The San Francisco Giants announced, quietly, that they finally paid off AT&T Park, and you wonder how long it would have taken them to do if Barry Bonds had never touched “flax seed” oil. Then again, if the Giants hadn’t signed Bonds in late 1992, they never would have been playing in San Francisco still. It’s a vicious circle of deceit, fraud, and lies that the Giants are propped on still today.
Remember, the S.F. organization was going to move to St. Petersburg, FL, after it was sold by Bob Lurie to Vincent Naimoli in August 1992. No one cared about the Giants in the Bay Area, really, as the team had made the playoffs just four times in 35 seasons at that point since moving to California.
Enter Bud Selig: His successful coup to take over Major League Baseball in September 1992 meant a few things changed (for lack of a better word), and the ultimate thing it meant was profit at any cost. The sale to Naimoli was not approved, and the Giants stayed in San Francisco while somehow signing the biggest free agent to ever hit the open market at that point: Bonds, coming off multiple MVP seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Eventually, the Giants got approval to build their new ballpark on the water, and Bonds’ PED-fueled home runs delivered postseason excitement and a lot of fans the team had never had before the arrival of the Steroid King. Between 1997 and 2003, the S.F. franchise made the postseason four times (1997, 2000, 2002, 2003) and just missed a fifth appearance (1998) after losing a play-in game for the National League wild-card spot to the Chicago Cubs.
A new revenue monster was born on the West Coast, and the money kept rolling in, despite the growing awareness of Bonds’ deceitful performance(s)—and the Giants’ continuing enablement of this deceit in the name of profiteering off immoral fans that just didn’t care if their star player was on the juice or not. Commissioner Selig did nothing to protect the sanctity of the sport, and San Francisco as a whole turned a blind eye as well to the cheating.
The House That Steroids Built finally found its way—after Bonds’ somewhat forced retirement, because there was no money to be milked there—to winning the World Series in 2010, built on the financial foundation of that PED profiteering. The Giants followed that unlikely championship with two more in 2012 and 2014, respectively, making Baseball Prospectus derisively refer to “Giants’ devil magic” as a “drug of sorts” responsible for the improbable success of mediocre-to-average players once they put on a San Francisco uniform in AT&T Park.
Are congratulations in order for the Giants ownership/management team that has led the team for the past 24-plus years to heights unseen for the franchise since the 1920s? Or is it just another sad chapter in modern sports that emphasizes cheaters do prosper in America?