Barry Bonds, the much-maligned
home-run king of baseball, is thinking of suing MLB for what he and his
advisers suspect may be a conspiracy to blackball him and prevent him from
returning this season.

But professional oddsmakers are quite certain Bonds will sign with a big-league club before the coming season ends.


In fact, they’ve put out a line heavily favouring the return of Bonds in
2008. Bettors must lay $1.75 if they wish to win a dollar on a prop that Bonds
will be back playing this season.

Those who believe Bonds will not be permitted to resurface this season can
win $1.25 for every dollar they wager.

  • The oddsmakers feel much differently about Roger Clemens.

    The multi-time Cy Young Award winner also is being maligned, much like
    Bonds, because of widespread suspicion that he used steroids.

    Yet the oddsmakers believe Clemens is very unlikely to pitch for an MLB club
    this season, which is why they’ve put out a line that you can win $3.00 for
    every dollar you wager on his return.

    And if you don’t think Clemens will be pitching this season, you’d have to
    lay $5.00 to win a dollar.

  • So did
    you hear that Clemens has been chosen the Unsexiest Man of the Year?

Calling him a cheater, a liar, a substance abuser and someone who’d throw
“even his wife under the bus,” Lance Gould, editor of a weekly alternative
called the Boston Phoenix, said: “If that’s
not unsexy, I don't know what is."

Clemens is followed
on Gould’s list by men such as CNN’s
Lou Dobbs, actor Tom Cruise, American Idol host Ryan
Seacrest and
disgraced ex-politician
Eliot Spitzer.

  • Here’s something that may make you shudder:

    Tigers photographers routinely shot inappropriate "soft core
    videos" of female fans at baseball games, according to a sexual harassment
    suit by the former scoreboard operator
    at the stadium in Detroit.

    She is requesting damages in excess of $25,000 on each of four counts, plus
    at least that much in exemplary damages, costs and attorney fees.

  • Dodgertown officially closed this week after 50 years of spring
    training in Vero Beach, Fla.

    The Los Angeles Dodgers have decided to follow in the footsteps of other
    West Coast teams and set up training camp in Arizona, beginning next season.

    politicians are concerned. Spring training, after all, has provided a major
    source of income for Florida
    for decades.

    Hall of Famer Reggie
    is part of a group trying to keep team’s spring training site in Florida. He met this
    week with Governor Charlie Crist,
    who is investigating the matter.

  • Seventeen years after he was drafted
    by the now-defunct Montreal Expos, Cliff
    Floyd is winding down his career.

    The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder will be in the American League
    this season, serving as the designated hitter for the vastly improved Tampa Bay

    “This might be Cliff’s last year,” Rays manager Joe Maddon told me. “And we’re thrilled
    he’s spending it with us. We think he’s going to help us have a heck of a

    Floyd, 35, is acting as something of a player-coach for the
    Rays, who have a bevy of exceptional young talent.

    “Cliff is amazing,” said the Rays’ all-star outfielder, Carl Crawford. “We’ve been learning on
    our own the past six or seven years I’ve been here. It’s been like, you bump
    your head real bad, and you have to learn from it. Now I’m glad I don’t have to
    go through that any more. We don’t have to fall flat on our face any more. We
    can get advice from Cliff, and that’ll save us from going through all the

    Floyd, who has stolen 20 bases and hit 20 home runs in two
    seasons, told me he views Crawford as a kid brother.

    “He reminds me of myself – except for one thing,” Floyd
    said. “If I had his speed, I’d be in the Hall of Fame.”

  • So what will Floyd be doing next season if this is
    indeed his last hurrah?

    Would you believe he’ll be bowling?

    I kid you not.

    Bowling is a passion of Floyd’s. He has rolled high scores
    of 275 and 280. He plans to open up some alleys.

  • In Los Angeles, the Angels are preparing to shut down
    Kelvim Escobar.

    And he may never return.

    The 32-year-old pitcher, an ex-Blue Jay who won 18 games for
    the Angels last season and is entering the second season of a three-year
    contract that will guarantee him $28.5-million U.S., has a tear in his throwing
    shoulder and likely needs season-ending surgery.

    He also fears that it might be career-ending surgery.

  • Mark down this name: Cutter Dykstra.

    He is the 18-year-old son of former major-league outfielder
    Len Dykstra, and big-league scouts are calling him a sure-fire star.

    Like his father was, Cutter is a high-strung, feisty outfielder.
    He’s 18. And, at his high school, he’s batting .444.

    The consensus is that he’ll be a first-round choice, if not
    the first overall, in MLB’s draft next June.

  • And, to answer a question I’ve received from many of
    you, I do not believe the Blue Jays
    will make the playoffs this season.

    Even if the Jays didn’t have injury problems – and they do
    because B.J. Ryan can’t come back
    yet, if ever, Scott Rolen has a
    broken finger, A.J. Burnett has finger-nail
    damage that won’t allow him to throw a decent breaking ball, Casey Janssen is out for the year and
    maybe his career because of a torn labrum and David Eckstein just doesn’t seem to have a strong enough back or
    knees to handle the artificial turf at the Rogers Centre – they’d be
    hard-pressed to finish in the post-season.

    The Boston Red Sox are a much, much better team. The New
    York Yankees may be, too. I’m not even sure if the Jays are as formidable as
    the Rays this season.

    My hunch: It’ll be a long, unpleasant season for the Jays. I
    don’t think they’ll win 85 games. And I think there will be many significant
    changes before next season.

And, if I’m wrong, well, it certainly wouldn’t be the first
time, would it?

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