David Brown

Obit: Agent pronounces Barry Bonds' playing career dead

Big League Stew

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After 22 seasons in the major leagues, Barry Lamar Bonds' playing career has died.

It ended not with a home run — or even a strikeout — as it should be in baseball. Instead, it ends in semi-exile, without even a phone call to lift Bonds from the unemployment line.

His agent, Jeff Borris, told the San Francisco Chronicle as much Thursday, saying it's all-but impossible for the 45-year-old Bonds to find work heading into 2010.

From the Chronicle:

"It's two years since he played his last game, and if there was any chance he'd be back in a major-league uniform, it would have happened by now," Borris said. "When 2008 came around, I couldn't get him a job. When 2009 came around, I couldn't get him a job. Now, 2010 ... I'd say it's nearly impossible. It's an unfortunate ending to a storied career."

Storied? Oh, thought Borris said "steroid" there for a moment.

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Sadly, steroids are what Bonds is remembered for. Not his 762 homers, or 14 All-Star Games or seven NL MVP awards. Well, fans remember all of that, too — just with a healthy injection of asterisks. And the cloud of an indictment that accuses Bonds of lying to a federal grand jury about knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs.

Bonds repeatedly has said he won't retire, so Borris' acknowledgement is the closest anyone will get to closure for now.

The players' union might pursue collusion charges against baseball owners, the hypocritical enablers who helped create the Bonds Frankenstein. If they're not the Mad Doctor himself (BALCO's Victor Conte plays that role) the owners acted as Igor the henchman, looking the other way and even passively encouraging him and others to juice up.

But even if they're guilty of conspiring to not hire Bonds, is there a jury in the world that would convict them? No matter how good he was, with and without drugs, Barry is the least sympathetic character in baseball history. He's unfit to inherit Henry Aaron's considerable mantel.

Bonds' last at-bat came against the San Diego Padres on Sept. 26, 2007. In the bottom of the sixth inning against Jake Peavy(notes), Bonds flied out to deep right-center. He went 0-for-3 on the day and made an error in left field. He was lifted for a pinch hitter in the seventh. It was Bonds' only appearance over the final two weeks of the season as he nursed injuries.

And that was all. It was over then, even if we didn't know yet.

There will be no services. Just a wake of disappointment.

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