I first noticed something a bit “fishy” when playing MVP 05 for the original Xbox – all the real teams and players were there, except for one. The left fielder for the San Francisco Giants, Barry Bonds, was conspicuously absent. Instead, the Giants had a left fielder named John Dowd who had a computer-generated photo, batted left handed, was quite large, was quite old, and had a ridiculous amount of power. Suspiciously like Bonds, there was no reason to pitch to the guy, and he’d lead the league in home runs and RBI consistently.
Then I got MLB 2K6 for the Xbox 360. Again, Bonds fails to make an appearance. The left fielder for the Giants is now Joe Young, who shares every attribute with Bonds (including his characteristic “eager bat” stance), except that he’s white. On doing a little research, I’ve discovered that the game designers weren’t just doing this because they’d be happier with a white Bonds, but instead because Bonds no longer chooses to sign with the Major League Baseball Player’s Association, a group to which almost all other MLB players subscribe.
I fail to see any clear logic for this decision, other than not wanting to be represented in games and media for some reason. I suppose that’s his right, but with all the other PR choices Bonds has been making, why not fault him for this one too? For someone who has the opportunity to be respected and revered, he doesn’t make it any easier on himself by treating the media, and fans, as he does. Not that he should be respected or revered anyway, since drugs are never the proper way to attain one’s goals. I think the only thing that would make me like Barry more is if he signed with the Yankees.
Before (1983, 180 lbs) | After (2004, 228 lbs)