Wednesday, March 23, 2005

What's up with Barry Bonds?

In one of the most bizarre press conferences I've ever seen, Barry Bonds hinted that he might be done for the year after undergoing two arthroscopic knee surgeries since the season ended in October.

Any normal player in this situation would be understandably down, but he would not say anything along the lines of these quotes, which Bonds uttered yesterday: "You guys wanted to hurt me bad enough, you finally got me". Or "I'm mentally drained. I'm tired of my kids crying". Or "You wanted me to jump off a bridge, I finally did".

Huh? Did the media step on Bonds's bad knee? Are his children that shocked at seeing their father on crutches? And, who exactly asked him to "jump off a bridge" and why did he do it?

No, this is clearly about more than a bad knee. There a few of possibilities here:
  • Bonds is so drained by the steroid et al allegations that he can't play baseball for the foreseeable future.
  • Bonds's system is so dirty that he needs a year off to clear out because he won't be able to get by the more stringent drugs testing regime (remember: we were never and will never be told the result of his ONE drugs test last year)
  • Bonds's assault on Henry Aaron's record of 755 career homers was such an embarrassment to Major League Baseball given recent testimony, etc. that the powers that be leaned heavily on him not to play this year.
  • Bonds may actually be in more trouble due to possible tax evasion, a possibility mentioned by the NY Times this morning.
Whatever the explanation, and I'm leaning towards a combination of the last two, this is a very sad moment for baseball. Barry Bonds has dominated the game as no one has since Babe Ruth left the game in the mid 1930s. He's possibly the greatest player ever, but now, given all we know, his legacy is tarnished, if not destroyed, and the interest fans would have had in watching him pursue Aaron has been replaced by a fervent desire to see him fail in this quest.