December 10, 2009

Agent: It's Over for Barry Bonds: Jeff Borris, the agent for Barry Bonds, believes the 45-year-old will never take another at-bat in the Major Leagues. "It's two years since he played his last game, and if there was any chance he'd be back in a major-league uniform, it would have happened by now," Borris told the San Francisco Chronicle.

posted by rcade to baseball at 12:22 PM - 32 comments

"When 2008 came around, I couldn't get him a job. When 2009 came around, I couldn't get him a job. Now, 2010 ... I'd say it's nearly impossible. It's an unfortunate ending to a storied career."

Wow. That's just asking for a "typo".

posted by grum@work at 12:26 PM on December 10

I also want to point out it has been SIX YEARS since he testified to the grand jury.

Hey prosecutors, how's that perjury case going?

posted by grum@work at 12:33 PM on December 10

Okay, I have a strong bias on this issue (pro-Bonds), but I still had to chortle at grum's observation of the storied/steroid anagram. :)

But Borris is right- MLB won't take Barry back, and for no good reason, so at this point it's simply not going to happen. Even two years ago, when he offered his services in the second half at the major league minimum to be donated to charity, no team took him up on it. And despite arguments to the contrary about somehow he just wouldn't be a fit anywhere, a top-tier HoF caliber hitter coming off a 1.000+ OPS season would have made a hell of a stretch run acquisition for a number of teams- and certainly no less disruptive than many other pickups.

Bonds' inability to get any contract, even at league minimum, does not pass the smell test. It's collusion, if hard to prove, and it was a disgrace: possibly the greatest player that ever lived- almost certainly in the top 5 greatest hitters- unofficially banned from baseball. Since it's come out that the post-Barry "saviors" like A-Rod and Manny and even Ortiz were just as guilty, the morality police have no leg to stand on. He'll not even be in the HoF, at least not for a few years of eligibility, despite having more case to be a 1st ballot, 100% vote getter than just about anyone since Babe Ruth or Willie Mays.

And as a fan, I was denied the privilege of watching his 3,000th hit or 2,000th RBI, or 800th homerun, or him breaking/extending other records, all so Bud Selig and Co. could look like they were "getting tough" on an issue that I think a majority of fans didn't really care about (but a majority of talentless sportswriters did).

The railroading of Barry Bonds- by baseball and by the media- is one of the more shameful and unjust scapegoatings I've seen in baseball. And I'll bet dollars to donuts that he's ultimately never convicted of anything but bad timing and black skin in the court of public opinion.

posted by hincandenza at 12:42 PM on December 10

In other news, the sky is still blue.

posted by trox at 12:51 PM on December 10

And I'll bet dollars to donuts that he's ultimately never convicted of anything but bad timing and black skin in the court of public opinion.

I was kinda with you till you threw the black skin comment in. Hank Aaron was black and gets his recognition. Did Bonds cheat? YES. Did they ever really prove it? not really. Does being black have anything to do with it? NO!!!! just ask Mark McGwire.

posted by Debo270 at 12:56 PM on December 10

It's an unfortunate ending to a storied career."

Wow. That's just asking for a "typo".

I'll agree that the pros vs cons point to Bonds using steriods during his time with the Giants but he was a future Hall of Famer while with the Pirates anyways.

...as a fan, I was denied the privilege of watching his 3,000th hit or 2,000th RBI, or 800th homerun, or him breaking/extending other records, all so Bud Selig and Co. could look like they were "getting tough" on an issue...

I couldn't agree with you more.

I'll bet dollars to donuts that he's ultimately never convicted of anything but bad timing and black skin in the court of public opinion.

You had me at hello. I don't think it has anything to do with Bonds being black but more or less because he had such a bad relationship with the media, who by the way are the very same individuals who inducts a player into the Hall of Fame.

Bonds didn't need to go out of his way to please the media but he did act like a jerk in most of the interviews I've seen him in...that never changed my mind about Bonds the player though. The stuff outside the lines that don't really matter (I'm not talking about steroids) means nothing to me.

posted by BornIcon at 01:18 PM on December 10

And I'll bet dollars to donuts that he's ultimately never convicted of anything but bad timing and black skin in the court of public opinion.

