Barry Bonds should be getting the idea by now. A new baseball season opens Tuesday in Japan, and the best job offer he's gotten is from a minor-league team with an opening in media relations.
The pay isn't much, and the working conditions are lousy. But things weren't all that great with San Francisco, either. The Giants took away his recliner and made him get by on less than $20 million a year.
Bonds seems to be holding out for a better offer, sending word the other day he's in good shape and could be ready to play after just two weeks of hitting live pitching if a team comes calling. To sweeten the pot, he also reportedly offered to learn the names of his new teammates, or at least the ones who occupy the lockers on either side of him.
His agent is making the rounds, and his lawyers are doing their part, too. They managed to get his perjury case put on hold for three months, in effect clearing his legal calendar for the season and giving 30 general managers one less excuse to sign him.
Who knows? With the economy in the dumps he might even consider shaving a million or two off his salary demand.
For now, though, Bonds sits poolside in Beverly Hills, cell phone in one hand and Blackberry in the other, waiting for something that may never happen.
Nobody's calling, which has to puzzle the numbers geeks who spew out formulas showing a player's worth. They point to statistics any DH would be happy with, like 28 home runs, a .276 average and an on-base plus slugging percentage of 1.045.
Surely, some team would be better with the greatest slugger in the history of the game batting cleanup, even at the advanced age of 43. Surely, Bonds would be an improvement over, say, Jose Vidro, who hit a grand total of six home runs in 548 at-bats as the DH for the Seattle Mariners last season.
Surely, you jest.
His old team will field one of the most anemic lineups in baseball this season but wants nothing to do with the player who helped keep AT&T Park filled last year. The Giants received an iconic moment out of the $19 million they spent on Bonds last season but wouldn't waste 19 cents on him this year.
Many baseball observers assumed he would end up across the bay, serving as a DH with Oakland, where whatever fans he had left in the Bay Area could keep a close watch on him. But the A's open the season against the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday with their lineup set and without a whisper of interest in Bonds.
Tampa Bay threw around his name but didn't go any further, and Tony La Russa was told in no uncertain terms by St. Louis Cardinals management that Bonds wouldn't be welcome there. Other than that, the silence has been deafening around baseball.
Collusion? Hardly. Common sense is more like it.
Sure, Bonds may give a team in need home runs, but at what cost? Do you risk alienating fans by signing the player most linked to the steroid scandal, or risk dividing a locker room with a player who hasn't fit in with a group of teammates since Little League?
Apparently, teams have come to the conclusion that you don't.
Even the most desperate understand Bonds comes with way too much baggage and attitude.
He's made a career out of alienating teammates, management, fans, media and anyone else who came across him. His home run totals are as suspect as his hat size, but even without the steroid scandal he would be a dicey addition to any team.
The Mariners figured that out, even though their DH hit home runs at about the same rate last season as Bonds talked to the media. Howard Lincoln, the team's chief executive officer, told MLB.com the other day that not only was he not interested in Bonds now but couldn't imagine any scenario coming up this season that would interest him.
"No, absolutely not," Lincoln said. "No. No. No."
That's something Bonds' agent, Jeff Borris, has heard a lot lately as he shops the tainted slugger. Bonds says he has no intention of retiring, but that's no longer his call. For the first time since early in his career, he isn't dictating the terms of his employment.
Bonds should put down the Blackberry, turn off the cell phone and get used to the idea that his playing days are over. Teams don't want him, and neither do fans sick of anything or anybody to do with steroids.
The next time you see Bonds, it will be in a courtroom.
Baseball is done with Barry Bonds, and he seems to be the only one who doesn't know it.