Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Do the initials "BB" stand for "Big Baby"?

Did you hear the sounds of violins coming from Scottsdale, AZ yesterday? They provided background music for Barry Bonds as he threw himself before the reporters covering the San Francisco Giants, declared himself "tired" several times, and asked to be left alone.

Ben Margot/Associated Press

"You wanted me to jump off the bridge. I finally jumped," Bonds said to the reporters. "You wanted to bring me down. You finally have brought me and my family down. You've finally done it, everybody, all of you. So now go pick a different person. I'm done."

Those sound like the confessions of a near-middle-aged drama queen to me. But in fairness, Bonds might've been depressed after learning he could miss half, if not all, of the 2005 baseball season because of an injured knee which just required a second surgery.

The timing also seems convenient, given last week's steroid hearings in Washington, D.C., and a recent San Francisco Chronicle report concerning grand jury testimony from an alleged former mistress. In that testimony, the woman claimed that Bonds admitted to steroid use and gave her $80,000 in cash, earned from autographed baseballs, to buy a house. (That income, by the way, interests the IRS, since it was apparently unreported.)

(Keith Olbermann thinks the conspiracies reach even further than that. Under the terms of Major League Baseball's steroid-testing program, a player on the disabled list - who can't play, due to injury - can't be tested for drug use. Or, rather than continue to play, break Hank Aaron's career home run record, but eventually test positive for steroids, Bonds can now say he's retiring because of his knee injury - or the mean, pesky media.)

But here's where Bonds lost me - and actually made me hope that he doesn't break one of baseball's most celebrated records: During the impromptu press conference, Bonds's 15-year old son, Nikolai, was sitting next to him. He asked the cameraman in attendance to zoom out, in order to include Nikolai in the picture, "so you guys can see the pain you're causing my family." Class move, Barry. Trot your kid in front of the media and essentially use him as a human shield. Gee, now they can't ask you about steroids, tax evasion, and of course, possible adultery. Nice.

But hey, he can sure hit that baseball. Or maybe he can't anymore, and that's why we got the drama. Take a nap, Barry. That's what we all do when we're tired.