Bonds Finds a Taker
Just before Opening Day, Barry Bonds was complaining about being ignored over the winter, and MLBPA head Donald Fehr said the union would look into whether the owners were colluding against Bonds. In addition, every sabremetrician with a calculator was scratching his head wondering why no one in MLB was signing the offensive powerhouse. After all, Bonds has unbelievable SLG, OPS, OBP, VORP, etc., numbers, and aren’t there a lot of teams in need of his bat?
Unfortunately for Bonds, the games are played on a real field, with real people, and real people get concerned with things like getting along with others and adhering to society’s rules. In particular, employers who are required to spend upward of 7-8 figures on a magnificent performer, need to consider “intangibles” — such as whether the individual will be suited up in the team’s pinstripes or those of a prison. These days, owners invest a pretty penny in building and guarding their “brand” — their baseball club — and very often, the output of one offensive freak is not enough to balance the “baggage” that comes with him.
Yes, it’s true that players such as Elijah Dukes have had trouble with the law before, and yet Dukes gets an opportunity to play. But there’s a slight difference between getting called into local court on a misdemeanor and being indicted by the federal judicial system.
But at least, Barry Bonds finally has someone interested in him. The feds have been scouting him for over four years, and are looking forward to him joining court proceedings in December. In fact, he’ll even get a personal escort, courtesy of the U.S. Marshals.
Now of course Bonds is innocent until proven guilty. However, if it were you or me or some other regular shmoe on the street, and unemployed, and strapped with a federal indictment, don’t you think it would be difficult to find a job? Employers kind of look down on people who are accused of lying to the Grand Jury — even if it hasn’t yet been proven. And if you were already well-known in your industry as a malcontent, it would be doubly hard to get an interview — no matter how talented you were. Considering that few of us command a salary in the millions — and rare are the guaranteed contracts — it’s easy to understand how and why Barry Bonds remains unsigned, and likely has taken his last MLB at-bat.