I haven’t cared much for Barry Bonds since the late 1980s, when he told me to “get lost” before I could even start interviewing him. He wasn’t exactly Mr. Nice Guy then and, judging by the way he’s been shooing away reporters this week with remarks such as “go away” and “take a hike,” he isn’t becoming any more pleasant now as he closes in on Hank Aaron’s home-run record.


But as big a jerk as he is, and as much of a cheater as he may be, I see no reason for the great debate that inevitably will surface once he retires.


Should Bonds be in the Hall of Fame?


My answer — and, remember, I dislike the guy — is that there should be no debate whatsoever. He ought to be a no-brainer cinch to be inducted the instant he becomes eligible.


Precedents, you see, were set long ago.

There are plenty of SOBs in Cooperstown. Ty Cobb is an easy case in point since he was a notorious racist. But he is accompanied in the Hall by a bevy of mean-spirited turkeys.

As for cheating — as Bonds is widely accused of doing by allegedly indulging in steroid use — there are inductees who corked bats. And there’s also Gaylord Perry, voted in in 1991 despite admitting to cheating with spitballs.

So say what you’d like about Bonds, but don’t say he shouldn’t be a Hall of Famer.

•And, by the way, MLB continues to lose credibility by punishing the finest singles hitter in baseball history — Pete Rose — and not allowing him into the Hall ... With baseball’s trade deadline around the corner, closers easily top the shopping lists of contenders. Montrealer Eric Gagne of the Texas Rangers is the No. 1 closer in demand, but also available are Brian Fuentes, David Weathers, Octavio Dotel and Joe Nathan... The Atlanta Braves have obtained Julio Franco — who’s at least 48 — because they’re dissatisfied with Scott Thorman of Cambridge, Ont. Thorman had as many errors, three, as hits (3-for-43) in the 17 games he played entering last night.

•Second overall draft choices are nearing mind-boggling jackpots, with Kevin Durant of the NBA’s Seattle Supersonics about to collect $40-million for an endorsement deal and Calvin Johnson about to receive $30 million in guaranteed money to sign with the NFL’s Detroit Lions.

Imagine what they’d be getting if they were chosen first overall.

•And, for CFL notes and picks, check out my latestCFL Report, only at www.metronews.ca.