A sad story gets a little sadder

It shouldn't have been hard to see this coming:

    The 19-year-old son of home run king Barry Bonds was arrested Saturday in Menlo Park for allegedly spitting in his mother's face and throwing a metal doorknob at her during an argument, police said.

    Nikolai Bonds was booked into San Mateo County jail on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and other crimes after he was arrested at his mother's home in the 1000 block of Valparaiso Avenue, Menlo Park police spokeswoman Nicole Acker said.


    In addition to allegedly assaulting his mother during the argument, Bonds smashed picture frames and vases, destroying $400 worth of property, Acker said. He also blocked the door so his mother couldn't leave, she added.

    At one point, he threw a metal doorknob at her "so hard that it embedded itself into the wall, but it missed her," Acker said. Sun Bonds was uninjured.

    Acker said police are still investigating what the argument was about.

    Police arrested Bonds on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, assault and battery, vandalism, false imprisonment and obstructing and resisting an officer, Acker said.

I don't bring this up to amuse or titillate. This is just a sad story that's not likely to have a happy ending. But I couldn't help being reminded of the day I turned against Barry Bonds.

It was almost five years ago, during spring training. Bonds was on crutches -- he would wind up playing only 14 games that season -- and for any number of reasons was not real happy with the world. And in particular, he wasn't real happy with the media. Bonds could have taken the high road, but that's not really his way. He could have taken the middle road. Instead, he took the lowest of low roads: he used his teenaged son -- who looked like he'd rather be anywhere else in the world -- as an excuse to complain about the writers (here's a photo from that day).

I know that a lot of baseball players aren't exactly devoted husbands and fathers. By most accounts, Barry Bonds' dad was far from a model parent. But this was beyond the pale. Bonds did something a parent should never, ever do: he used his child as a weapon.

That's the day that he lost me. I don't suppose it's fair, but I've never felt any sympathy for Bonds since then.

I feel sorry for Nikolai Bonds. His father has never grown up, and it's hard to imagine that his family life has ever been remotely stable. At 19, he's still got a chance to grow up, maybe even become reasonably happy. It's not going to be easy, though. Not with the hand he's been dealt.