Single page view By Skip Bayless
Page 2

Friends and co-workers were calling me as if they'd just seen a movie that had shaken them.

Talk shows were filling my voice mail with breathless requests for reaction.

Their reaction to what Barry Bonds had just said was: OH, MY GOD, HE'S GOING TO QUIT!

My reaction was amusement.

The more I watched a tape of The Interview That Rocked the World, the more I chuckled.

Barry Bonds & son Nikolai
Nice props, Barry. Now come up and accept your Oscar.

The more I chuckled, the madder I got.

The gall of this guy.

The childish gall.

What you must understand about Barry Lamar Bonds is that he is one big, calculating, spoiled brat of a supremely gifted child – 40 going on 14. For me, a Bonds at-bat remains the most riveting moment in sports. Yet for me, the rest of Bonds' life is one long Maalox moment.

So now America's favorite villain is trying to vilify the media.

That was the intent of his hilariously staged session last Tuesday outside the San Francisco Giants' clubhouse in Scottsdale, Ariz. Bonds wanted to shift the blame for his problems onto those who merely report what he does. With his performance as a tired, beaten man, Bonds wanted gullible fans everywhere to say: "The damned media has driven poor Barry into early retirement by ruining life for him and his family."

I must admit, Bonds was pretty convincing. Remember, he wants to be an actor when he's through with baseball. So I'll make him the B-Movie Oscar front-runner for Best Actor, Best Screenplay and Best Costume Design.

Yet this production had one major flaw. Come on, Barry, you don't give away the plot before you utter your first line.

Bonds didn't appear to realize that ESPN's camera already was rolling as reporters positioned themselves around him and his 15-year-old son Nikolai, seated next to him. Bonds did not qualify for Best Director as he ordered cameramen to "get my son in this, not just me, because I want to show the pain you've caused my family."

Ah, Hollywood.

Bonds was using his son as a prop. Nikolai wasn't allowed to have a speaking part, but he was wearing a retro Barry Sanders jersey. As a Bay Area columnist, I spent enough time closely observing Bonds to know that he doesn't miss a trick. I'm convinced he instructed Nikolai to wear this jersey to convey a subtle threat from his dad: Barry Sanders retired early; and this Barry might, too, if you people don't quit writing and talking about all the bad stuff.

Bonds also shrewdly used another prop – a crutch he was given after recent arthroscopic surgery. Bonds propped it under his chin as he poured out his anguish. Nice touch, Barry.

He dived into melodrama with: "You wanted me to jump off the bridge, I finally have jumped."

Then he leaped to this kill-the-messenger conclusion: "You wanted to bring me down, you finally have brought me and my family down."

Yes, it's our fault.

We chose a trainer with an already-shaky reputation – Greg Anderson, a high school teammate of Bonds who has been indicted for distributing steroids. We testified that we "unknowingly" used some sort of topical steroid that we thought was like flaxseed oil.



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