Single page view By Skip Bayless
Page 2

If possible, he's even better and worse than ever. He continues to astonish, with his bat and his mouth. At 41, Barry Bonds is again proving to be the greatest hitter and biggest jerk in baseball history.

Feel free to substitute less printable terms for jerk.

No athlete I've been around has mixed my emotions the way this guy has. Mixed 'em like a Molotov cocktail.

Bonds Argues There are More Serious Issues then Steroids Right Now ESPN Motion

More than ever, I'd rather watch a Bonds at-bat than any other moment in sports. Yet his recent words and deeds have finally made it impossible for even me -- a Barry fan -- to separate the hitter from the jerk.

I used to be able to forget all the bad stuff when Bonds anchored his left leg in the batter's box. I used to rationalize that he was a much better teammate than most fans thought -- Jeff Kent was just jealous -- and that Bonds was THE reason the Giants were always in contention.

But now that he has let down his team and let down parents everywhere, I finally find myself rooting against this big, uh, jerk.

I'm not sure which offends me more: that Bonds damaged (if not wrecked) his team's chance to win the mild, mild West by delaying his return, or that, upon his first visit to Washington to play the Nationals, he scoffed that Congress has been wasting its time with the steroids issue.

As a sign at RFK Stadium on Tuesday night said: "Junk Bonds."

But yes, his comeback has been even better than James Bond in "You Only Live Twice." After missing the first 143 games with what he said was a bad knee, Bonds waltzed back into the lineup on Sept. 13, and in his first at-bat, battled San Diego's Adam Eaton for 11 pitches before hitting a tailing laser to left center that came within a foot of leaving SBC Park.


At 41, the man didn't even need a minor-league rehab stint. He launched No. 707 on Wednesday night -- just seven short of Babe Ruth  and that's four home runs in four games. That's even beyond Bonds.

And that's what makes me -- and others inside the organization and close to the Giants -- suspicious.

You assume Bonds had off-season arthroscopic surgery on his knee ... but with this guy, you never know. In the past, he told reporters with a chuckle that he sometimes misleads them just to get even for all the "negative stuff" they write about him.

You assume he hurt the knee again and had a second surgery ... but Giants insiders say the story the media was given was bogus. They say Bonds and his handlers wanted the team to announce he reinjured the knee when he banged it against a clubhouse table, when in fact that isn't how it occurred. So who knows what really happened, if anything?

You assume the knee got infected, as Bonds said it did. But who knows?

Remember the kill-the-messenger soliloquy he delivered to the media in spring training? The one in which he used his crutches and his son as sympathy-seeking props and blamed the media for reporting his leaked BALCO grand jury testimony and the claims of his former mistress, who also testified to the grand jury?



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