Liotta: Bonds' retirement party won't look like Favre's

Brett Favre retires, and I think of Barry Bonds. What a difference. Favre announced this week in an emotional news conference that he’s done with football after 16 seasons with the Green Bay Packers, during which time he broke enough of the NFL’s passing records to be considered a sure-thing Hall of Famer.

Everything about Favre indicates he’ll be all right in retirement. He appears to have a family he intends to enjoy on an everyday basis, and he has that huge farm in Mississippi that he says he loves tending to. And the Packers would have loved to have him back.

Oh, Favre will make the occasional public appearance in celebration of all that he means to Green Bay and all he accomplished as a Packer, and then he’ll ride off into the sunset on a tractor. With Packers fans misty-eyed.

With Bonds? I don’t get that feeling. Those close to him say he’s a family man, and I’m sure he’ll enjoy watching his kids grow up, but what’s he going to do with himself without baseball. I keep imagining Bonds clad in a bathrobe and bedroom slippers, cheeks fuzzy with two days of beard growth, a coffee mug in his hands, shuffling around an empty house.

I believe Bonds is going through one of the toughest transitions any athlete has ever endured. From celebrating the greatest record in baseball to hoping the telephone will ring with a baseball team on the other end. In less than a year.

After years enjoying unending adulation, Bonds is home alone. The guy who could anything on a baseball diamond can’t even get a phone call returned. The greatest baseball stadiums in the world, which always threw their doors open to Bonds expecting to see another home run swing, are no longer so welcoming.

The most talented hitter of his generation, Bonds still wants to play, and yet baseball goes on without him.

It feels like we’ll see Brett Favre age gracefully through theyears, living happily ever after on his own terms. Mention his name, and smiles will come to the faces of Packers fans.

It doesn’t feel like Bonds will enjoy the same ending to his story.

Random thoughts:

» It’s nice to hear the Giants are a happy bunch, a scrappy, happy group of hard-nosed “gamers.” If they can recent decent this summer, they’ll be a fun team to root for because they’ve got monster obstacles to overcome.

No longer boasting Bonds, Pedro Feliz and Ryan Klesko on their roster, the Giants play this spring without 41 percent of home runs the team hit a year ago, and 27 percent of runs scored. On a team ranked 25th out of 30 in homers, and 29th in runs scored.

How long do you think the happiness will last?

Tim Liotta is a freelance journalist and regular contributor to The Examiner.

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