I wasn't thinking on fringe: Bonds would've had benefits

The Kickoff

December 08, 2006|By PETER SCHMUCK

Barry Bonds apparently will be staying in San Francisco, which is a big disappointment to those of us who secretly wanted to see some more big numbers unfurled on the B&O warehouse.

Call me crazy, but it wouldn't have bothered me a bit if the Orioles had turned out to be the phantom Bonds bidder that everyone was talking about at baseball's winter meetings. He would have looked great in an Orioles uniform, though they probably would have had to special-order the cap.

Bonds always figured to go back to the Giants, but all bets appeared to be off this week when he showed up at the meetings and reportedly met with St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa and his old friend Jim Leyland, who now manages the Detroit Tigers. There were also whispers of a secret suitor, which was just enough to raise my antennae.

(Not literally, of course. This isn't an episode of My Favorite Martian, despite what you might think of Barry's satellite-sized noggin.)

He's a marquee power guy who plays left field and wouldn't be put off by the fact that the Orioles have been living under a cloud of steroid suspicion for the past two years. And he would have saved the Orioles money because he has his own personal trainer and public relations staff.

I think he would have fit right in here. There might have been some friction in the clubhouse when he demanded Brian Roberts' locker for his 60-inch flat screen and insisted that Nick Markakis carry his bags on road trips, but those are small things next to the possibility of his taking a spontaneous victory lap after breaking Hank Aaron's all-time home run record at Camden Yards.

Oh well, maybe Preston Wilson is still available.

Media critic

Bonds' agent, Jeff Borris, railed at media reports that Bonds traveled to Orlando, Fla., to look for work, calling those stories "the most insane, absurd and irresponsible journalism of 2006."

Obviously, he doesn't read this column very regularly.

Royal flash

Could it be a sign of the coming apocalypse that the Kansas City Royals actually have spent more money in the free-agent market than the Orioles?

The Royals finalized a five-year deal with so-so starting pitcher Gil Meche worth a reported $55 million, or about $13 million more than the Orioles have spent on their four new relievers. I think the Orioles spent their money more wisely, but you still have to wonder what kind of message that sends to fans.

Soft pitch

Time is beginning to run short for the Boston Red Sox to reach agreement with Japanese star Daisuke Matsuzaka, who will remain in Japan for at least one more season if no deal is reached in the next week. The Boston Globe, citing unnamed sources, reported yesterday that the team is becoming less and less confident that it can meet the demands of agent Scott Boras after paying the Seibu Lions a conditional fee of $51.1 million for the rights to negotiate with the 26-year-old pitcher.

The Red Sox might have crippled themselves by overbidding for the rights, which could make the total cost to sign Matsuzaka nearly $20 million per year. If they do not sign him, they do not have to pay the Lions and he can come over as a free agent next year with no posting fee.

Of course, that would recharge early speculation that the Red Sox made the bid just to make sure Matsuzaka didn't end up pitching against them in pinstripes.

Random thought

News item: The NFL is looking into the possibility of playing the Pro Bowl at a foreign site sometime in the next few years.

My take: Frankly, I thought that Hawaii was far enough away, but if they want to put it in Tokyo or London, I've got no problem with that.

Titanic non-upset

In an NCAA early-season mismatch that hit close to home for me, UCLA defeated Cal State-Fullerton by 24 points on Tuesday night, but my alma mater jumped out to a 14-4 lead and stayed in the game until well into the second half to score a resounding moral victory. Still, I've had it up to here with UCLA, as you might have guessed.

I'm always tickled by the strange early-season NCAA basketball matchups, like Michigan State's 80-43 victory over IPFW on Wednesday night. That's Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne, if anybody was wondering.

Big Two headed back?

Speculation is mounting that the New York Yankees will woo Andy Pettitte back to the Big Apple, which would be a major coup for a team that badly needs to solidify its rotation and might lose out to the New York Mets on free agent Barry Zito. Rumors that Pettitte and Roger Clemens might return to New York as some kind of package deal, however, were largely debunked at the winter meetings.

Headline hilarity

This week's funny headline comes from SportsPickle.com, the Maryland-based sports and satire site on the Web: Upcoming Chicago opponents think Rex Grossman deserves to keep his job.

peter.schmuck@baltsun.com

The Peter Schmuck Show airs on WBAL (1090 AM) at noon on Saturdays.

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