Barry Bonds just made you folks at the National Baseball Hall of Fame an offer you can't refuse.
He claims he won't report to Cooperstown, not if his record-breaking 756th home run ball is enshrined with an asterisk before he, himself, is inducted.
What a deal! Take it now, Mr. And Mrs. Hall of Fame. Enter the Asterisked Ball.
Exit the Bombastic Bonds.
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Call his bluff.
You're bigger than Bonds. You're bigger than any player. You represent baseball, its jewels and its blemishes. You must tell the stories that define its history.
Bonds knows the Hall is still sacred ground, even if the home-run record is not anymore. That's why he left open the door to, well, eventually walk through its hallowed doors.
"At this time, I will not be there. That's my emotions now. That's how I feel now," Bonds said in an MSNBC interview Thursday.
"When I decide to retire, five years from now, we'll see where they are at that moment, we'll see where they are at that time, and maybe I'll reconsider."
Let him consider opening up "Bonds of Fame." He's been hogging his memorabilia anyhow, in case anyone forgot how he snubbed the Hall and hoarded his artifacts from last season's record-breaking chase.
Of course, one of those mementos got away, landing in AT&T Park's center field bleachers on Aug. 7. A New York fashion designer bought home-run ball No. 756 and let the public determine its fate with an Internet vote. The consensus: Brand it with an asterisk and send it to Cooperstown.
Bonds said: "You cannot give people the freedom, the right to alter history. You can't do it."
Um, didn't we just see him alter the most cherished record in baseball history when most people thought he had no right to because of his alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs?
"That's not true. That is not right, and it's not fair to me. It's not fair to me," Bonds said of being accused as a drug-fueled cheat.
"That's not true, that's not fair. ... I have nothing to hide."
Ah, but he'll hide out if the Hall of Fame dares display Exhibit A of baseball's home-run fueled Steroid Era. That piece, indeed, represents his claim to "fame," the ball with which he eclipsed the home-run record under a cloud of suspicion.
Bonds says you'll "never" see him in the Hall of Fame if that asterisked ball beats him there. He says he won't go.
Cooperstown can call, but he won't show.
Then he chuckles, as if he's above the little museum, like he's got somewhere better to be (perhaps Anaheim, Texas, Seattle or even New York's other home of expensive artifacts, the Yankees).
He knows the Hall will leave him a key under the mat if baseball writers grant him entry. However, there still is a federal grand jury convened.
Indicted or inducted, which do you prefer, Mr. Bonds?
He says he has a lot of games remaining. This Hall of Fame mumbo jumbo must be one of them, acting as if he's purifying baseball from vandals.
Former New York Giants linebacker Harry Carson once wrote a letter to the Pro Football Hall of Fame demanding his name be withdrawn from consideration, so insulted was he after initially be snubbed by electors. Last year, Carson was enshrined -- and get this, Barry -- he showed up for the ceremony.
When it comes to Bonds' old Giants, he wishes they would reconsider and hire him again. Hey, he says all he wanted last season was a couple more home runs so he could retire on 764, thus reflecting the month (July) and year (1964) in which baseball's all-time home run leader was born.
The Giants won't bite. Nor should they. Yet he's convinced he'll retire as a Giant, whenever that ceremonial-contract signing day comes.
"Oh hell yeah," Bonds said. "No matter what, that's my house. No one's going to take that away. No one ever. No one's going to take the love of that city of me away, ever."
Paging Alex Rodriguez. The Giants have a vacant house at Third and King for you, and they'll even pay you twice Bonds' former salary to play there. (But, please, don't come panhandling for $350 million!)
At least you can count on seeing Rodriguez inducted to the Hall of Fame someday, even if Scott Boras demands an outrageous appearance fee for his client.
Plus, Rodriguez's record-breaking home-run ball will nudge Bonds' out of Cooperstown's doors soon enough. Until then, display away, and let Bonds squirm.
A seven-time National League MVP, he still is likely a first-ballot Hall of Famer. If the Hall calls his bluff, he can be a first-ballot boycotter, too.
And when he snubs his enshrinement ceremony, Pete Rose can stand in for him.