An elegiacal tone emanates from the Bay Area, where most of Barry Bonds' vocal supporters over the last few seasons reside, at the announcement that the Giants organization has elected not to bring the slugger back in 2008. This writer is not a Giants fan by any means (Pads all the way, baby), but I am a pretty passionate about baseball. And I have this to say to other baseball fans...

Leave. Barry. Alone.

If he's broken a law, and he's convicted, let him take the consequences like a man. Ty Cobb assaulted (beat the crap out of, actually) a fan in the stands who had no legs, was never charged, and he's in the Hall.

If he hasn't broken the law, but it is eventually determined he violated baseball rules, let him be punished by Major League Baseball, and (again) take his consequences like a man. There are many, many cheaters in the Hall.

If neither of these conditions obtain, but his conduct just violates your sense of fair play, then let the BBWAA determine whether this should effect his entrance into Cooperstown. And, should he be denied, let him take his consequences like a man. There are many who have good cases for enshrinement (Shoeless Joe Jackson, and---ugh---Pete Rose) who are nevertheless on the outside, looking in.

In the meantime, I say, as long as Barry wants to play, try to enjoy it. Me, I hope he plays forever. He's the greatest hitter of my generation, and some of my generation needs to grow up and appreciate Bonds for what he is. There's no rule that says that the greatest hitter has to be great with the fans, accessible to the writers, etc. What would you be like if your old man was an alcoholic, often gone for much of your youth, and (let's be honest) the victim of racism? Who could've predicted that this sensitive, skinny kid with a chip on his shoulder would end up chasing 800 homers? I hope he buries the record.

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