Shut up because Bonds is a Man-God

The beginning of the 2002 season still seems unreal. Barry Bonds never hit a left-centerfield homerun in his first at-bat. Never followed with three more, the final shot in the second game against Many Travels Mulholland. And the beginning of last year, his gorgeous arc to the scoreboard at Qualcomm; it feels as if all this splendor is a mythical side plot, like Roy Hobbs' four-homer day in <I>The Natural</I>. And the myth making is starting up again, soon, at Houston.

If you're not giddied up to see how Barry will introduce himself to carpetbagging ex-Yankee pitchers, put on a Dodger-blue shirt and leave in the 7th inning. I don't care if you're dour and lost between Doom and Boston--you still gotta feel the anticipation.

Should Bonds be addressing the BALCO issue with the beat writers of the Chronicle? As Oscar Wilde might have said today: those who can, play; those who can't, write. I'm glad Barry's managed to avoid clichés like "I'm just looking to help the ballclub help me help you, the wonderful fans, ah ha ha ha." Leave cutesy sound bites to idolatrized New York infielders.

No, Big Poppa has always done his proverbial speaking on the field. Can you imagine what he must want to say, to the Astros pitching staff, the blurbs, to every critic who can't hit a 90 mph fastball (Reggie Sanders included)? Unreal possibilities…

In this first series, Barry will have his moment of challenge. The 162-game season won't be his answer. Too many variables of injury and free passes. He'll be responding immediately. And this isn't your 2001 walk-happy Houston club. Bonds will get a chance against Clemens, maybe with nobody on, or when Pettitte gives up a single to Snow with one-out. He'll step into the box and address the steroid allegations, but not "yes or no." Big Poppa will turn the question back on you, asking, "Why do you love and hate baseball so goddamn much that you must see what I do, right now?"

My answer: because there is nothing in the world like watching a person excel under the whipped frenzy of pressure.

Heap together all the chemical equations you like. Steroids do not inject a guy with the moxie to perform better under expectation, to make solid contact in the bottom of the ninth instead of the top of the second. Lucky bats or unwashed socks are nice placebos, but unless they invent brain juice like in "The Simpsons" episode when Ken Griffey Junior's head erupts, Clutch will always be the wispiest of traits. And the hell with last decade's playoff statistics, Barry Bonds is the bizzniddle-bam Clutchest. I'm telling you, it will be like the game-winning drive on his birthday last summer after he threw out the go-ahead run at home. Cinematic.

The Media, by the way, is a flocking vulture of innuendo that should be locked in a cellblock with pants confiscated. Turk Wendell might be a big fat idiot--Denny Neagle his yappy sidekick--but at least he's a ballplayer, and as Bonds says, he's earned the respect to speak out, even if he brings upon the Rockies a pestilence of three-homer games (seriously, Turk, what do you expect, that Barry will finally swing through that nibbling fastball because you're wielding the Denver Post? Shut up and play ball, meat).

But these reptilian wordsmiths are beyond a blood thirst. What's with that reporter trying to finagle a steroid test out of Gary Sheffield and then squawking about it on ESPN? Or the Chronicle's corroborating source who claims to be "close" to Bonds' trainer, Anderson?

We will not be forced to invade Indochina if it turns out Major Leaguers took steroids. The President will not resign if the Chronicle reveals another deepthroated source. Damn it, I know the question of performance-enhancing drugs matters. But you will never get a definitive response--the Media wallows in innuendo because the story can't conclude, perpetuated in some almost-climax.

And we have precious few days left to watch Barry play his magnificent baseball. We will miss enjoying them, I promise you, if we listen exclusively to the whir of Spectacle. Because not soon will another San Francisco Giant come along to give us moments like these.

At least wait until Big Poppa retires. You can call up Marvin Biz-nard and he'll surrender all the dirt you want on needles and names. Then Tivo your favorite soap opera and eat another tub of frosting—you deserve insults because, for the love of baseball gods, you need to shut up.

Ahhh, devil anger. Not meant for you, gentle Giants fans. I'll cleanse the palette with the more prosperous: my half-crazy cousin has predicted that Jason Schmidt will not lose a game at home all year. Here's betting a bottle of Jaeger on it, and on the success of this lovely and unborn season that all baseball fans should be excited about.

Tim Denevi is a raving Giants fan who can't decide if he would rather have Mike Aldrete or Marvin Biz-nard pinch-hitting with the game on the line. E-mail him with your opinion on any issue at

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