It's difficult to see the bigger picture when your mind is clouded by emotion. Besides, who wants to resort to reason when the situation calls for sweeping overstatement? For starters: not Bonds.
He wrote on his Web site, then repeated in an interview Saturday, that his biggest disappointment of the past three days is the short notice he was given by the Giants. Apparently 10 days isn't enough time to give his fans a proper farewell.
"We could have had a party all year long," he told reporters.
Interestingly, they did have a party in San Francisco this summer. It was called the All-Star Game. Giants fans stuffed the ballot box during the final week of voting to sweep their man Barry into the starting lineup.
And Bonds reacted how? By passing on the home run derby, a huge fan favorite. And by staying out so late at a private party he was nearly too tired to swing a bat in the game the next day. He bailed after two at-bats. He was holding a press conference by the fifth inning.
Bonds often speaks of Bay Area fans as his family, and of San Francisco as his home. No doubt he has treated his family to some sublime moments during his 15 seasons with the Giants. Yet he also has repeatedly failed to show up for the annual team photo (what fan could possibly be interested in something like that?), refused to run out ground balls, made decisions for the manager and napped in the clubhouse when his team could have used his services as a pinch hitter.
To express such concern over his relationship with the same fans he has treated with such intermittent indifference, then, would seem disingenuous. And even if it wasn't, Bonds has played more games in a San Francisco Giants uniform than any player other than Willie McCovey.
He received tribute after tribute during his parade of milestone home runs -- banners, fireworks, speeches, standing ovations. What possibly could have been left unsaid?
Beyond that, what message can you send your fans from inside the dugout? Bonds is in the midst of his final seven-game homestand with the Giants. He has sat out the first four games with -- wait for it -- a sore toe. Somewhere, Cal Ripken Jr. rolls his eyes.
As for this being home, he was born in Riverside and currently resides in Beverly Hills. Ahem.
Say this much for Bonds: He doesn't have the situation as wrong as those who insist he will be forced into retirement when no one offers him a job for 2008.
He may retire, but it will be because he doesn't like the offer(s) he gets or the team(s) that make them. But someone will take a chance on him, the way the Boston Braves took a chance on a washed-up Babe Ruth, the way the Chicago White Sox took a chance on Bo Jackson after his hip replacement surgery, and the way multiple teams took chances on Steve Howe after it had been demonstrated rather convincingly that he had a substance abuse problem.
Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks signed Alex Rodriguez to a $252 million contract when no other team was offering more than $125 million. He's still paying part of that salary, even as A-Rod cranks out an MVP season for the New York Yankees. There's a great chance that when Bonds hits the free agent market, Hicks won't be able to help himself.
The Seattle Mariners are paying Richie Sexson more than $15 million and Adrian Beltre almost $13 million this season. Think they wouldn't at least consider throwing $10 million or so at Bonds' feet?
If the only offer Bonds gets is a $2 million-plus-incentives feeler from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, then he'll have to decide how much he truly loves the game and how badly he wants to get to 3,000 hits.
But, it says here, it won't come to that. Bonds will get what he thinks he wants, and some team will get what it thinks it wants.
And both sides will wind up less than thrilled with the arrangement.
It's an unworkable premise. Even the Giants finally figured that one out. Bonds may have to give up the Me wall he enjoyed in the Giants clubhouse, but it's impossible to imagine him accepting a lesser role on the field. And no team is going to win by building a lineup around a cleanup hitter with declining skills who can't reasonably be expected to play more than two-thirds of the time.
So hang on to whatever sweeping overstatements you don't use in the next few days. They'll work just as well next year. Maybe better.
Contact Gary Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org.