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Thursday, January 16, 2014

RLYW: Abracadabra: Bonds Vanished

Citizen Abra ~ POOF!

Why was Bonds disposable? He was too damn good, and an inconvenience, pursued by the government, convicted in the public eye by obviousness. He was a magician who had been exposed, but wouldn’t leave the stage. And his sorcery seemed strengthened, not diminished, by the cauldron choking everyone else. Bonds, so good, so great. Bonds was so good that nobody would have been surprised to discover Pujols was just a disguise created by Bonds. Yes, there we would be, at the Awards dinner in Manhattan, the commissioner staring incredulous while Bonds tore open the mask, Millhauser style, and proclaimed the runner-up wasn’t real, he just wanted to take a few swings right-handed. But was Bonds real? He was real when he glided around left field like an elegant two-legged tank. That’s what they said, anyway. They said there were two versions of Barry Bonds, the beautiful yet flawed, and then the masterfully damned. We heard stories about Bonds. We pictured conversing with him. His mustache would be thin, his suit would be bright. We’d sit in the empty upper deck at Candlestick Park, and the air would have that electric feel, like before a big rain.  We would try advising him. Keep your numbers clean, Bonds. We want your numbers to be clean. 

One may argue Bonds was owed nothingness, a blank season, a void where walking isn’t counted. This man will be on trial, they shouted. This man will disrupt the team. Yes, said the defense lawyers among the mob, yes, because nobody with legal entanglements has ever participated in a professional sports season? Oh, the other side hated that response, the sarcasm burned. No, their rebuttal followed, no. For it seemed obvious that the grand sorcerer was a special case. They dreamt themselves judges, and their Bonds preferred exiting an exception. How else could this drama be interpreted?

Maybe he watched a playoff series. Maybe he watched Manny Ramirez make another Chicago Cubs season romantic. Maybe he watched Ryan Braun and the Brewers fail to advance. Their failure was bittersweet, because they were a good story. Braun, then, was a good story too. Like Manny. Unlike Bonds. They hadn’t been caught. They didn’t need our counsel in empty upper decks.

Baseball statistics are different. Isn’t that magic? And when is magic ever pure? Just this time, for this game? For our convenience? I said these words without speaking, years ago. I said, Barry Bonds, I’m glad you didn’t get to do what you love. Barry Bonds, even though you were capable, you pierced the illusion. That night in Astoria, I returned to the table with a pitcher of beer, and I said Ryan Braun was a great player. If they thought my words misled, they could check the numbers. Abracadabra.

Repoz Posted: January 16, 2014 at 06:36 AM | 18 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bonds

Reader Comments and Retorts

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 16, 2014 at 08:38 AM (#4640137)
what?
   2. Cooper Nielson Posted: January 16, 2014 at 09:07 AM (#4640144)
My reading comprehension must have taken a serious hit recently.
   3. vivaelpujols Posted: January 16, 2014 at 09:29 AM (#4640159)
glad I'm not the only one.
   4. michaelplank has knowledgeable eyes Posted: January 16, 2014 at 09:29 AM (#4640160)
It's odd (and aggravating) that nearly every argument about PEDs throws a hissy fit about the purity and magic of the statistics, while never or barely mentioning the possible effects on the actual game results (which is messy and complicated).
   5. Jeltzandini Posted: January 16, 2014 at 09:30 AM (#4640161)
Ricky Roma's monologue to James Lingk, deleted scene.
   6. vivaelpujols Posted: January 16, 2014 at 09:35 AM (#4640167)
You know what else is aggravating? PEDS to Bonds' head.
   7. Rennie's Tenet Posted: January 16, 2014 at 09:40 AM (#4640170)
Didn't read the whole thing, but this sounds like the writer was mimicking Bill James's essay about Hal Chase.
   8. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: January 16, 2014 at 10:00 AM (#4640187)
He was a magician who had been exposed, but wouldn’t leave the stage. And his sorcery seemed strengthened, not diminished, by the cauldron choking everyone else... Abracadabra,

Bud Selig is such a fan of magic tricks that he had Barry Bonds permanently encased in ice. Beat that, Blaine!
   9. Ace of Kevin Bass Posted: January 16, 2014 at 10:02 AM (#4640188)
I enjoyed it.
   10. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 16, 2014 at 12:35 PM (#4640347)
It's odd (and aggravating) that nearly every argument about PEDs throws a hissy fit about the purity and magic of the statistics, while never or barely mentioning the possible effects on the actual game results (which is messy and complicated).

I can't speak for anyone else, but the effects on the games are just about all I care about. #### the individual statistics. Roger Maris and Hank Aaron weren't diminished by what Mark McGwire or Barry Bonds did, but there were probably more than a few NL pitchers who were.
   11. fran Posted: January 16, 2014 at 01:58 PM (#4640454)
"Maybe he watched Manny Ramirez make another Chicago Cubs season romantic"

Huh?
   12. Dan Evensen Posted: January 16, 2014 at 02:26 PM (#4640494)
>Doesn't understand the preview
>Reads TFA
>Still confused
>Reads comments
>>How does Kershaw's signing affect what the Yankees bid on Tanaka
>Wat
>>Good piece Matt very artistic
>Rereads TFA
>Still makes no sense

Can somebody explain to me what is going on here? Is this a Piazza joke? Am I on somebody's lawn? Is this even legal? Cookie Monster? Wiki Gonzales?
   13. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: January 16, 2014 at 02:42 PM (#4640512)
Can somebody explain to me what is going on here? Is this a Piazza joke? Am I on somebody's lawn? Is this even legal? Cookie Monster? Wiki Gonzales?

just face it--you're the biggest idiot ever
   14. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: January 16, 2014 at 02:42 PM (#4640513)
I'm sick and tired of guys like Albert Belle writing incomprehensible articles about Barry Bonds.
   15. AROM Posted: January 16, 2014 at 03:27 PM (#4640552)
I figure its a parody of something. Of what, I have no idea.
   16. Jack Keefe Posted: January 16, 2014 at 03:54 PM (#4640573)
Hey Al you know you are all ways telling me I am not the most powerful App on the Phone. Yet here are a bunch of Primmates genuses and lawyers and Proffessors and guess what Al I can understand an Artegall and tehy can Not. Now my old English Teacher Mr. Zuchtmeister used to say Look at the First Parrowgraph of an artcile and then at the Last that is your Thesus and your Conclusion. So here goes Al. At the start of the article he says

An autumn night in Astoria. Years ago, now. An indoor bar beyond a beer garden


So his thesus is HE IS DRUNK. Now what is his Cocclusion Al.

I returned to the table with a pitcher of beer


And so he just KEEPS GETTING DRUNKER. This is the meaning of The Flirting Arcitle Al. You do not need to be some Littery Critic to see it.
   17. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 16, 2014 at 04:13 PM (#4640586)
"Maybe he watched Manny Ramirez make another Chicago Cubs season romantic"

Huh?


Obviously he meant Manny Alexander.
   18. Don Malcolm Posted: January 17, 2014 at 05:40 AM (#4640826)
Fellas, it's a very bad Don DeLillo imitation, just as Jack K. is variable-speed-oscillated Keruoac merged with Mark Twain after several liters of pickle juice. (Am I remembering correctly that back in olden times there was a brand of pickles named Zuchtmeister?)

The writer shoulda said these words without writing, as opposed to "without speaking." Then he could've gone "poof," which in some portions of this embattled nation is an honorable profession.

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