Barry Bonds hit two home runs in two at bats last weekend against the A’s, in a meaningless exhibition game that I attended.
The trademark Bonds home run comes from a quick and compact swing that makes the ball leap directly off his bat into the stands. One of the home runs he hit the other day, though, came off of a swing that struck me as almost lazy. With an unusually slow gesture, he didn’t so much pummel as guide the ball along a course that saw it land just a few rows deep in right field. It wasn’t even immediately obvious that it was going to go out.
The whole event was entirely unspectacular, but we couldn’t help admiring it anyway; at this point, we’re more surprised if Bonds doesn’t homer, and his consistency is remarkable. This boring (not to mention historically inconsequential) home run is still part of Bonds’ unquestionable greatness, even if it wasn’t one of his trademark blasts—you could even call his greatness “genius” and his trademark a “signature,” if you were comfortable with comparing athletes to artists.