For me, and the majority of Giants fans, it means a lot. It's us who has been along for the entire ride, and whether it was a steroid-aided one or not, we have all been entertained by Barry Bonds. There has never, every been a time where I have felt cheated watching the man hit. Regardless of what everyone else thinks, it has been the greatest show in baseball for many years now.
Those who ridicule Bonds in discussions find it easy because he's never been part of their team, and they've only watch him sporadically -- either when the Giants are playing their team or during their favorite sports show highlights. As much and as loudly as they are willing to dismiss what he's done, all of them are quiet, attentive, and observant when he is in the batter's box. If the nation at-large really wanted to stick it to Bonds and show their feelings, they'd collectively turn the channel at home and turn their backs in the road ballparks. They don't do that, of course, because they are busy being just as entertained as Giants fans are when we watch.
However, it doesn't change the fact that the moment itself has lost the flair it should have had, due to the scandal and the length of time it has taken to accomplish the feat.
Joe over at Giants Cove sketched a few notes on Bonds, including a link to an interesting study on how many home runs he would've hit without any performance-enhancing drugs.
Personally I think the study is believable -- at least, the method that Patrick Hruby used seems to make sense, except for a couple of what I think are important points:
- The study seems to disregard the workout regimen and change in diet, etc., with the assumption that steroids were involved. I don't mind assuming steroids were involved and that they helped, but I do mind assuming that the training Bonds underwent wouldn't have had an effect without steroids. Lifting all those weights would've still helped even without steroids, just to a lesser degree.
- Intentional walks. When you break down how Bonds has been pitched to...or, rather, how he hasn't been pitched to, you realize that if these pitchers and teams don't treat Bonds differently than any other player has ever been treated in the history of the game, he'd have hit quite a few more homers than he has now.
So, it's a balancing act between the extra home runs steroids provided vs. all of the "special" treatment Bonds has gotten over the last six or so years. I don't pretend to think that they cancel each other out, simply that these things do lessen the impact of how much steroids has inflated Bonds' totals.