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  • M. Scott

Unveiling Hidden Benefits: Hidden Benefit of AMEX Platinum and Barry Bonds

I was a Military Brat. I went to 13 different schools from kindergarten - 12th Grade. No matter where I was, be it Okinawa or Omaha, I found a constant in baseball. Even during all the moves, I was always able to join a team and fit in. My brothers and I even figured out how to play a 2-person baseball game. We called it “Tag Up” and it killed a lot of time in new locations when we hadn’t made friends and were waiting on our household goods. It was a way that I could connect with my dad no matter where we lived. Since I didn't have a hometown team, I liked who my dad liked. I liked the San Fransisco Giants.

Since it wasn't geography, a few other reasons tied me to the team - one of those was Barry Bonds.

Be the Barry bonds of AMEX hidden benefits
"Barry Bonds authentic road jersey" by guano is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Bonds was both superhero and super-villain. And he didn’t care about being either. Still, he was magic. Because of Bonds, I learned that I did not want my US government wasting their time sticking their nose in a kids game. Because of Bonds, I learned that I did not care if steroids were in professional sports. Because of Bonds, I learned that I was apathetic for athletes to be role models. I didn't need them to be good with the media. I didn't need them to be likable. I just needed to see the best product on the field. That's how Bonds saw it too and he delivered in spades.

On top of what he did on the field, I came to follow all the off-the-field stuff surrounding him, from the allegations about performance-enhancing drugs and BALCO, to his connection with Willie Mays, to his treatment of reporters as a separate and unrelated soap opera. Even after his retirement, my fascination with Bonds grew. I followed closely to see how reporters would justify keeping the most (in)famous, best player int eh history of Major Leagues out of the Hall of Fame. I found it wildly fascinating how they seemed not to have the same cognitive dissonance that any fan had.

All of it was a train wreck and work of art. It was awesome.

Perpetually recognized as one of the most irritable characters in athletics, Barry Bonds' status as a sporting antagonist hit monumental scales amidst the steroid controversy and ensuing home run pursuit of the previous decade.

The controversies may have tarnished Barry Bonds the person. But I didn’t know Barry Bonds the person. I knew Barry Bonds the Homerun King, the sole member of the 500-500 club and a guy that would have been really, really good even without a baseball bat.

The entirety of my baseball watching childhood, watching bonds was like Kobe with the ball – You just got this feeling that he could literally do whatever he wanted at any time and the other players on the field were just willing participants. Despite the fact that he is arguably the best player to ever play, he was still under-rated.

Was I delusional? Yes. Was I in denial? Absolutely. I still am.

But I can't erase how Bonds contributed to my youth and teen years. My adult, skeptical mind suggests that Barry's personality should diminish his achievements. But my memories don’t agree.

But this article is not about Bonds (not directly anyway).

In April 2020, I stumbled across a series of articles written in The Athletic called "The Baseball 100." Joe Posnanski wrote a series of articles on the 100 greatest baseball players. In his list, Bonds came in at number 3 and was described as "the most absurdly astonishing player who ever played the game."

Well, I didn't stumble on this article as much as I was made aware. I never actually read it. The Athletic charges a subscription per month and I am too cheap to pony up the $71 dollars a year or whatever it costs. But every few months I would come back to this article. I tried to hack my way passed the paywall, I searched for free versions online, but nothing worked.

However, it seems that there is a new benefit for American Express Platinum credit card holders that may help with accessing articles like "The Baseball 100." AMEX Platinum holders already get 20 bucks a month in statement credits for several subscription services. One of these services is the New York Times. I've been receiving this benefit just to make me look smart. But now, it is really working out. The NYT recently acquired The Athletic and ipso facto, AMEX holders can get The Athletic for free. I could not connect my account fast enough.

It may be a little neurotic, but I navigated immediately to #3 of Joe's list and scratched a 3-year itch. My journey to reading that article was like being a Bonds fan - frustration & satisfaction, confusion & clarity, failure & success all at the same time.

I continue to find hidden benefits of AMEX Platinum.

Another thing – I honestly believe that if I had paid for that subscription three years ago, I would not nearly be as satisfied. I would have read that article and moved on. The fact that I waited – and rewarded for my delayed gratification – made the Barry/berry (get it?) taste even sweeter.

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