Monday, September 24, 2007

Bye bye, Barry

UPDATE: I was wrong. I caught Barry's curtain call last night courtesy of the great Jon Miller on KNBR (which truly does run all the way to Canada). Got a little choked up after all. Got worse later when it was reported his locker was already cleaned out, including the name plate, before the game was over. End of an era, one with a ton of good memories.

I've worn his jersey to the games almost since he arrived in San Francisco, but even I can't say I'll shed many tears when Barry Bonds departs the Giants soon, as it was announced Friday he in fact, after long assumption, would.

The only real surprise was how early and emphatic the Giants made the decision.

It's been a dismal season. One largely sacrificed for The Almighty 756 (which a Mets fan walked off with) and for the McCovey Cove boatloads of money that one swing of the bat brought the organization.

But at a record of 69-89 (game is tied 2-2 tonight, for what it's worth), this year was uglier than Peter McGowan envisioned and he's clearly ready to get it over with.

Don't miss Ray Ratto's San Francisco Chronicle column on the topic. A smart and funny outline of the situation and Barry's uphill battle to find a new home for his price tag and aging ego. (Barry a Texas Ranger...? If he's lucky.)

Andruw "Male Gigolo" Jones is rumored as his possible replacement. That would be my worst nightmare. I won't let Jones on my fantasy team. For all the headache he became, Barry at least had the benefit of my (blind, willful) doubt. Andruw (stupid name for starters) admitted in court to being a sex perv, apparently with at least as much ego as Barry ever had. Hopefully this comes to nothing and will disappear like a bad dream in the morning.

Also depressing is Ratto's point about Randy Winn's trade value. As Kruk and Kuip like to say, Winn is as classy as they come and -- along with some young pitching and late-season acquisitions like Rajai Davis -- one of the few bright spots this season.

Personally, I loved the '07 Giants. Sure they sucked, but without the media circus distraction to keep them from gelling most of the year, things might have been different. Definitely an easy squad to root for and fun to watch...apart from the, er, scoreboard, with some great guys who had me watching more games this year than I have in many a season.

Thankfully, sounds like Omar Vizquel will be making magic in a Giants' uni again next season. And if Sabean and Co make good on the promise to go younger, faster and smarter next year, Andruw Jones, who is none of the above, won't make the cut.

That will leave us with a capable (and politically conservative) manager in Bruce Bochy; a young, starting rotation with a rosy future; another Barry with plenty of upside potential; and if we're lucky, another round of Good-time Ryan Klesko and that hi-yahh! follow-through swing. (Ask Kruk and Kuip.)

As for Barry, I thank him for the memories and wish him well. Hope things work out wherever he lands. Gonna be weird without the 'Bonds Squad,' the rubber chickens, the flashbulbs and the body armor, the attitude (perhaps prophetically?) the size of Texas reigning supreme in left field...

But then again, maybe the curse is finally gone too. Like I always say about this time of the Giants' season, there's always next year.

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