Last week, in what was a surprise to absolutely no one, the National Football League reinstated Dallas Cowboys cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones, meaning he’ll be able to suit up for his team’s season opener against the Cleveland Browns this weekend.
And where was Mr. Pacman when commissioner Roger Goodell sent word that he was being granted yet another lifeline? At Hooters, of course. Sadly, this is probably an upgrade for a guy who likes to “make it rain” in the stripclub.
The news of Jones’ fifth or sixth “second chance” got me thinking – if someone who has done next to nothing on the field is warranted this many “do-overs,” then why exactly has all of professional baseball conspired to blackball Barry Bonds? Rhetorically I ask – do we really live in a world where athletes are given a free pass for their off-the-field transgressions as long as they deliver on Sundays? And if so, how can anyone justify slamming the door on Bonds, a guy who doesn’t have a rap sheet twice the size of his stat sheet?
The negatives against Bonds are well known – he’s a diva. He’s moody (okay, he’s an asshole). Oh, and there’s that whole steroids cloud hovering over his head. But the way I look at it, if Pacman Jones warrants multiple chances with a resume nowhere near what Bonds’ has brought to the table (he is, after all, the all-time home run king), then why can’t some team rent Bonds for the stretch run to the playoffs?
Last season, Bonds made the all-star game and managed to hit 28 home runs, so he’s still got something left in the tank. What’s more, he’s let it be known that he’d gladly play for the veterans minimum, which would be prorated over however many games a team has left when they sign him.
And if that’s not enough, Bonds has said he will gladly donate that salary to charity, so he’s willing to play for free, just to show he’s still capable of being a productive player in the big leagues. Much like a player heading into free agency, any team bringing Bonds in knows he’ll be on his best behavior as the world watches and lord knows Bonds would be motivated to prove the world wrong. Seriously, why would a team fighting for a wildcard birth be willing to roll the dice on adding an extra bat to the lineup? I just don’t get it.
Here’s my list of seven teams who should have grown some stones and signed Bonds for the final month of the season:
Boston Red Sox
Out of everyone in MLB, I just cannot figure out why the Sox haven’t made this move already. Honestly, it makes too much sense to have not happened already this season. “Big Papi” David Ortiz has been banged up all year and Manny Ramirez is now a Dodger, so adding a bat to the middle of the batting order should have been a priority for Boston. And don’t tell me there aren’t enough personalities in that clubhouse to offset Bonds, who as previously stated, will be on his best behavior anyways. Maybe if management would have made this move a month ago they wouldn’t be looking up at Tampa Bay in the standings. I’m just sayin’.
New York Yankees
The Yanks have a $200 million payroll and they still won’t make the playoffs. If you’re willing to commit that much money, then why not add a hundred thousand more? They could have added Bonds as a designated hitter in the middle of the lineup to give their underachieving lineup a much-needed kick in the pants, but I guess that makes too much sense (until you remember a Steinbrenner is still calling the shots, therefore all logic is moot). And we haven’t even mentioned that both Andy Pettitte and Jason Giambi are collecting a paycheck from the Yankees, even after the word “steroids” found its way into their lives.
Hey, why not? They’ve already had Raffy Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa, why not complete the hat trick? While you’re at it, call up Mark McGwire and see if he’s available too.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The team that brings in ever other over-the-hill or overpaid superstar (Nomar, Andrew Jones, Manny) could have happily stick it to their rival, the San Francisco Giants, by bringing in the biggest Giant of them all for the last month of the season. If nothing else, Joe Torre has shown he can handle a diva in the clubhouse.
Let’s face it, the Brewers are in unfamiliar territory these days. After years of sustained mediocrity, the Brew Crew has put together a team that might actually have a chance to make some noise come playoff time. The only problem with this team is that the core talent is very young and inexperienced. Bringing in Bonds would mean everyone else has to do a little less and would take attention/pressure off of young bats like Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun and J.J. Hardy. You’ve already accepted renting CC Sabathia, so why not bring in a proven bat too?
Why not bring him back to the city where it all started? The Penguins and the Steelers have commanded the headlines in Steel Town for a long, long time. Why not remind people that Pittsburgh still has a baseball team?
Call me crazy, but I believe if you’re going to put a franchise back in D.C. for the first time in decades, then you should at least try to field a product worth seeing. This is obviously a city that’s been without baseball for a long, long time. What makes management think people are automatically going to fall in love with these losers and want to see this sorry excuse for a team more than once? Everyone I know goes once to check out the new stadium and then says, “It’s nice. Call me when they field a team to play in it.” Take the hint. Sign players who are worth paying to see. Oh, and fire your general manager too. Then people can fully embrace the Nats.
Brian Murphy is an award-winning sportswriter who also goes by the name Homer McFanboy. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.