Play or not play, stay or leave, Barry Bonds spent 15 years in San Francisco polarizing a community and the baseball world.
This was, last summer, the most cynical deal possible between a sports team and an athlete, the Giants unwilling to say goodbye to the troublesome outfielder knowing he could attract huge crowds and revenues in his historic home run chase, and Bonds happy to take another year's enormous salary. The Giants undoubtedly knew they would not be able to fashion a winner with Bonds as the central figure, and Bonds himself appeared like he could care less about that facet of the sport.
You can't even say it went sour because the Giants announced last week that they won't be bringing Bonds back next season.
The team got what it wanted. Bonds got what he wanted, even if he's been booted out, rather than ending his San Francisco run in triumph.
When it was officially all over, it left a crowd of confusion. Even the San Francisco Chronicle, which has doggedly pursued Bonds and accusations of steroid use, couldn't quite decide how it felt, and in a unique decision printed two separate versions of its front page on Saturday to reflect to very different attitudes towards the aged star.
It's not that unusual for a relationship to end like this between a team and a star. It happens all the time, mostly when the star is unwilling to say his skills have deteriorated and the team decides it can no longer win with that player or wants to spend money elsewhere.
But it doesn't usually happen immediately after a season in which an historic accomplishment is recorded. You couldn't see Green Bay just dumping Brett Favre now, for example.
And its not like Bonds, who is hitting .279 with 28 home runs (he's at 762 now) and 66 RBIs in only 337 at-bats can't play at all anymore.
"He's still their best player," said former teammate Moises Alou.
But the Giants don't want him anymore because from a business point of view, they've decided they no longer need him. The profited from their cynical deal and now want to move on.
But it seems so very likely some other team will decide it does need Bonds. This isn't over yet.