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Barry Bonds wasn't colluded against by Major League Baseball

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Or, at least, there isn't enough evidence to prove it.

Still the best picture in my entire photo tool.
Still the best picture in my entire photo tool.
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Barry Bonds lost his grievance against Major League Baseball this week, according to Jon Heyman, with an arbitrator ruling that there wasn't enough evidence to prove Bonds's claim of collusion.

Bonds's argument went like this: "I literally had a .480 on-base percentage and was willing to play for the league-minimum salary."

MLB's argument was this: "No one wanted to touch him because of the steroids and the jerkishness. Everyone arrived at this decision independently."

To which Bonds responded, "I literally had a .480 on-base percentage and was willing to play for the league-minimum salary."

The grievance was filed in May. Since then, they've been doing nothing but repeating those two arguments. Possibly while sitting around a long conference table, with people bringing them sandwiches every four hours.

"I literally had a .480 on-base percentage and was willing to play for the league-minimum salary."

"Dental plan."

"I literally had a .480 on-base percentage and was willing to play for the league-minimum salary."

"Dental plan."

Do you want to know the crazy thing, though? If you were around in 2007 and paying attention, you can kind of see how it didn't have to be collusion. As in, 30 teams all independently might have wanted to avoid the situation completely. That's how toxic the steroid battle was back then. These days, you can sign Nelson Cruz and Jhonny Peralta, and no one gives a rip. Back then, though, it was like Bonds ate a kitten on live TV. And you had to deal with the personality, which was famously disagreeable and occasionally toxic. It didn't seem that odd at the time. Just unfortunate and dumb.

The Tampa Bay Rays made the World Series the following year, and not only was their DH not very good, but he had spent the previous season in a substance-abuse program and was arrested for assaulting his wife and violating a restraining order months before the season started. The Rays said, "Oh, no way, not Barry Bonds for $400,000, no sir, don't want to deal with it." In my preferred alternate timeline, this decision cost the Rays the World Series.

But there's no way to prove that someone told them not to sign him. Because there might not have that someone. It's hard to imagine, but it made sense at the time.

With this final hurdle/complication out of the way, the door is slightly ajar for Bonds to return to baseball in some capacity. He really, really, really doesn't seem like the kind of coach who would spend 300 14-hour days on his craft, so we're talking as an advisor or consultant. Alex Rodriguez is a fan. Dexter Fowler, too. Bonds probably sneezed on Matt Duffy, for all we know.

The next thing you read about Barry Bonds might be baseball-related. That's the big takeaway from this. No more court, no more arbitration. Baseball and dumb Hall of Fame arguments, that's it. There's a pinprick of light at the end of a looooooooooooong tunnel. Don't worry about how long it is. Bonds is going to walk.

In conclusion:

(Please read this and this for more Barry Bonds-related content.)