I tend to be drawn into talk of conspiracy. Was JFK shot by one man? Is there a shadow group in the world that controls everything economic called the Bilderbergers? Has our government kept hidden details of our interaction with alien races? Does the world work in a way in order to screw me at every chance possible? Again, I admit that my mind seems drawn to such things, and while some conspiracies are obviously very unlikely to be authentic, sometimes the evidence clearly seems to show that there might be more truth to some rumors than most would be comfortable admitting.
Today, I’m here to definitively state that major league baseball conspired, colluded if you will, to push Barry Bonds from the game. I’m not here to be mouthpiece for Bonds, we all know that his magnificent talents were likely augmented by non-legal means, but the bottom line is that he was still an extremely productive major league hitter when he took his last at-bat. Here is the data.
In his last season (2007) Bonds hit .276 with 28 home runs, 66 RBI and 75 runs scored in just 340 at-bats which is a pace for 41 homers, 97 RBI and 110 runs over 500-ABs. Does that sound like a man who was washed up?
In his last season Bonds posted an OBP of .480. Amongst players with 475 plate appearances that was the best mark in baseball.
In his last season Bonds posted an OPS of 1.045 OPS. Amongst players with 475 plate appearances that was the best mark in the National League.
That sound like a man who was ready to retire to you?
Alas, baseball continues to proclaim it’s innocence saying that no team wanted to sign Bonds because he was merely too big a distraction off the field. Given that professional teams employ admitted steroid users, drug users, alcoholics and spousal abusers on a daily basis, are you buying that line argument? Please tell me that you, my faithful readers, are smarter than that.
Why do I bring this up at this time? Because there have been some rumors that the Giants, his former team, might be interested in adding a power hitter to the mix given that they continue to be involved in the race for the playoffs through the NL wildcard. Here is what Bonds agent, Jeff Borris, had to say. “I know the Giants are dying for power, and they’re in it. They wouldn’t have to look beyond their backyard,” Borris said.
Question – would the Giants consider bringing Bonds back into the fold?
Do I have a night Friday date with Shania Twain?
Does that mean that the Giants are involved in some secret cabal with the other owners in baseball to keep Bonds out of the game? Certainly not. The Giants witnessed the disaster that is Bonds for years and they want nothing to do with a return to those times. However, I don’t for a moment think that absolves the other teams from the contention that they have conspired to keep Bonds out of the game. Why? You mean to tell me that there isn’t a single team that could use a 20 homer, .400 OBP bat in their outfield? That’s sheer poppycock. Do you know how many active players have ever produced an OBP of over .480 in a season of 475 plate appearances? Try zero. Do you know how many men own an OPS of 1.045 for their career which is the mark that Bonds posted in his last season (.006 points below his career mark)? Try one, and you might have heard of him – Albert Pujols.
I despise Bonds for what he did while at the same time pitying him a bit for the decisions he made. On his way to the Hall of Fame before he ever took any substance, Bonds and his legacy will forever be linked to the steroid age of baseball. Still, with the proliferation of despicable people in the game it is unconscionable to me that a man who posted a league leading OBP and an OPS over 1.000 in his last season on the ball field can’t find a team will to offer him a contract. That’s no conspiracy folks, that’s a fact.
By Ray Flowers