By Tim Keown
Page 2

There was an Associated Press story Monday that described Barry Bonds as "gutsy" because he played Sunday afternoon, a day game after a night game. You have to wonder what his teammates, without him under cloudy circumstances for 5½ months, thought of that description.

We're in the final week of the baseball season, and Bonds is dominating the stage. No surprise there. He dominates everything from the spotlight to National League pitchers to unbridled arrogance. He's great theater, especially if you don't let common sense enter into the discussion.

Barry Bonds
Barry's back in the lineup, and back running his mouth.

Last week he belittled the concern over steroids -- by the way, it's a concern aimed primarily at high school kids who use them to emulate guys like Bonds and sometimes end up killing themselves -- by challenging reporters on their donations to hurricane relief. He said Congress should leave him and steroids alone because people don't have homes in Louisiana.

Cats have two eyes. Barry Bonds has two eyes. Barry Bonds is a cat.

And while we're at it, maybe we should suspend drunk driving penalties until everybody in the affected areas returns home and has enough money to live happily ever after. Makes about as much sense.

The man's lectures are elevated from farce to high comedy by one simple fact: He actually believes what he's saying. He thinks his logic is infallible, and that's a blessing for us all. Otherwise, people might be tempted to take him seriously.

He's as goofily preposterous as a team's being nine games under .500 with a chance to win its division in the final week.

Now he says he'll quit if his knee requires more surgery, telling the Oakland Tribune he will wait till next October and then announce his retirement, thereby making sure the Giants are stuck with paying him another $20 million.

And as soon as the Giants are out of the race this week, he will not play in the field anymore.

It's counting down.

Six more days.

This ought to be good.

This Week's List
This week's installment of "Pain, Injury or Oh-Hell-He's-Just-A-Kicker" stars the Eagles' David Akers, who set a record for grabbing his hamstring and still managed to kick the game-winning field goal in a 23-20 win over the Raiders.

Hard to believe people used to be aghast at the thought of ballplayers' drinking and chasing women: The latest little revelation (Rafael Palmeiro trying to drag down Miguel Tejada) raises a question: Who knew big-league clubhouses were filled with guys running around with needles, injecting each other with God knows what?

Because these guys sing like Celine Dion on helium every time it gets dicey: It seems the clubhouse credo -- what happens here stays here -- is thrown out whenever someone's butt is on the line.

Ballplayer: Jimmy Rollins.

Symptom, cause or somewhere in between?: Notre Dame backed out of a scholarship offer to Texas prep Justin Forsett two years ago; in the last two games, Forsett has rushed for 422 yards as a fill-in for Marshawn Lynch at Cal.

Rich Kotite's a Ferrer man, apparently: New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg accepted the endorsements of Mo Vaughn and Rod Strickland, even though the New York Daily News reported that neither is a registered voter in New York.

He also probably mentioned something about Bloomberg's "knocking one out of the park": Vaughn, in a classic line that had to be written by someone with zero sports savvy, said, "In my day, let me tell you, I was never afraid to step into the batter's box against anyone, and I'm not afraid to step up for Michael Bloomberg."

So if you happen to hear someone say, "You never know -- crazier things have happened," you can tell them they're lying: If the Giants come back to win the National League West, crazier things haven't happened.

At the risk of getting too technical with it, but since Derek Jeter has now joined the ranks of famous people who have received racist hate mail for interracial dating, it's time to ask the existential question: Given that Jeter's mother is white and his father black, do those creeps understand it might be impossible for him to not date interracially?

All you can say is, "Arizona Cardinals football": The oddest moment of Week 3 of the NFL season was Kurt Warner's groin injury -- an awkward single-car accident with no defender in sight.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, your starting quarterback, Brooks Bollinger! The Jets managed just 168 yards in their overtime loss to the Jaguars.

Yeah, but for years they've been telling him he looks big for a kicker: Cowboys kicker Jose Cortez challenging Larry Allen and finding out what so many defensive linemen have discovered over the years -- don't.

And finally, he's just lucky those guys didn't shave his eyebrows and draw cat whiskers on his face with a Sharpie: Tiger Woods' hair looks like something that someone might wake up with after a night of hazing in a fraternity house.

Tim Keown is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.


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