- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 2, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Barry Bonds regrets his behavior during his major-league career.

Which behavior? The “cream” or the “clear?”

“Me. It’s on me. I’m to blame for the way I was [portrayed], because I was a dumbass. I was straight stupid, and I’ll be the first to admit it,” Bonds, now the hitting coach for the Miami Marlins, told Sports on Earth last week.

“What can I say? I’m not going to try to justify the way I acted toward people. I was stupid. It wasn’t an image that I invented on purpose. It actually escalated into that, and then I maintained it. You know what I mean? It was never something that I really ever wanted. No one wants to be treated like that, because I was considered to be a terrible person. You’d have to be insane to want to be treated like that. That makes no sense.”

I wonder if he came to this revelation after he read his own words about him stiffing Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson, who had asked him for a photo before a Marlins game in April, only to have Bonds turn his back and walk away.

When Pederson told that story, Bonds reacted by apologizing and telling reporters, “I’ve never done anything to a ballplayer like that in my life.”

Maybe when Bonds read his own words — “I’ve never done anything to a ballplayer like that in my life” — it was too much of a lie for even him to handle, and therefore the confession of his life as a jerk.

I’m guessing the reaction from those in game when they read that was, “Are you serious?”

That would be news to Dmitri Young, who told reporters about being stiffed by Bonds at the All-Star Game in 2007. That would also be news to former Chicago White Sox slugger Ron Kittle, who, according to his book, once approached Bonds for some autographs to raise money for his charity, dedicated to fight cancer.

Barry, if you sign these, they’ll bring in a lot of money for kids who need help,” Kittle wrote. “Bonds stood up, looked me in the eye and said, ‘I don’t sign for white people.’”

Bonds claimed it never happened — sort of like not remembering turning his back on Pederson. Kittle offered to take a lie detector test to prove his charges.
Now, Bonds on a lie detector — that would be rich.

He may be the only baseball player in history to stand trial for lying in his grand jury testimony when he claimed he was unaware he was taking steroids in the BALCO case when he took substances he referred to as the “cream” and the “clear.” And though he was not found guilty by a jury, he was hardly cleared. When he stood trial for perjury in 2011, the jury deadlocked, which means some believed him, some didn’t. But after the trial, jurors told reporters that they unanimously believed Bonds had been deliberately evasive in response to questions about whether he had ever been injected with banned drugs. “He was evasive throughout his testimony,” one juror told reporters.

Bonds didn’t address any of that behavior in the story — just the jerk behavior. Of course, like narcissists do, he said he was a victim. The world made him this way.

“The expectations on me at a young age is what got me,” Bonds said. “During the Pittsburgh days, when we were starting to win a little bit, it was like it was all my fault that we didn’t win. I was a 20-something-year-old ballplayer in the middle of veterans, with [Andy] Van Slyke and Bobby [Bonilla] and all the rest of them, and it just came to this big, huge pressure on me. I was almost shocked by that. I knew I had good talent, but I was a fruit of a tree, and I wasn’t ripe yet. Not at that point of my career. The expectations were just thrown on me to carry that whole team, and I was too young to handle all of that. I took it personally, and I was offended by it. I also was really disappointed, and I allowed my emotions to get involved. That sort of escalated everything.”

Bonds must have forgotten his time at Arizona State, where, according to the Los Angeles Times in 2001, Bonds was despised by teammates. “I liked the hell out of Barry Bonds,” coach Jim Brock said told Sports Illustrated in 1990. “Unfortunately, I never saw a teammate care about him. He bragged about the money he turned down, and he popped off about his dad. I don’t think he ever figured what to do to get people to like him.”

Brock liked Bonds, and yet, according to Jeff Pearlman’s book, “Love Me, Hate Me: Barry Bonds and the Making of an Antihero,” Brock let his players vote on whether or not to kick Bonds, by far the best player on the roster, off the team. “The verdict was 22-2 — only two guys voted to keep him,” Brock said in the book.

So this notion that Bonds was forced into being a jerk in Pittsburgh is just one more lie from a pathological liar.

Bonds claims he tried to change his behavior in San Francisco, but it affected his play. After all, being human is a big drawback to playing baseball.

“We want the old Barry back,” Bonds said teammates told him. “I said, ‘Yeah, but y’all don’t like the old Barry.’ And they said, ‘We don’t care. We want the old Barry back.’ But the media never knew that was happening, and I was still being cooperative with [reporters] during that stretch, and they were still writing crazy stuff about me, but in that new role, I didn’t care. We weren’t doing well, and I wasn’t doing well, but I still clapped my hands and saying, ‘That’s OK, man. We’ll be fine.’ But my teammates didn’t like that person. They wanted the ogre back.”

The media, by the way, who voted Bonds the National League’s Most Valuable Player seven times.

Bonds — always the victim, even in a confession of so-called responsibility.

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