Thursday, February 26, 2004

Barry Bonds should just shut his fat trap and not pretend to be outraged by the well-founded suspicions of others.

Rockies reliever Turk Wendell has studied the evidence swirling about Bonds and come to the conclusion that the home run hitter is not made of natural stuff.

Wendell says it is “clear just seeing his body” that Bonds has dipped into the black market of steroids to enhance his athletic ability.

Wendell is merely expressing the belief of a growing number of observers following the indictment of Greg Anderson, the personal trainer to Bond, among others.

“If my personal trainer, me, Turk Wendell, got indicted for that, there’s no one in the world who wouldn’t think that I wasn’t taking steroids,” Wendell says.

To which Bonds says: “If you’ve got something to say, say it to my face. Don’t talk through the media.”

So Bonds wants to impose a gag order on baseball.

Don’t discuss the matter to anyone with a notepad or a camera.

Please come to him, Mr. Touchy-Feely.

Bonds will hear you out in detail and explain why you are wrong.

That is a good one, considering the source.

Bonds is not too good when the sun is out, the sky is blue and he is coming off a two-homer game. He is liable to be surly to the first person who has the temerity to ask, “How are you doing today, Barry?”

He has no patience with such meaningless exchanges. He is too important to waste time on those who have not reached his exalted state in life. Can’t you see? He is at work. He is on a global-changing quest.

You ask: How is he doing?

He was doing fine until you interrupted his concentration.

Regarding the touchy subject of steroids, however, Bonds is willing to surrender his precious time. Go ahead, say it to his face. This is his phony appeal to Wendell.

“You got something to say, you come to my face and say it and we’ll deal with each other,” Bonds says. “Don’t talk through the media like you’re some tough guy.”

Wendell hardly comes across as a tough guy. He was asked a question. He delivered an answer, which is his constitutional right, in case Bonds missed that particular lesson in school.

Wendell happens to be a member of an ever-increasing club in America.

Honk if you think Bonds has been juiced up during his torrid home run pace, complete with before and after photographs and a birth certificate that reveals he is defeating Father Time.

If Bonds truly wants to meet face-to-face with all those who think the worst, he might as well call it a season right now. There are not enough days left in the year to schedule one-on-one meetings with all the members of the club.

Instead of worrying about the opinions of others, Bonds might want to be considering his options if his trainer starts singing like a canary to investigators.

His contention to submit to a drug test is after the fact. He might be incredibly clean at the moment, which hardly addresses his 73 home runs in 2001 and his relationship to a trainer who admits he was the candy man to the stars.

Bonds is left to demand that you ignore the home run surge, the relationship and the indictments and take his word that all is well in his neighborhood. He expects you to believe he was ignorant of his buddy’s activities and their magical results.

We can go there if he insists.

Until the legal work is completed, maybe Bonds is the victim of a crazy conspiracy and only too eager to allay the fears to anyone who bothers to ask.

To be fair to everyone, however, Bonds must accept the compelling implications and suspend the jerk act.

People are entitled to their views, accurate or not, and Bonds must concede the mess does not look good in his portfolio.

If anything, given that it is his name being dragged through the mud, he should be pleading his case to anyone with an ear each day.

The first step is conceding how people could have the wrong idea.

That is what an innocent person might do.

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