Muscle Sport Magazine

Bonds Sitting Home is Nothing Other Than Collusion

Agent Calls it Like it is; Home Run King Offering to Play for Minimum

As the second half of the baseball season is upon us, teams that are making playoff pushes start to separate themselves from the second-division clubs. The trading deadline is still two weeks away, and general managers across the league will be adding to their cell phone bills two-fold.

There is one number that hasn’t received any calls all year, even though what waits on the other end has some attributes that fit most teams’ needs: veteran player with playoff and World Series experience; averaged 128 games the last two seasons; is a free agent and will not cost any players or prospects to acquire; will play for peanuts and…is the all-time major league baseball home run king.

With the good come the bad, and with Barry Bonds, that is no exception. Yes, anyone who signs him would be also bringing along a circus created, caused and pumped up by the media. The BALCO steroids scandal will never go away and will be magnified if Bonds ever plays again. But it is hard to argue that his bat wouldn’t be able to help at least one team out there, and since when did sports organizations put anything ahead of winning?

Bonds may not be an ideal role model, but the treatment he received in every stadium sans San Francisco was uncalled for. Perhaps the only person that would have been booed louder would have been if Osama bin Laden suited up to give America’s Pastime a crack.

Since his contract expired with the Giants at the end of last season, Bonds has been home in California waiting for another opportunity. Although he is 44, he has always been in tremendous condition and has played with pain and still produced. Since his rookie season in 1986, Bonds has played in over 100 games every year with the exception of 2005. During his pursuit last summer of Hank Aaron, the pressure on him was at it’s highest and he put up nice power numbers. In 126 games, Bonds hit 28 home runs and drove in 66 runs, with a .565 slugging percentage, .480 on-base percentage, 132 walks and only 54 strike outs. Not too shabby for a guy with a banged up elbow and knees.

Bonds’ agent Jeff Borris said that he has made “sweeping” offers to a number of teams but does not expect any responses. Borris made a comparison to when Andre Dawson was a free agent who stated that he would sign a blank check and let the team fill in the amount. That turned out fairly well for “The Hawk” and Chicago Cubs when Dawson signed with them and promptly won the National League MVP Award in 1987.

Bonds would play for the major league minimum $390,000 and according to Borris, would be ready to play two weeks after being signed. He made $15,533,970 in 2007 with the Giants. Obviosuly Bonds isn’t clamoring to play for monetary reasons.

During Spring Training, the Tampa Bay Rays were said to have some interest in Bonds. There was no indication that anyone else even gave him a fleeting thought until recently when the Arizona Diamondbacks reportedly spoke about bringing Bonds in to replace the injured Eric Byrnes, who may be lost for the season. Sports talk radio in New York spent some time on the Mets possibly looking at the slugger to replace their injured corner outfielders, Moises Alou and Ryan Church. Then there was the rumor that the Boston Red Sox held a ‘secret’ workout of Bonds, supposedly to keep the designated hitter spot warm for David Ortiz while he recovers. None of these amounted to anything even remotely serious.

The teams should realize that last season was a daily sideshow because Bonds was going for the record. He would have had his ‘normal’ mistreatment due to what fans perceive as Bonds’ ‘cheating’ by taking performance-enhancing drugs, something that literally took on a life of its own and became almost a joke from city to city to see who could abuse him the most. But selling tickets (to cheer or boo) has always been the main objective, hasn’t it?

Borris told reporters in New York that the interest, or lack thereof, is coming from the front office, not the dugout. “There hasn’t ben a field manager who has told me he doesn’t want him in the lineup.”

Not wanting to come right out and say it, Borris eluded to the fact that Bonds is being ostracized because of his issues, and said all the refusals have raised a “level of suspicion.” He didn’t want to sound accusatory and use the word ‘collusion,’ but that is exactly what this is. Regardless of his age and inability to play the outfield the way he was once able to, Bonds is still a threat at the plate and can make an impact on a team if given the opportunity. His court case for perjury is not beginning until March of 2009, so he can sign a contract for the last two and a half months of this season and then make a clean break.

That will not happen and there will be a game in September when a team needs a long ball in an at-bat versus a right handed pitcher. An opportunity made for Bonds. Where will he be? Working out on the west coast while a fourth outfielder pops up to end the game.

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