SAN FRANCISCO — Barry Bonds, Major League Baseball’s reigning home run king, has made a daily habit of checking the transactions column in the sports section of the San Francisco Chronicle, just in case one of the 30 big-league clubs has decided to give him a chance to play during the playoff push of 2008.
Despite his phone’s silence during spring training and the regular season, Bonds is hopeful that one day he will open the paper and see that he has a new job, even if it’s not for a team in a pennant race.
“I mean, come on, [Gary] Sheffield has a job,” Bonds says. “If [Detroit Tigers manager Jim] Leyland wants an asshole on the roster, they might as well have one who hits better than .229, right?”
Bonds’ fine-print vigil has yielded one case of mistaken identity along with a false alarm:
- In late April, Bonds noticed under the American League heading, the Texas Rangers had recalled what appeared to be “Barry Bonds” from the Oklahoma RedHawks. It turned out it was “Brandon Boggs”; Bonds attributed the mistake to vision fatigue due to years of media scrutiny.
- On July 28, a “dickhead jock sniffer in the Chronicle sports office” (to quote Bonds) inserted an item in the transactions listings stating that Bonds had been signed by the National League’s Montreal Expos. A red-eye flight to Quebec led Bonds to discover the team no longer resided in Montreal, and the franchise, under the new identity of the Washington Nationals, informed Bonds that the team appreciated his subsequent visit to D.C., but “didn’t want to disrupt team chemistry.”
When asked why Bonds was relying on what newsies commonly call the “agate page” to deliver word of potential MLB work — as opposed to a phone call from an agent or GM — Bonds blamed it on the media, and the fact that his people skills suck farts.