Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen will be presented his 2013 National League MVP award Monday before the 2014 opener against the Chicago Cubs.
It is opening day, to many the best day of the sports year, the perfect day to celebrate the start of spring after a long, brutal winter. It has added significance here because of the Pirates' remarkable success in 2013 after 20 years of embarrassing baseball. It is a day to say thank you to a team that, in manager Clint Hurdle's words, reconnected a proud, sports-loving city with its ball club. It is especially a day to honor Andrew McCutchen, the best of the best, the National League's Most Valuable Player.
So why is Barry Bonds a part of the pregame ceremony?
The Pirates picked a lousy time to bring back Bonds. Nothing should detract from this awesome day, but Bonds' presence surely will. There will be boos. Bonds is the most detested athlete in Pittsburgh sports history. No one is a close second. Not Kordell Stewart, who lived under the normal, absurd scrutiny associated with being Steelers quarterback but also had to deal with more haters because he is black. Not even Jaromir Jagr, who was a petulant child almost into his 30s when he played for the Penguins, begged to be traded and jilted the team one final time to sign with the Philadelphia Flyers in the summer of 2011.
Hardly anyone will argue that Bonds might have been the greatest player in Pirates history. He was the best player of my lifetime, which includes Hall of Famers Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell and Bill Mazeroski. It's true, he failed badly in the postseason, hitting a combined .191 with one home run and three RBIs in 20 games in the Pirates' three playoff appearances from 1990-92. But he's best-remembered -- worst-remembered? -- for his throw to the plate from left field that was too late to get Atlanta's Sid Bream in Game 7 of the 1992 playoffs. He gets a bum rap there. That wasn't a bad throw. He had to go into left-center field to get the ball, then throw across his body. His mistake was brushing off center fielder Andy Van Slyke's repeated suggestion a few pitches earlier that he move a couple of steps into left-center.
Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/2014/03/31/Don-t-let-Bonds-ruin-MVP-s-moment/stories/201403310061#ixzz2xXeZ9y8j