Philadelphia is an odd fit for a historic sporting event, but it’s the perfect backdrop for layered drama.
I’ve procrastinated all morning on writing my Barry Bonds masterpiece. Whenever that happens, I take it as a sign that I have nothing to confidently add. Just about every local paper featured his arrival this morning, front page, above the fold.
When Bonds hears boos this weekend, a fair number will come from the same voices that boo Mike Lieberthal. An extremely small segment will be in support of Babe Ruth, whose mark of 714 home runs was set in 1935. Many will boo simply because they believe Bonds is a creep.
On radio, the magic word is "cheater," with talk of how some records are sacred and some are not. Because Bonds is closing in on the most sacred mark of all, they believe he bears the most responsibility for raping the game of its purity.
History plays out tonight, for better or worse. "I would be very curious to see that show," said one reader on another Phillies blog. "Not so much to see Bonds play, but to feel the mix of excitement and hostility that would erupt from the fans. That would be something else."
Woven in with tonight’s exhilaration, between innings or during a pitching change, there will be silent moments when Phillies fans will remember their naked enthusiasm for the heroes of 1993, only to whisk it away as if not to be caught looking.
Indeed, the boos will fall hard tonight, but their motivation will be less black and white than numbers in a record book.