Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Even Bonds' Contract Stinks

The Giants new deal with Barry Bonds has an unprecedented stipulation. If Bonds is indicted with Federal steroids charges, San Francisco can void his contract.

Barry Bonds gave the San Francisco Giants the right to terminate his $15.8 million, one-year contract if he is indicted.

The unusual provision, included in the deal that was completed Monday night, protects the team in case Bonds is charged in the federal government's steroids investigation.

Under 7(b)(1), a team may terminate a contract if the player shall "fail, refuse or neglect to conform his personal conduct to the standards of good citizenship and good sportsmanship or to keep himself in first-class physical condition or to obey the club's training rules."

Section 7(b)(3) gives the team the right to end the deal if a player shall "fail, refuse or neglect to render his services hereunder or in any manner materially breach this contract."

In addition, the Giants have the less drastic option of converting Bonds' deal to nonguaranteed, the baseball executive said. Players with nonguaranteed contracts can be released before opening day for 30 or 45 days' termination pay, depending on the timing.

Brian Sabean sounds more like Carlo Gambino concealing a paper trail than a baseball general manager protecting himself from public backlash and financial liability. But these are the burdens emanating from steroids' black cloud. Pretty soon Major League managers will be accompanied by their own personal lawyer - in the dugout - to avoid legal trouble.

In the mean time, Chris Henry has been arrested for the third time this season, raising the Bengals tally to nine players arrested in thirteen months. Tank Johnson's impression of Luca Brasi (along with countless other potential black eyes) have been completely ignored by the NFL and by extension the viewing public. Justifying the statement: the NFL is bulletproof and MLB is not.

Also contained in Bar-oid's new contract comes the banishment of his million-man entourage. No longer can his wisterol-hoarding cronies enjoy the Lazyboy recliner or 80 inch plasma housed in Barry's wing of the Giants clubhouse.
Under the new agreement, two of Bonds' trainers -- Harvey Shields and Greg Oliver -- no longer will be on the Giants' payroll. They also won't be permitted in restricted areas in any major league ballpark, such as the clubhouse.

"I have no problems with it," Bonds said. "[Oliver] and Harvey will be with me, just outside the ballpark."

Damn, what's next? Maybe they'll make Bar-oid warm up in the parking lot and sit in the stands when the Giants are batting. Sounds about right. In the mean time I will keep my fingers crossed for an indictment and subsequent contract termination. Who's with me?

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