Sports fans reading the Guardian today were treated to an interesting article by Lawrence Donegan about Barry Bonds. Entitled: “Giant banished from kingdom by the small minds of baseball”, Donegan draws attention to the way in which Bonds is currently without a team, with the Players’ Union raising fears of collusion on the part of the thirty MLB teams.
Whether collusion is really a factor is a difficult thing to assess. It’s hard to imagine that there is any secret information on Bonds that has done the rounds. We all know what the issues are: he’s got the accusations of drug use over his head (a P.R. problem for any potential new team), he’s got the impending trial for alleged perjury (a P.R. problem and possible distraction), and he has the reputation of being a surly team mate who might negatively affect the atmosphere in a clubhouse. Add them together and you can well understand why the thirty teams could have arrived at the same answer independently.
But, none of those factors affect how well Bonds can hit a baseball. There’s no doubt whatsoever that he would provide a boost to several teams that, with one big addition or two, might have a shot at the post-season. So the acid test will be whether Bonds lands with a team in the next month or two. If he is keeping himself fit (which by all accounts he is) then he is going to be a compelling option for someone willing to take a chance. With all teams looking to find even the slightest edge on their competitors, it would be strange if not even one of them seriously considers him.
I’m not sure whether we’ve seen the last of Bonds or not. It will be very interesting finding out over the next few weeks.