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5.10.2006

Open Letter 

To: tdahlberg@ap.org
(Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press.)

Tim,

I just read your column today about Giants fans tiring of Bonds's act. I'm a lifelong Giants fan. I'll say that upfront. But unlike many fans, I don't tie myself into pretzels trying to explain away my hometown heroes' behavior.

If I were a sportswriter trying to interview Bonds, or an opposing player, I'd probably hate him too. I certainly don't want to spend my vacation time with him.

But ascribing a general disgust with Bonds to Giants fans last night is misleading and slanted to fit your own prejudices.

First of all, at the game last night, Bonds got a loud standing ovation for his first at-bat. You failed to note that. Your remark about the "Bar-ry" chant "petering out" was simply not true. I heard it several times last night, just as I hear it at every home game he plays. Also, Juan Pierre was loudly (and playfully) booed by the fans after he made his home-run robbing catch. You'd think if the fans were tired of Bonds's act, they'd cheer Pierre.

That he's "never even tried to return [fans'] love" is a broad, sweeping, inaccurate statement. Sure, we've been hearing Bonds say dumb or controversial things for years. We've also heard him say that San Francisco is his home, he appreciates the fans, and once in a while, yes, he even bothers to wave to the crowd in left field.

And to equate the few no-shows with a disgust for Barry is patently ridiculous. Attendance has been in very slow decline for a few years, which might worry the Giants, but seven years after opening the park, attendance is still 89% of capacity, which is fourth-best in the majors this year. Not even the beloved St. Louis Cardinals can boast the same percentage -- in a brand new stadium, natch.

If you don't like Barry -- and I wouldn't blame you -- and you don't like the Giants and their garlic fries and their corporate-moniker stadium (just like most other sports facilities around the world), that's obviously well within your right. (By the way, a local grassroots effort that I'm part of is trying to have our corporate park renamed "Mays Field" -- how about that as a subject for your next column? Check out www.maysfield.org.)

But assuming S.F. fans are tired of Bonds just because you are, with little to back it up, is thin gruel. I hope you come up with something more substantiated next time.

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