Careful with that betting and baseball thing. You could get Bonds implicated on a whole different set of allegations.

posted by THX-1138 at 01:25 PM on December 10

Bonds' inability to get any contract, even at league minimum, does not pass the smell test. It's collusion, if hard to prove, and it was a disgrace: possibly the greatest player that ever lived- almost certainly in the top 5 greatest hitters- unofficially banned from baseball.

I agree with the statement, but disagree it was bad timing or the color of his skin. I believe if he had taken the tact that Pettitte and Giambi did by not denying the allegations, he would be in a lineup right now ballooning his stats. I think the court of public opinion hates a liar, and that's what most people believe he is.

posted by smithnyiu at 02:01 PM on December 10

The railroading of Barry Bonds- by baseball and by the media- is one of the more shameful and unjust scapegoatings I've seen in baseball.

I have nothing to add but I wanted to throw my support behind this sentiment.

posted by tron7 at 02:06 PM on December 10

I believe if he had taken the tact that Pettitte and Giambi did

But most people were biased against him long beforehand. He'd have to have been treated better in the past to have attempted the Pettite approach. Andy Pettite was seen as a Yankee and stand-up guy, so when he said he cheated, people mainly forgot about it because he was a stand-up guy. The tautology Bonds was caught in was not so friendly.

posted by yerfatma at 02:08 PM on December 10

But most people were biased against him long beforehand.

I agree, but Pettitte didn't invent telling the truth. They did get treated differently than Bonds would have, most certianly. But the bias against Bonds would have been less IMHO.

posted by smithnyiu at 02:27 PM on December 10

He'd have to have been treated better in the past to have attempted the Pettite approach. Andy Pettite was seen as a Yankee and stand-up guy, so when he said he cheated, people mainly forgot about it because he was a stand-up guy. The tautology Bonds was caught in was not so friendly.

Hold on here.

Pettitte didn't admit to anything at first.

He denied it (PED use) the first time he was asked.

Then, when evidence came out, he said he did it once.

Then, when MORE evidence came out, he changed his story again and said he did it a few times.

I don't know why people hold Pettitte up as some sort of paragon of truth in this matter. He lied when he thought he could get away with it, just like ARod.

This is like saying we should let Pete Rose off the hook because he's finally admitted to gambling on baseball games he was involved in.

As for Bonds and the HOF, he should be in there.

Even if you want to decide that all of his stats from 2001 and forward are to be eliminated (PED-math), you're still talking about the only 400/400 player in history, with 3 MVP awards (and 5 other top 5 finishes), 9 All-Star appearances, 8 Silver Sluggers, and top 10 career in OPS in 15 seasons.

That's a HOF career.

posted by grum@work at 03:19 PM on December 10

Do you really think it's about race? I'm asking that without irony; I just thought that the reason Bonds had gotten placed under such a microscope was his stormy relationship with the press. They, in turn, created the "Bonds is an asshole" conventional wisdom (right or wrong) which leads people to be less forgiving of his perceived sins than others. I honestly don't think it's a racist matter.

posted by tahoemoj at 03:30 PM on December 10

Pettitte didn't admit to anything at first.

Don't file me there. I'm just calling what smithnyiu describes as "The PEttite Approach". It might go some way to answering tahoemoj 's question to point out that we're already remembering PEttite's approach differently from reality while everyone remembers what a dick Bonds was. Whether he was or not.

posted by yerfatma at 03:40 PM on December 10

I'm with tahoemoj on this one. I also don't think it's a race issue. I also don't think it's really a steroid issue. What it comes down to, whether created more by the media, or Bonds' teammates over the years, or just by Bonds' overall attitude over the years, I think he's not playing baseball because he's a gigantic asshole. Accounts had him acting this way for years, not only with the media, but in the clubhouse. And when other major league stars think someone acts like a jerk, that is really saying something! Now he wants to act like a great guy, give his salary to charity, etc.? It was too little, too late. If he was a fantastic, personable guy who other guys on the team loved throughout his career, he'd be playing, plain and simple. They wouldn't care about steroid allegations or the color of his skin. And as with any comment I post regarding Bonds, I honestly consider him one of the very best all-around players in the history of the game, and would have felt that way had he hit 400 fewer homers in his career.

posted by dyams at 05:34 PM on December 10

Pettitte didn't admit to anything at first.

