Hurricane Barry blows through town | Bleader

Friday, July 20, 2007

Hurricane Barry blows through town

Posted By on 07.20.07 at 05:50 PM

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Barry Bonds came through town this week, in hot pursuit of Hank Aaron's record 755 lifetime homers. The San Francisco Giants' visit drew more than 160,000 fans, but with Bonds playing only one of the four games it seems clear most fans were there to celebrate the Cubs rather than boo or cheer Bonds. The media reaction was curiously waffling as well. After Bonds missed the first game, televised nationally on ESPN, Nate Silver of Baseball Prospectus did a neat piece suggesting Bonds was purposely dodging ESPN games, perhaps in revenge for his reality series being canceled on the network last year. Bonds's pinch-hitting appearance in the third game produced a line out, but when he finally played, first the Trib's Rick Morissey did the journalistic cha-cha with him before the game, then Bonds went out and hit two home runs. That gave him 753 lifetime homers as he traveled on to Milwaukee this weekend, where Aaron hit many of his homers for the Braves before they moved to Atlanta and later for the Brewers, but Chicago fans seemed more pleased about their surging Cubs, who won 9-8 regardless of Bonds's antiheroics. (The Cubs won again today 6-2 over Arizona.) Fans seemed resigned to Bonds's place in history: he's going to set the record and he's a great player, even if he cheated with steroids and human growth hormone to make himself even greater. That ambivalence toward Bonds was captured best by none other than Cub manager Lou Piniella after that third game, when he said, "He's like the action hero and the villain at the same time."

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