The Giants have had one of their best starts in franchise history, yet they have not been relying solely on Barry Bonds for their offensive production. J.T snow has a .348 batting average with 21 RBIs after only playing 22 games. Jose Cruz Jr. has scored 22 runs after playing 24 games. Cruz is also tied with Bonds for the team's lead in home runs, with 6.
It's not that Bonds is doing poorly, it's that the rest of the team is doing better than they have in previous years. Bonds, with a .308 BA, a
.514 OBP, and 6 HR, is having a great year, as always. It's just that he has many strong hitters both behind and in front of him. This is very good for the Giants, because in past years, when Bonds would be injured even for a day, it would affect their whole team. He's no longer the only good hitter. He's just the best of a group of solid sluggers.
Earlier in the season, critics were quick to attack Bonds for what they called a slow start. After six games of play, he had only hit two home runs, and had a batting average of .200. What these critics did not seem to realize was that he had also been walked seven times. His total OPS after his first six games of play was a solid .957. Most players never reach that number in their career. His OBP of .407 and SLG of .550 at that point was not bad at all. Some people just had to have something to complain about because the Giants were doing so well, and Barry was the only thing that seemed somewhat plausible to criticize.
Of course, at that point he went on a six-game hitting streak where he hit three more home runs and was walked seven times. His 21 walks have helped out the Giants a lot as well. Even though they don't appear in his batting average, he has been hitting ahead of J.T. Snow and Benito Santiago, who are making opposing pitchers regret walking him so often.
Bonds is not going to decline much in 2003. Sure, he looks a little worse right now, because everyone else is doing really well. But just because other people are doing better, that doesn't mean Bonds is doing any worse. In fact, since he really wants a World Series Ring, if everyone else does better, he will be doing better as well, because that increases their chances of getting to the World Series again.
Don't attack Bonds because the Giants are doing better. Praise J.T. Snow, Jose Cruz Jr, and Benito Santiago. And don't forget about the pitching staff. There is plenty to praise with this Giants team!
Jesse Radin writes for SFDugout.com and has been a Giants follower since 1996. The Blind Observer is Jesse's column covering all things baseball, though mainly about the Giants. Questions or comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org