"Dear Barry"

I’d address you as “Mr. Bonds,” but since you came over from Pittsburgh in ’93,
you’ve been part of my family
I remember my first big league game, Barry
When Will Clark, Pudge Rodriguez, and the Texas Rangers came to Candlestick Park
I was 11
I don’t remember who was pitching that night
I remember we won, but I don’t remember the score
What I’ll never forget - was you, Barry
If they were right, and you took steroids, it wasn’t yet
It was ’97, and you were
a quarterback
and a cheetah
and you stole bases
and gunned down runners
and robbed home runs
and you laughed like a little-leaguer
When I saw Velvet Revolver, I saw Slash’s aura
When I met Tom Morello, I saw his aura
When I saw you that night, Barry
I saw your aura
You were already better than your dad ever was, and
You were a LOCK
for the Hall-Of-Fame
Now, a decade and 350 home runs later
you don’t have a chance…
You won seven MVPs, Barry
But that night – in your fucking prime
nobody seemed to care
because Ken Griffey Jr. was younger, and prettier
Roger Clemens and Greg Maddux were white
and McGwire and Sosa hit more home runs
So, well…I understand, Barry
I have an easier time picturing my parents having sex than I do picturing you with a needle in your arm,
but somehow,
it happened
I remember your aura, Barry,
like I remember that ball flying higher and higher
closer and closer
right between me
and you
Then, just as you went up to make one of your patented Web Gems
some “Giants Fan,”
some idiot reached out and took it right out of your glove
My mouth was gaping open in disbelief as he screamed with delight and held the ball high over his head
I couldn’t even boo him, along with everyone else
Barry just walked off
with the kind of calm, cool, and collected demeanor
that athletes like Tom Brady, Derek Jeter, and Tim Duncan are praised for
and a smirk
that said, “Hey – you’re the fan, you bought the ticket, and you can whatever you want, but you just cost your team a run, idiot.”
In the ten years since then,
I’ve spent days in the pool
days at the ballpark
days in love
days in school
But you – you’ve spent
day after day after day
with the idiots
…and no ring
Just hitting home runs

Performance-enhancing drugs are like shits
everyone takes them
The Beatles smoked them
Kerouac popped them
Cobain shot them
Schwarzaneggar eminated them
And Hunter S. Thompson washed them down with Wild Turkey

They say there should be an asterisk
How bout an asterisk for all the pitchers you took deep who were juicing?
How bout an asterisk for all the times you couldn’t homer because the other team was too scared to throw the ball within 4 feet of the plate?
Asterisks are ridiculous
because baseball’s too free
it’s always evolving, even when numbers don’t
There are no asterisks to account for
shrinking stadiums
lowered fences
juiced baseballs
lowered mounds
corked bats
extended schedules

The game is always changing, and there’s no room for asterisks

I don’t know what you did or didn’t do
I don’t know what I’ll do, how I’ll feel
when you break the record
when you retire
when you don’t get voted in
when you die
all I know is you did everything you could to bring me and San Francisco a championship
And however you did it,
you did it better than anyone else, ever

To quote Chuck Klosterman,
“Nobody looks back at Pink Floyd's ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ and says, ‘I guess that music is okay, but it doesn't really count. Those guys were probably high in the studio.’

I love you,
San Francisco loves you,
Baseball loves you,
and someday,
the idiots will love you, too

No comments: