks different now with some years between us and a time when Bonds was the biggest star in the game. And it looks different in light of the stuff Knapp talks about earlier in the piece.

It doesn’t serve as any kind of apology for Bonds, his cheating or his surliness. You don’t come away from it liking Barry Bonds as a result (I think that’d be hard regardless). But you do feel like you understand the guy a little more. Or at least understand why you’ll probably never understand him.  All of which is exactly what a good profile of a famous person should do.

Great piece.

  1. Patrick R. - Nov 20, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    When I was a student at UCLA, I worked in one of the university’s parking garages as a kind of work-study job (a glamorous job, to be sure), and Mr. Bonds came through every so often to work out at UCLA. He was definitely one of the most courteous and affable people to ever come through those clumsy, mechanized parking garage arms.

  2. clydeserra - Nov 20, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    Wasn’t Gwen Knapp one of the reporters live tweeting his trial and getting all the facts wrong?

  3. deathmonkey41 - Nov 20, 2013 at 3:06 PM

    I don’t think he’s cycling anymore- his head doesn’t look as large as it was.

  4. ireportyoudecide - Nov 20, 2013 at 3:49 PM

    Greatest player of the past 30 years, and a perfect example of why the Hall of Fame doesn’t matter anymore.

    • mmeyer3387 - Nov 20, 2013 at 4:13 PM

      I agree, all politics aside, has there been anyone even close to displaying the skills and out of this world stats that he produced?

    • materialman80 - Nov 20, 2013 at 4:51 PM

      The Hall wouldn’t matter if we put a bunch of cheaters in it. I say lets don’t go there.

      • paperlions - Nov 20, 2013 at 5:30 PM

        The place is already chock full of cheaters, including dozens of known PED users. Sure, baseball didn’t have rules against them then….but then, they really didn’t have rules against them in the 1990s either.

      • asimonetti88 - Nov 20, 2013 at 6:08 PM

        Curious what’s worse, Barry Bonds using steroids, or Tom Yawkey refusing to employ minorities while knowingly employing an active child molester?

      • braddavery - Nov 20, 2013 at 7:03 PM

        Curious what’s worse, Tom Yawkey refusing to employ minorities while knowingly employing an active child molester, or Adolf Hitler and the Nazis murdering 6 million+ people?

        (just want to get in on the strawman game)

      • yahmule - Nov 20, 2013 at 7:34 PM

        I say Hitler.

  5. pastabelly - Nov 20, 2013 at 4:10 PM

    I’ll resist a Lance Armstrong joke.

  6. mmeyer3387 - Nov 20, 2013 at 4:10 PM

    While Bonds may be unpopular with some, he is just simply the best hitter that I have ever seen in my life time. I have never seen a hitter so feared that he was walked on a regular bases, with runners in scoring position.

    • crackersnap - Nov 20, 2013 at 7:13 PM

      The insane part was that Bonds was tracking to be one of the top 20 offensive hitters in the history of baseball BEFORE he jumped to PEDs. That alone should have him in the Hall. The PEDs part was simply where you took such a great hitter, and turned him into a video game.

  7. jm91rs - Nov 20, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    Cycling is a great way to stay fit, and I’ve always found it to be a great and peaceful way to be alone. As long as he’s not in any intense competitions he can take certain “meds” without testing. That will help him cycle longer and therefore stay in great shape.

  8. happytwinsfan - Nov 20, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    after he was blacklisted, he offered to play for the twins for the mlb minimum, and he was going to donate that to charity. he just wanted to play and was willing to play for free. really a shame the twins didn’t accept. playing dh in the homer friendly dome, we might have got to see his 800th.

  9. mrlaloosh - Nov 20, 2013 at 4:56 PM

    The absolute GOAT. No one better, period.

  10. yahmule - Nov 20, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    The criteria to be selected as a “must-click link” has never been thinner.

  11. moogro - Nov 20, 2013 at 6:24 PM

    Good thing he can’t own a firearm for obstructing justice. Someone with a history of mental illness, rape or physical assault would have thought he was getting off easy. Oh wait…

  12. eatitfanboy - Nov 20, 2013 at 9:33 PM

    Should fit right in with that gang.

  13. louhudson23 - Nov 21, 2013 at 2:51 AM

    Bum.

  14. pjmarn6 - Nov 21, 2013 at 3:09 AM

    If one knows he is good or great it would be his super ego and mental illness and errors to use PED to make himself better.
    I will take the honest hardworking third string catcher over Bonds every day. That person has perseverance strength of character honesty, desire and work ethic to make the major leagues with his limited abilities.

    Cheating whether on the job, (baseball), wife, friends demonstrates the basic dishonesty of the person. After living 70 years and seeing too much of life, I choose my friends and choose not to applaud, adulate or praise Bonds.
    I believe there was an article about Thomas in which he complained that the PED users prevented him from achieving more recognition. How many pitchers were demoted, demoralized and had their careers affected by the drugged Bonds? How many batters were pushed down the list by Bonds false batting records? How many fans were taken in by this chemical whiz? How many millions of dollars were spent on a lie? How many owners were overenriched by closing their eyes and allowing this type of baseball be played?
    What it really comes down to is that Baseball is no longer America’s Pastime. For the next 19-20 years every player should be forced to give daily urine samples and that includes minor leaguers. As players are not children who have to learn by teaching every player knows “NO DRUGS:!
    Therefore the first and only positive drug test should warrant immediate and permanent banning of the player.

    • pjmarn6 - Nov 21, 2013 at 3:17 AM

      Nixon resigned due to one error Watergate.Completely unnecessary. Had Nixon yelled mea culpa instead of trying to cover it up, there were even odds he would have finished his lame duck presidency
      Armstrong finally admitted the use of drugs and in disgrace.
      The Tortonto mayor is now a figurehead.
      Bonds got away with his lying and illicit use of drugs for a large number of years while he took in millions. Moral decay has now been accepted in America.

      • blabidibla - Nov 21, 2013 at 3:19 PM

        And I thank the great spaghetti monster everyday we have pjmarn6 as our great moral compass to set us on the righteous path.

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