It's hard to believe the revisionist history that's happened on Pettitte. Here's a guy that admitted to nothing until he had to, and slowly let out more as he faced more pressure. Yet some how he's been turned into a standup guy, and that's BS. Pettitte is no such thing.

I think Bonds suffers from being one of the first to be suspected, and now that most people believe a steroid-aided Clemens was pitching to Bonds, he's probably too old to be worth the trouble.

posted by justgary at 06:01 PM on December 10

First, race has nothing to do with it. Nothing backs that up.

Pettitte did finally fess up, yes it was forced, but fess up he did. Bonds has not.

Bonds was a jerk for too long, even if some of his 'jerkness" was media created, he did nothing to alleviate it.

lastly, I think justgary is correct in that Bonds was linked to that first group of McGwire, Canseco, etc., none of them has done well with this issue.

posted by dviking at 08:11 PM on December 10

It's very possible that race has nothing to do with it, and I probably shouldn't toss that out so frivolously. I think in retrospect it's less race and more "who kisses the media ass", a tactic that Bonds- having grown up in the game and already jaded and unimpressed by sportswriters and making "the Show"- never embraced. And I think it's a shame that not kissing sportswriter fanny would basically keep you out of the game, especially so shy of numerous milestones- milestones that admittedly were only to pad a first-ballot, sure-fire HoF career that will probably lag until his final year of eligibility.

I still remember this excellent column from Joan Walsh at Salon back in 2001, when Jeff Kent and Bonds were teammates in the middle of a penant run, titled "If Jeff Kent were black". Rick Reilly, for example, has long had a grudge against Bonds that seems unjustifiably intense (which was the springboard for that Walsh column).

More important, the Reilly flap exposed a double standard in coverage of the Giants, Bonds and Kent that's sloppy and lazy and maybe even partly racial. Worst of all, it showed the amazing extent to which reporters' own experience of a sports star -- the petty slights or the charm and flattery -- can control the way they cover him, and how the star is in turn perceived by fans. Kent and Bonds are in many ways brothers under the skin: proud, hardworking, self-critical loners, family men with few friends on the team. Both have been known to stare through fans like they didn't exist and stonewall kids' requests for autographs.

In short, in some ways both guys are cocky assholes, but one is white and dutifully answers reporters' questions, while the other is black and does not. Guess which one's the media darling?

Reilly's piece was marred by his petty and palpable dislike for Bonds -- who once stood up an S.I. reporter, prompting S.I. to run a scathing portrait of the All-Star as a spoiled diva, and now Bonds refuses to talk to anyone from the magazine -- as well as at errors and omissions. For instance, Bonds' teammates did indeed pour out of the dugout to congratulate him when he hit his 500th home run in April, despite Reilly's claim to the contrary. I was there.

posted by hincandenza at 10:19 PM on December 10

That's just it, he still won't take ownership of his actions. I don't believe for one second that his trainer gave him banned substances without his knowledge. "Here Barry, have some flaxseed oil, and be sure to rub this arthritis cream on your elbow" If that's your version of "fessing up" so be it.

did the trainer give the items to him in unmarked containers? do you really believe someone like Bonds would take such an unmarked product? I wouldn't, and I'm not a highly skilled athlete that makes their living off of their body. These guys all knew what they were doing.

posted by dviking at 02:07 AM on December 11

The quote from that Walsh column bugs me: "one is white and dutifully answers reporters' questions, while the other is black and does not." What does race have to do with the simple fact that reporters don't like people who don't answer their questions? If Bonds treated the media like crap, whose fault is it when the media returned the favor?

posted by rcade at 07:51 AM on December 11

That's just it, he still won't take ownership of his actions. I don't believe for one second that his trainer gave him banned substances without his knowledge

How would he take ownership for his actions if he's in fact telling the truth? If his personal trainer told him to take whatever he was giving him and his trainer has been under Bonds' employment for X amount of years and Bonds trusts him, why wouldn't Bonds just take whatever his personal trainer was giving him?

