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What's The Worst That Could Happen?

This article is more than 15 years old.

Barry Bonds has pounded more homeruns than any other player in Major League Baseball history.  However, with the regular season all but underway, the 43 year old is still lacking employment.  Bill Littlefield believes this situation won't change, but can't help but imagine the endless possibilities of the slugger's hypothetical swansong.

Though I am not a guy much given to predictions, I am ready to say that neither the Boston Red Sox nor the Oakland Athletics will go undefeated this year. And I’ll go further. I predict that Barry Bonds, like almost everybody else in his mid-forties, will fail to find employment as a Major League Baseball player. Weird as it may seem, this is a radical notion. Many people who know a lot about baseball say that the general manager of some American League team that needs a bat will offer Bonds a job as a designated hitter at some point this summer, since the recent delaying of his trial for perjury and obstruction of justice means Bonds is not likely to be in court or in jail for several months, at least, unless he knocks over a gas station. The argument for hiring Bonds is simple. Despite his age, the alleged needle and the damage done, he can probably still hit homeruns. According to baseball tradition, after hitting a homerun, one is not required to run home. One can wobble. As long as one crosses home plate, the run counts, as do the runs scored by those crossing home plate in front of one. Those who maintain that this line of reasoning is sufficiently compelling to provoke the employment of Barry Bonds also contend that at least some of the general managers in the American League would hire Mephistopheles if he could hit homeruns. Which he probably can. So somebody might, despite objections that he’s not a good  role model. Anyway, the argument against hiring Bonds is that merely jogging around the bases might cause his head to explode, which would be a difficult thing for even a clever general manager to explain. The counter argument is that if Bonds hit, say, twenty five homeruns before his head exploded, fans of the team employing him would be so busy screaming their approval of his achievement and clapping each other on the back that they would not notice the carnage, unless the explosion occurred before Bonds could cross home plate, in which case the umpire might disallow the run. Then there would be a congressional investigation, at the end of which everybody would be stunned and nobody would remember that hiring Bonds might not have been such a good idea in the first place, so the general manager would be off the hook. If it happens that way, my prediction that Bonds won’t play in the big leagues this summer will look silly. That’s the risk people in my line of work have to take.


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