Friday, May 19, 2006

I Boo, Therefore I Am

Unless Barry Bonds hits two home runs tonight, tomorrow I will have the opportunity to see a small piece of baseball history. That is, at worst I will have the opportunity to see Bonds surpass Babe Ruth's career mark of 714 home runs.

Shut him down tonight, my beautiful Oakland A's, and I might see him tie and break.

And I have a ticket for Sunday, too.

If either of those long-ball milestones is in play, at the conclusion of a Bonds at bat that results in an out, I will cheer. At the conclusion of an at bat that results in some small success short of a home run, I will sit on my hands. If Bonds hits a home run I will boo lustily. Though Saturday's and Sunday's games will be in Oakland, thousands of Giants fans will attend, so if Bonds hit a historic home run, cheers and boos will mix.

Some will cheer the man (for some sniff the jock as others sniff the cocaine). Some will cheer the talent, understanding that hitting a baseball is among the hardest athletic feats. Some will cheer the team and its history because so many of us confuse where we are with who we are. Some will cheer the moment, thankful to be a part of a Big Number in a sport in which the accumulation of numbers glues the game together.

And some of will boo for all sorts of reason, from the partisan to the ethical. I will boo for the animal joy of making a sound at a moment of physiological and psychology intensity. The boo is a tribute, I concede. You would have me feign indifference, kind of a "turn the other cheek," you suggest.

Can't do. For did not Lord Byron say?
And if I boo at any mortal thing,
'T is that I may not weep; and if I weep,
'T is that our nature cannot always bring
Itself to apathy.
Actually, he said "laugh," but you get the point.

(Time 8:03. Bonds is oh for one. I like my chances. I like my chances.)

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