Any and all talk of trading Barry Bonds before the July 31 nonwaiver deadline needs to stop. It’s ridiculous, preposterous and downright insane.
Whatever you think of the man and whether you’re the casual, PDA-toting, go-to-AT&T-Park-to-be seen fan or an “I remember when Mays, Marichal and McCovey were here” die-hard, you have to understand that Bonds will — and must — be in orange and black for the duration of 2007.
After this season? See ya, Barry. Good luck in your pursuit of 3,000 hits with the Los Angeles Angels, if that’s what you want to do, don’t let the turnstile hit you on the way out.
But right now, for the aforementioned casual fans who far outnumber the die-hards and therefore are targetedby the current Giants brain trust, Bonds is the only reason you HAVE to know about what happened in the game.
Sure, there’s passing interest among the casuals in the tragicomedy that is Matt Cain’s young and tortured career. There’s a modicum of thought given to whether Tim Lincecum is as good as he was in his first five starts or as mediocre as he’s been in his last four. And there’s the whole why-did-we-give-this-guy-so-much saga of Barry Zito.
But those are story lines that still will be strong in 2008. They’re back-burner issues in relation to Bonds, whose relevance in San Francisco has a shelf life that expires the moment he leaves the batter’s box for the last time this year.
There are some who insist that this shelf life will be even shorter, that Bonds will cease to be a draw as soon as he breaks Hank Aaron’s record.
Whether he passes Hank on July 28 or Aug. 3 or Sept. 1, Bonds will be a marquee attraction here in his subsequent 2007 at-bats because they’ll be his final at-bats in the Bay Area as the all-time home run king. And if you weren’t in the park for the record-breaker, you’ll want to be there when he adds to the record.
That is, while No. 756 is the biggie to which we’re all looking forward in one way or another. Even the casual fans suspect that Bonds’ interest in 3,000 hits is mostly lip service and he’ll likely retire at the end of this year rather than risk being booed in a new home park next season.
His last homer as a Giant will be his last homer, period, and that’s the one that will live on in the record book. People will pay to see that one, too.
So strap yourself in. Bonds isn’t going anywhere.
Mychael Urban is the author of “Aces: The Last Season On The Mound With The Oakland A’s Big Three — Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito” and a writer for MLB.com. He also hosts the weekend edition of “Sportsphone 680” on KNBR (680 AM).