Proving once again that locals couldn't care less about what the haters in the rest of the country think about Barry Bonds, witness this Kickstarter campaign, to crowdfund "the construction of an 8-foot-plus bronze statue of Barry Bonds, to be installed near AT&T Park."
Bonds, of course, has stats that put him near the top of the heap in terms of all-time great hitters, but he has seen his accomplishments tarnished by allegations -- and an entire book, in fact -- that he took performance-enhancing substances in the midst of baseball's steroids era. The slugger was also the subject of a federal prosecution that claimed he lied to a grand jury about his use of steroids and human growth hormone. In 2011 he was found guilty of obstruction of justice in the case, though a mistrial was declared on three perjury charges.
The #BarryBronze effort to create the statue was put together by four fans of baseball's all-time home run leader and twice-spurned Hall of Fame inductee.
The campaign went live Tuesday at 9 a.m., Hayden Simmons, one of the fans spearheading the campaign, says. As of this writing, the project has 39 backers who have pledged $3,413 toward the goal of $60,000, with 28 days to go.
Simmons says he and his friends launched the campaign because they "have a lot of happy childhood memories built around watching Bonds. He was a big, positive presence in a lot of our lives and we wanted to say a big thank you to him."
If the project achieves its funding goal, their plan is to unveil the statue on opening day next year. If the campaign does not meet its goal, contributors will get their money back, as is the case with all Kickstarter campaigns.
And if you're doubtful that this initiative has a chance of meeting its goal, the hopefuls point out that "the people of Detroit raised over $67K to build a statue of Robocop via Kickstarter." Though whether Robocop is more controversial than Bonds, who can say?
The campaign already has a professional sculptor in mind. Simmons tells us he and his friends are currently in discussion with restaurants and businesses near AT&T Park to house the statue, which will cost about $31,000. The rest of the hoped-for $60,000 would go toward transportation, installation, the unveiling party and contributor rewards, which include commemorative Barry Bronze pins and T-shirts on the low end, though $5,000 or more will get you two club-level tickets to opening day and your choice of quotation on the plaque. ("You suck, cheater" not eligible.)
Currently, official Giants statues of Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal and Orlando Cepeda greet visitors in various locations at AT&T Park, but Bonds' presence has been minimized.
Naturally, since we're in the news biz, we can neither endorse nor condemn this quest. But Simmons says he's already gotten some negative comments. We know one person, at least, who won't be contributing: Keith Olbermann. When the Giants invited Bonds to rejoin the fold as a batting instructor during spring training this year, Olbermann did everything short of challenging Bonds to a duel in the below rant, in which he called Bonds “disgusting” and communicated his personal satisfaction that his failure to make the Hall of Fame would torment him for the rest of his life. He ended with, “I have advice for you: Get lost."