Friday, March 10, 2006

Been thinking a lot about the Barry-steroids story. I have opinions on the matter but haven't been sure what to write, as those opinions are sprawling and probably not very interesting. So I'll just share the initial emotion the story stirred in me, which I quickly typed up in an email to my friend Dan:

I'll never forget 1993 ('93, right?) when I went on a weekend solo mountain biking/camping venture in the mountains of Modoc County and, with a little transistor radio in my tent, listened to Barry hit three* homers at Dodger Stadium on the third-to-last day of the season to keep the Giants alive for one more day. Alone in the wilderness, I hollered and cheered until I cried. That was Friday. Saturday, another Giants win. Still alive. On Sunday, a victory from a playoff, the Solomon Torres debacle. Oh well.

Juiced Barry now strikes me as grotesque and unnatural and I miss the Barry of old. He was slender and powerful and fast. He fucked up in the playoffs. He made amazing catches in the field. That was when I could still remember in a visceral way what it was like to get in a groove for a few weeks and hit nothing but liners, shots, to all fields.

That was when: I had been married only once and never divorced. Writing wasn't something I used to do, gone forever. On my mountain bike, I went up and down terrain I now can't imagine even trying to ride.

It was never easy loving Barry, but it could be done. The concessions one had to make were not dishonorable. He was brilliant and not-perfect. Life sort of felt that way. I'm not saying I was innocent, but I didn't know, then, how cold abandonment could be.

I wish Barry could have known that it was all enough. People always think there's something wrong. They wreck things in pursuit of -- what? I still don't know. All I know is they wreck things. People always wreck things and hurt people. And then all they wish for is the one thing that's impossible, that they could turn back the clock.

*Just double-checked this memory, and found it to be faulty: Barry had two homers and a double that night, going 3-for-3 and knocking in 7 runs.


Commander Coro said...

I used to think I knew why Barry was such a dick. Imagine if you were ALWAYS better than everyone else. Barry was, from a small kid better than his piers. Not only did he grow up knowing he was the best player on the team, he WAS the best player on the team. If I was the best something my whole life, I'm sure people would classify me as an asshole too.

Now I too am a broken man. Barry's ego took him to new lows. Watching Mark Maguire (an above average player at best) reach the status he did by juicing, Barry wanted the light shined on him. I feel very sorry for Barry. Now he'll end up with nothing but shame.

Pete said...

Thanks for the comment, commander. A couple of thoughts:

*McGwire never had Barry's array of gifts, but he was hardly an "average player at best." Hell, he hit 49 homers as a rookie, long before he bulked up on the juice.

*My point wasn't so much that Barry's fall from grace in and of itself was emotionally devastating; rather, I was struck by how it echoed in my psyche. I will always carry fond memories of Barry. I will always wonder why Barry felt compelled to juice when he had so much already.