Sunday, January 14, 2007

Bonds and MLB & MLBPA

Major League Baseballand the Players Association

The commissioner's office and the union are the behind-the-scenes superpowers in the contract standoff between Bonds and the Giants. One major sticking point has been locker room access at AT&T Park and road-game hotels for Bonds' trainers, publicist and the rest of his entourage. Giants officials and Bonds' agent Jeff Borris are also negotiating over language that would allow the team to withhold Bonds' pay for games he missed if he is indicted on perjury or other charges. How those issues are resolved could have a long-lasting effect on other teams and players, too. MLB officials and union leaders have refused to publicly get involved in this fight. But it's hard to imagine the players would not vehemently fight any language in Bonds' contract that would not guarantee his salary. It's also hard to imagine team officials wouldn't want as much flexibility as possible when it comes to a player who might be fending off prosecutor questions instead of fastballs.

It is also safe to say that just about anything that would force Bonds out of the game would be welcome in the commissioner's office. To MLB, Bonds is the game's biggest embarassment, and commissioner Bud Selig has not hidden his contempt for the generation's best player, or the idea that Bonds may break the all-time home run record held by Selig's friend Hank Aaron. Selig has told staff members to prepare for a fitting tribute if Bonds does get the 22 home runs he needs.

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