Never has so little joy been expressed in what ought to be the joyful pursuit of Barry Bonds.
Even his defenders, always ready to imbibe from the Jim Jones refreshment stand to show their fealty to Bonds, cannot enjoy the journey because of the polarizing background noise.
They can't win either.
Their screeds against logic carry all the persuasiveness of a Keith Olbermann rant on the state of the U.S., the Bush administration and the unenlightened oddballs who live in the flyover part of the country.
Yet the true believers have awarded Bonds a starting position in the All-Star Game, the erstwhile midsummer classic until Bud Selig declared the game a tie, and no one ever could see it in the same light again, certainly not in the fashion of Pete Rose barreling into Ray Fosse at home plate.
Hank Aaron is poised to take up at an undisclosed location as Bonds nudges ever closer to eclipsing his all-time home-run mark.
It is possibly the same undisclosed location that houses Dick Cheney, whose capacity to make Olbermann's head swivel in the manner of Linda Blair's character in "The Exorcist" is remarkable.
You fully expect a torrent of green bile to come gushing out of Olbermann's mouth one of these nights. Perhaps he could speak in tongues as well.
Selig could exercise his considerable power and call off the All-Star Game, if only to squelch the possibility of another tie and temper a renewed focus on the cap size of Bonds.
The question of his cap size has become a side industry all itself, not unlike going to the carnival to have a carny guess your weight.
Bonds has a very large head, as you know, seemingly far larger than the head that once sat atop his shoulders in the early '90s.
This is merely an observation from afar, not grounded in the facts that once guided Leni Riefenstahl or now guide Michael Moore, artistic giants both, and that goes triple for Moore.
The ballot stuffing held in celebration of Bonds is possibly an indication that the apocalypse is before us.
Or maybe it is merely an indication that it is San Francisco.
No explanation other than the dateline is necessary.
San Francisco is a state of mind, especially if you are high on peyote.
It is the 40th anniversary of the Summer of Love in San Francisco, and a momentous occasion it is for those not dead from the drugs, sex and questionable hygiene habits of the time.
Jim Morrison won't be there. Or is it Val Kilmer who is dead?
Anyway, this is the summer of Bonds, like it or not, and the hardliners unable to enter the post-BALCO stage of their lives do not like it.
The passion of both sides — the Jones-like sect that curtsies before Bonds and the BALCO-obsessed armed with an asterisk — is astonishing.
You might think the ardor would have ebbed with time, annoying All-Star vote or not.
Bonds likely would have made the team anyway, either with the consent of the players or manager Tony La Russa.
In any case, Bonds is not expected to be around much longer than the time it takes to pass Aaron, his sole purpose now on creaky 42-year-old knees.
The Hall of Fame voters will have five years to consider whether he is worthy enough, as he undoubtedly was before employing the cream and the clear. He was a complete player in a way Mark McGwire was not on his best day.
That is a fundamental truth, not a sign of forgiveness, and no forgiving in sight from Aaron and Selig.
A poll shows the public to be almost evenly split on Bonds overtaking Aaron, no surprise, really, given the nation is evenly split on almost all subjects.
The Supreme Court probably would vote 5-4 on Bonds, either for or against, not sure which.
In that context, Bonds perfectly reflects the times.