As I was surfing the Internet the other day and ignoring my homework as usual, I came across an interesting feature on ESPN.com's Page Two. The site had used fan input along with contributions from everyday reporters to determine a list of the least likeable players in Major League Baseball.
What an interesting idea, I thought. So I pointed and clicked and in no time I was reading fan input on Albert Belle being mean and Paul O'Neill being a whiner.
I agreed with the list compiled by the fans, and many of the messages were pretty funny. But by far the most interesting posting I came across was from Tom Pellegrino of Cincinnati.
Q: What's the difference between Barry Bonds and God?
A: God doesn't think he's Barry Bonds.
I laughed at the joke, but what's more, it got me thinking about Bonds and his chase of the single-season home run record. At the time this article was written, Bonds had 63 homers and was on pace to break Mark McGwire's record of 70 set in 1998.
Now, as Bonds moves closer to the record, I keep thinking about how I don't want him to break it.
It's not that I dislike Barry Bonds. OK, maybe I do dislike him, but I respect him as a baseball player. To do what he's done consistently over the past decade makes him a lock for the Hall of Fame during his first year of eligibility.
He's an outstanding hitter and a good fielder and can electrify a game with a swing of the bat, a fact that was obvious to anyone who watched him hit three home runs at Colorado Sunday afternoon.
I don't know, I guess it's just Bonds' attitude that bothers me. I've never met the guy, but from interviews and other things I've seen about him, he's not exactly the epitome of generosity and compassion.
Instead, he seems whiny, fickle and stubborn. He's also pretty cocky. He's been the best player of the past 10 years and knows it. I think Sports Illustrated's Rick Reilly put it best in his column on Bonds that ran Aug. 27: 'He's an MTV diva, only with bigger earrings.'
During the course of the season, media outlets from across the country have been fawning over Bonds, as well they should. Bonds is having an outstanding season (.319 BA, 63 HR, 121 RBI through Monday) and will probably win the National League MVP.
Before this season, Bonds' relationship with the media was, at best, stormy. I'm not saying he was on par with Ryan Leaf or Bobby Knight, but Bonds often turned down interview requests and seemed short with his answers in press conferences.
This year, Bonds has opened up more and has tried to clean up his image by doing interviews with many of the major sports publications and television shows. He's even had his daughter appear with him during some press conferences.
By all accounts, this approach is working, as baseball fans around the country are waiting to see Bonds break the record.
Personally, I've got better things to do.