It recently made the front page of ESPN.com that the Giants invited former outfielder Barry Bonds to their 50th Anniversary celebration of Giants outfielders. There was an air around this story that made it seem like this was totally unheard of. All season long, the Giants have been hosting events celebrating each position, highlighting infielders and pitchers so far.
This process of inviting former players is regulated. There is a minimum number of games played to be eligible to receive an invitation. Barry Bonds has fulfilled those requirements, so he received an invitation.
Why is this a surprise to people? Barry Bonds is, in fact, the second best Giants outfielder in their 50 years in San Francisco behind Willie Mays. Try and name someone who had more impact, and simply was a better outfielder than Bonds and you'll be grasping at straws. His statistics prove the fact. He holds the Major League record for homeruns in a season (73) and for career (762). He also has seven MVP awards, 13 All-Star selections, the record for walks and intentional walks, and is the only member of the 400-400 club AND 500-500 club. He also holds the Giants club records for average (.370) and for games played in left-field. He is the only person I know who was walked intentionally with the bases loaded.
He is one of the best Giants, and right now he's hunting, or whatever it is semi-retired players are doing. He's a legend in Giants history. And, as much as people like to doubt it, Giants fans love him. They love to hate him as well, but you'd be hard-pressed to hear boos from the fans if he showed up. I don't think he will, but if he chose to come back, he would be greatly received. Giants fans don't hold anything against him.
So, why again is it a big deal that he was invited? Would it be blasphemous for the A's to invite "disgraced" players Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco? Or for the Reds to invite Pete Rose? Why not send them invitations? The Giants probably won't get any response, but it would be a great addition to an already stellar cast of attendants.