Here is my chance to give you my thoughts on the greatest baseball player of my time. And it has come at a convenient time, too. On Tuesday, Bonds won his record-setting sixth Most Valuable Player award – although most would argue that it should have been his eighth. But I am not going to engage in the clichd and beaten-to-death argument over whether Bonds is the greatest baseball player ever. The fact is that there are three players in history who have any real place in that argument, and unfortunately they are not contemporaneous. Their names are Ruth, Mays and Bonds. Ruth played against only white players, and inarguably against inferior talent. Mays played in a ballpark the size of Ohio and against pitchers like Sandy Koufax. And Bonds is playing amongst the best combination of talent, power, and speed that baseball has ever seen. It’s not fair to compare.

But the argument I will make is one that has more relevance. Bonds has been for the last four years, and still is, the most dominant player in the three major American sports – baseball, basketball, football and golf or hockey, if you prefer. He is farther ahead of his fellow competitors than anyone else is at the moment. And for anyone who has had the privilege of watching Bonds up close and personal – which I am no longer legally allowed to do because of an unfortunate incident this year with Bonds at Shea Stadium this past summer – and isn’t brainwashed by the cynical and jealous media frenzy unjustifiably waged against him, my point is obvious. But I am betting that most of you out there have not even watched him on television without saying, “he is so arrogant, I can’t stand him.” If you have a problem with people who are brutally honest, as Bonds is, then I know the name of a good therapist who helps people like you.

To address the aforementioned motivation behind this argument before the above media chastisement, Bonds is also the greatest team player in baseball, despite his well-documented aloofness. However, no one produces at the plate better than he does in virtually all percentage categories. Further, if you were to ask anyone in baseball who the most valuable player in baseball is, they would all say, Bonds. And if they don’t say his name, well, there is a 100 percent chance that their IQ was lower than zero even before they took skydiving lessons without a parachute.

Now reverting to the back to the task at hand, again, I can tell you why Bonds is the most dominant player in sports – and why you should be watching him instead of a show with a bunch of European bimbos who actually believe that that “wealthy,” handsome man cannot get girls on his own so now he is going on television to find that special someone.

Watching Bonds at the plate is like hearing Robert Plant and Jimmy Page on “Stairway to Heaven” – or John Coltrane on “A Love Supreme” if you prefer jazz – over again over again. Bonds and his swing just look prefect. There is no wasted movement, only pure, unbridled, frictionless, compact, human power. Watching a Barry Bonds home run is the most breathtaking moment in sports – watching that baseball compressed by a shaft of maple into a paper thin mass of leather and rubber winding, travel 500 arcless feet is something you may never see again.

Bonds is almost 40. But that’s not all, not even close. It’s what is in his mind that really separates him from the other players on planet earth. Bonds has an utterly phenomenal ability to concentrate and avoid swinging at bad pitches. It is as if he has a gland in his body that secretes Aderol while he is at the plate. He literally makes those around him look they are not even trying. If the definition of genius is someone who possesses the innate ability to make something hard look easy, than Bonds is certainly a genius.

There has also been much speculation as to whether Bonds has taken steroids, growth hormones or the newly discovered THG. If he knowingly took an illegal substance, than all that I have written becomes completely worthless. Even, I, owner of 873 Bonds action figure dolls – not really – would lose all respect for him. And further, all of his accomplishments would be worth nada. But until I receive that dreaded information from one of my inevitably delighted friends, I will continue to seek a psychiatrist able to either shake me of my Bonds obsession or convert me to the Diamondbacks or Dodgers.

Bronstein can be reached at jbronstein@campustimes.org.



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