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Sure the Giants took two out of three from my beloved Dodgers in our own house this week, but I almost don’t mind, because the Dodgers didn’t give up number 755, and other than the Dodgers winning and the Yankees losing, there is nothing I love better than watching Barry Lamar Bonds suck hard.

Bonds pops out yet again.And Bonds sure has sucked of late. He batted .186 in July. His 0-21 slump was the longest of his career since 1991. His knees are creaky, bone-on-bone after having all that cartiledge removed, he is plagued by shin splints, and after every game his ankles swell up like water balloons. And I’m loving every minute of it.

In baseball, real power comes from the legs. This rule may apply to Bonds least of all, because his swing is so short and his bat is so quick, but even Bonds is having visible trouble driving the ball without a solid set of legs under him. How many times have we seen Bonds hit the ball right on the screws this year, only to see it die on the warning track? How many times have we seen even Bonds himself fooled, thinking it’s gone, only to see the ball fall harmlessly into an outfielder’s glove? A lot more than ever before, that’s for sure. And I can’t get enough.

But perhaps, best of all, Bonds is pressing, for the first time in human memory. I mean, it’s only human to occasionally get excited and go after a fat pitch just a bit outside the zone. But what always made Bonds so incredibly dangerous, what elevated him from the realm of amazing to nigh unto superhuman, was the fact that he simply never swung at bad pitches. With the patience of a saint, he was always content to let you walk him, no matter how much a hit might have been more tempting. The steroids gave him all that power and longevity, but no drug I know of could give you that ridiculous amount of calm indifference.

But now, as he gets closer and closer to the most hallowed record in sports, Bonds is doing all kinds of crazy things. He’s expanding the zone. Scouts say he’s become pull-conscious, for the first time anyone can remember. The other night against the Marlins, he swung at a 3-0 pitch for the first time in almost two years. And nothing could be sweeter.

Not that you can really blame Bonds for trying to make things happen. Pitchers are challenging him more and more with the bases empty, but when he does come up in key situations, his protection in the Giants lineup is so scanty that he never gets anything to hit. This season Giants no. 3 hitters are hitting only .265 with a .333 OBP ahead of Bonds, and the protection behind him is even worse, as no. 5 hitters are batting .249 with a .302 OBP. The Giants are but a bleached, translucent shell of the team that dominated the NL West in the late 1990s and early 2000s, 11 games out of first place, the only team in the division with no chance of making the playoffs, and Bonds looking less and less like he will ever get to win the World Series title he claims is the only thing he truly wants. And I’m on cloud nine.

Let’s face it, the Dodgers don’t exactly have a sparkling record against Bonds. He’s hit a number of big home runs off them over the years. That homer in 1997 to kill their playoff hopes. His 500th home run, off Terry Adams. His record-setting 72nd and 73rd home runs, off the inimitable Chan Ho Park in 2001.

But this year, the Dodgers are exacting revenge, and no team has done as well at holding Bonds in check. So far this season, Bonds is 5 for 36 against the Dodgers, for a .139 average. In the last two series against them, he is 1 for 19. And just to rub it in, the Dodgers just “happened” to be holding “Steroids Awareness Night” right when Bonds happened to be in town. Just hours before Bonds hobbled out to left field, 100 little-leaguers trotted out to center for a heart-to-heart with Dodgers players and staff about the dangers of steroid use. And I’m walking on air.

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