My Barry Bonds Dream
By Tom Smith
I had this crazy dream last night about Barry Bonds (and wingman Dick Groat) presenting Andrew McCutchen with his 2013 NL MVP Award. Bonds last wore a Pittsburgh Pirates jersey in Three Rivers Stadium on Sunday, October 11, 1992. His 2-for-5 performance helped the Bucs to a 7-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves.
That’s where my dream starts. My sports loving Mom was more anxious to see Presidential candidate Ross Perot join the debate with Governor Bill Clinton and U.S. President George Bush, than she was to celebrate the Buccos victory. Yeh, dreams are weird sometimes. I was beyond excited that the Pirates seemed poised to finally make it back to the World Series.
Barry Bonds– the ultimate super villain—was still a few days away. Right now, it was all about beating those damn Braves.
But that’s when the dream moved into overdrive, with vivid, lightning quick scenes flashing before my eyes.
Sid Bream was laughing hysterically as he lumbered around the bases as the tomahawk cheering Braves fans rejoiced.
A freshly flipped off Andy Van Slyke knelt in defeat.
And then my dream raced into fast forward. There were one hundred dollar bills falling from the sky like rain as Bonds launched home run-after home run-after home run as his head became bigger-and-bigger-and-bigger.
But then the dream downshifted into full high definition-color-AGH-cam-sloooowww-motion.
Behind home plate at PNC Park, Bonds and Groat had just handed the MVP Award to Andrew McCutchen. The Pirates master of ceremonies, announcer Greg Brown had delivered the perfectly choreographed speech.
The Pirates dreadlocked superstar delivered a short speech–much better than the wedding proposal–as the standing room only crowd showered down chants of MVP! MVP! MVP! at a deafening magnitude.
It was then, after McCutchen had been exalted into legendary Pittsburgh athletic lore, that Barry Bonds grabbed the microphone from the hands of a horrified Greg Brown. I had butterflies just thinking about what I was witnessing.
This ultra thin Bonds, the body type that looked so familiar to Pirates fans– was slowly walking toward home plate. The MVP chants slowly died. As a mixture of boos, catcalls and boisterous cheers cascaded from the capacity crowd, Bonds waited patiently—just as he often did in the batters box during his playing career. Bonds was waiting for the right moment.
Barry Bonds slowly lifted his head toward the PNC Park press box. You could hear a pin drop, and then the slugger spoke…”My throw sucked. I know it. All of you know it.”
He then spiked the microphone into the volcanic clay behind the left-handed batters box. The resounding squelch of feedback that occurs when this happens, was piercing my ears. But then it waned, replaced by clapping–slowly at first, and then turning into a maddening roar.
But Bonds didn’t stop to acknowledge the fans gesture of compassion and perhaps forgiveness. Instead, Bonds slowly walked directly toward Jim Leyland. Bonds reached out his right hand, but Leyland didn’t want to shake hands. The legendary skipper embraced Bonds with both arms.
And for a moment all was right again in Pittsburgh.
Then I woke up.