Tonight is Barry’s last game as a Giant at AT&T Park. I’ll be there. The Road to History signs around the ballpark resonate deeply for me, as everything Barry has done in this decade feels historic, including his departure.
I expect he’ll be showered with adulation, and that he’ll give the fans something to remember. The adulation, however, will be nothing like that felt in San Diego toward Tony Gwynn, or in Baltimore toward Cal Ripken Jr. It’s more along the lines of appreciating this man’s tremendous talents, and the privilege we all felt at watching him perform.
But did we love him? Did he love us? No way. It was a purely mercenary arrangement. He was in it for himself — as were we. We all got something out of it.
That makes it a little easier to say goodbye to Barry than it was, say, to bid farewell when other legends — Willie Mays, Jerry Rice, Joe Montana, my own boyhood hero Walt Frazier — left their lifelong uniforms to play out their careers.