Any Major League Baseball teams looking to add power and substantial legal and ethical problems to their line-up should take immediate notice -- Barry Bonds would like to play baseball in 2009.
Now that his perjury and obstruction of justice federal trial has been delayed until at least the All-Star Break, Barry has instructed his agent to put out feelers to all 30 MLB teams that his services are once available to the highest bidder. Or more realistically, any bidder willing to grab the walking, talking electric third rail that is baseball's all-time home run champion.
Barry Bonds back in baseball? To paraphrase Roy Scheider in Jaws, "We're gonna need a bigger batting helmet."
Bonds' agent Jeff Borris, not to be confused with Manny Ramirez' similarly-named and similarly-delirious agent Scott Boras, said in an interview with USA Today, "Due to the fact that Barry's trial has been delayed an indefinite period of time, I will be making the rounds this week to see if there's any interest in Barry playing for the 2009 season."
Then in a display of honesty and realism that could get him permanently banned from representing ballplayers, Borris added, "I seriously doubt that clubs will give him the opportunity to play this year."
Let's indulge Barry for a moment and take this seriously. Bonds was available to any major league team that wanted him in 2008, and there were no takers. And that's when he wasn't even under federal indictment and standing trial.
He's 44 years old, so scratch him from consideration from any National League team. The only position the guy could play is designated hitter, his fielding has been an atrocious liability since way back when Clinton was president.
So who among American League teams would take him? Pure evil always looks good in a Yankees uniform, so New York is a possibility. Now that A-Rod's cousin has been banned from the Yankee clubhouse, perhaps Rodriguez could use another in-house connection.
There's also the small matter that the guy is standing trial at some point in the season.
Has any ballclub in any sport ever allowed one of their guys to play while standing trial? The Cleveland Indians' Jose Mesa missed the beginning of the 1997 season while standing trial on rape charges, but the Indians did let him pitch in Spring Training that year.
The Indians put him on the restricted list to start the season, but his trial date was actually moved to so it would be likely to wrap up by Opening Day. Mesa was acquitted on those charges, though Giants fans who remember Mesa's awful run as a closer in the 1998 season surely wish they'd have put him away for life.
The Indians, meanwhile, are the first team to go on record that they will not bring in Barry Bonds this year.
You don't even need to bother asking the San Francisco Giants.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer whose fielding has been an atrocious liability since way back when Nixon was president.