Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Gotta love Barry Bonds

Barry Bonds is my new hero.

Not for his ability on the baseball field -- he had plenty well before these pesky steroid allegations arose -- or for his skillful toying with a San Francisco grand jury. Not even for the mustache he used to rock in the 1980s with the Pittsburgh pastry-costs. (That would be Pirates for the wordplay-challenged readers.)

Bonds earns hero status for giving us something we rarely see in sports anymore: a great press conference.

Too often, it's a player or manager talking into a microphone for 20 minutes and not saying anything. It's like talking to your girlfriend in your high school for three hours. The only difference now is that you don't care if your parents hear what you're saying.

Jason Giambi had two press conferences in less than 14 days and he gave us two big syringes worth of informational nothingness.

But not my boy Barry. Whoa no.

"I don't know Jose [Canseco]," Bonds said Tuesday in his first public interview since before the BALCO bombshell erupted last December. "I was better than Jose then, and I've been better than him his whole career. If he wants to go make money, go ahead. ... For somebody who brags about what he did, I don't see any of your records."

Someone get me Emeril on the horn. I need an authentic "BAM!" after that one.

I cheered and gave my Tiger Woods fist-pump in the office when I heard that. I may have been alone in my excitement but that's OK by me.

I knew Barry would dazzle me some more.

"You guys are like re-running stories," Bonds said to and about the media. "This is old stuff. It's like watching 'Sanford and Son.' It's almost comical, basically. ... Are you guys jealous, upset, disappointed, what?"

Someone get me Joey Lawrence on the horn. I need a cheeseball Blossom-infused "Whoa" right now.

Hit me, Barry, one more time.

"Because Babe Ruth is one of the greatest baseball players ever, and Babe Ruth ain't black, either," Bonds said. "I'm black. Blacks, we go through a little more. ... I'm not a racist though, but I live in the real world. I'm fine with that."

Someone two-way Ja Rule immediately and tell him to call me. I could use a genuine "Holla!" right about now.

Much rings true in that statement. We may like to think that since this is 2005, society has become progressive enough as a whole to dismiss racism. Sad to say, but that isn't the case.

Bonds grew more pugnacious as the press conference went along. It was easily the most exciting gathering on television since The Real World reunion show of the first five seasons on MTV. If networks were smart, they'd run this in primetime during sweeps week. Forget Trump and the grumpy Brit on "American Idol." This was reality television.

I've got this press conference slated as No. 2 on the all-time list. Counting down:

6) Raiders coach Bill Callahan calling his players "the stupidest team in America."
5) An Atlanta Falcons press conference where no reporters asked questions and coach Jim Mora Jr. was done in 45 seconds.
4) Jim Mora Sr.'s "playoffs" rant
3) Allen Iverson's "We talking about practice" diatribe
2) Bonds on Day 1 of 2005 spring training
1) John Chaney telling John Calipari "I'll kill ya" after a basketball game between Temple and Memphis.

The only way to top Chaney would be if Bonds popped some 'roids at the table. But Bonds performed ably. You just gotta love Barry Bonds.

Coming Thursday: What did Bonds do wrong?