the comeback is over
crocker museum

i am a moral midget

Well, I never expected to see this on the Baseball Prospectus website, but Dayn Perry at BP has joined the chorus of those who would chastise Giants fans for cheering for Barry Bonds:

I’m dismayed, but not surprised, to see Giant fans full-throatedly cheering Bonds on now that he’s returned. They probably see themselves as being nobly defiant, giving hard-won support to a beleaguered and wronged pariah; I see them as being willfully ignorant or perhaps wittingly valuing their own entertainment over notions of competitive integrity. That’s not something any good baseball fan should be a part of.

I have written a letter to Perry ... I'll post it here as well.

You are, of course, within your rights to convict Bonds in your mind. It is nonetheless disappointing to think that a member of an analytic organization such as BP, which has done so much to counter the subjective experience of the individual fan with a more reasoned analysis of the feats on the field of play, would take circumstantial evidence, no matter how damning (and I think you misrepresent some of that evidence in any event), and turn it into a total condemnation of Bonds.

Having said that, of course we all have opinions, and I am aware mine is different from most people's. I don't think I'm indulging in rank myth-making ... I just don't give a shit about performance enhancement, which may make me an idiot in your mind, but it has nothing to do with myth.

But I wouldn't have bothered to write this email for the above reasons only, since I'm used to the opinions you express. What got my attention was something I truly did not expect to see from the Prospectus, something I've seen a lot the last week or so, something I take seriously and personally (I've been a Giants fan since 1958, and, of course, I have a past association with BP). You see, I am one of those Giants fans who dismayed you so much by cheering on the best player, give or take a godfather, who ever played for my favorite team. I don't know about nobly defiant, and I'm not exactly giving my support to Bonds ... I mean, yes, that's what I'm doing, but that's not the point.

You're right, now that I think of it ... it is defiance. Sadly, your column was not the first place I had to read that Giants fans were some kind of moral midgets for cheering Bonds. It is possible to have a difference of opinion about the "meaning" of Barry Bonds. You and I seem to disagree on the subject, for instance. I don't translate that disagreement into an assumption that you are a bad person. But Giants fans who cheer Bonds are now "willfully ignorant" or uncaring about "competitive integrity." We are doing something that "any good baseball fan" would not do.

So the next time you see us cheering for Barry Bonds, know that it's intended not just for Barry, but for you, and everyone else who passes moral judgements on us for our actions. And know as well that it saddens me to find this kind of moralistic character assassination on the best baseball website ever, from a group of people I remain proud to have worked with. Root against Bonds if you want, it's not my place to intervene. But don't tell Giants fans that we "should do the same."


Don Neal

hallelujah! (did I spell that right?).

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