Barry Bonds and Jim Leyland both showed up at PNC Park yesterday.
Bonds didn’t get booed out of the building. That’s a start.
Leyland, as always, was greeted like a conquering hero.
Let’s put the record straight:
Leyland didn’t conquer anything, at least not in Pittsburgh. He was 0-3 in National League Championship Series as manager of the Pirates. That’s the same record Bonds had as a player for the Pirates.
Bonds didn’t throw out Sid Bream. But Leyland managed horribly in Game 7 of the 1992 NLCS. They both screwed up.
But everybody hates Bonds, and everybody loves Leyland.
That’s easy to figure. Bonds is black, Leyland is white, and this is Pittsburgh.
But here’s the part everybody forgets:
When Bonds left Pittsburgh, he was a free agent. His contract was up. The Pirates didn’t really try to keep him. They paid Andy Van White instead.
There’s no reason to hate Bonds for leaving.
Leyland walked out on a valid contract. Leyland said he was going to stay and rebuild, but didn’t. The year after Leyland quit the Pirates, he won a World Series with Florida, the ultimate rental team.
Then the Marlins traded everyone and finished last the very next season. Leyland quit again. He’s a front-runner. Always has been.
Leyland left Pittsburgh on what should have been far worse terms. Bonds never lied. Leyland did. Bonds never walked out on a valid contract. Leyland did. But you hate Bonds, and love Leyland.
Bonds and Leyland are both jerks. Both cut from the same cloth. Bonds’ cloth is just darker. That’s what bothers you.