There was been some behind the scene locker room moments that I've seen on television where a player is sitting on a trainers table and the trainer may give the player pills and the player gulps them down without a second thought. Or the trainer is rubbing the player down with a cream or lotion and the player doesn't question what he's being given. People ask why doesn't the player question what is being given to them when the answer just may be that the player trusts the trainer enough to believe that whatever they're being given is something that will help them with their aches and pains that they have to deal with on an everyday basis...or maybe they do know in fact that the trainer was administering them with illegal substances but as a fan, those types of questions should be addressed or asked by the individuals who can get answers, we can only speculate.

posted by BornIcon at 08:31 AM on December 11

That's just it, he still won't take ownership of his actions. I don't believe for one second that his trainer gave him banned substances without his knowledge. "Here Barry, have some flaxseed oil, and be sure to rub this arthritis cream on your elbow" If that's your version of "fessing up" so be it.

It's better than anything Pettitte ever said, since it was said under oath. And as much as people believe he's lying, they are STILL waiting (6 years later) for that "obvious" perjury trial to begin.

posted by grum@work at 08:53 AM on December 11

I think race is a factor in the pure amount of venom spewed Bonds way. He would be getting a hard time either way based on the situation and the media not loving him. But, the number of Bonds haters are astronomical and out of proportion with anything he has actually done, and the passion with which they despise him was scary when he was still playing. I can see why teams stayed away in light of that.

posted by bperk at 12:11 PM on December 11

The number of Bond haters has a lot to do with him holding two of the most cherished records in American sports.

posted by rcade at 01:06 PM on December 11

You mean Waymon Tisdale's jazz albums?

posted by yerfatma at 01:28 PM on December 11

Didn't Waymon Tisdale record more than two albums?

posted by yzelda4045 at 01:36 PM on December 11

8

posted by yerfatma at 02:02 PM on December 11

A sidenote on the perjury trial: its currently roadblocked while appeals on pre-trial rulings by the judge are heard. Apparently the usual turnaround on these appeals is 9-12 months (your legal system at work); as the appeal was made at the end of Feb. we're only just coming up on the due date for a decision.

As they were only days from jury selection when the appeal was made if the decision goes to the feds you'll see a trial pretty quick.

(Still wondering what is it that makes his trainer prefer 13 months in prison to testifying in the trial. For most people losing a year of your life is pretty serious montivation to cooperate).

And on Bonds' image/treatment by the media: see Albert Belle/Mo Vaughn. Belle got shafted for the MVP as he was abrasive, not because he was black. They will run with the bad boy image as it creates a nice counterpoint to their bread and butter, the clean cut/funny types (Griffey, Jeter, Ortiz, Fielder). Bad Bonds was useful, good Bonds generates fewer column inches.

posted by deflated at 02:06 PM on December 11

rcade, my dislike of Bonds predates him achieving any of his records.

BI, no I do not think Bonds would just take any medication his trainer gave him...not in the day and age that we live in.

My wife brings me a pill and says 'here, it's good for you"...I'm checking it out. Okay, maybe the $750,000 in life insurance gives her a motive, but still, I think it's fair to expect a professional athlete to know what's going into their body. I just don't buy that a trainer was so motivated to see Bonds hit more home runs that he juiced Barry without his knowledge. One of us is being naive.

posted by dviking at 03:08 PM on December 11

I think he's not playing baseball because he's a gigantic asshole. Accounts had him acting this way for years, not only with the media, but in the clubhouse. And when other major league stars think someone acts like a jerk, that is really saying something!

Exactly.

posted by cjets at 04:06 PM on December 11

Bonds and Clemens are in the arrogant and combative camp, and that is one of the reasons that Bonds was never invited back. Even if they did apologize their past actions and personalities mean than no one would think they were being sincere.

Only Bonds is to blame for what Bonds is "suffering" so please spare me the boogie men of the Media and MLB collusion.

I am glad to see the end of Barry in baseball, and I hated him when he was in Pittsburgh and I was a Pirates fan.

posted by scully at 01:23 PM on December 14

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