For obvious reasons, representatives of Barry Bonds keep calling J.P.

Ricciardi, general manager of the last-place Toronto Blue
Jays, has been suffering lately because his team hasn’t been hitting much and
because it has been losing far too many games.


Bonds, home-run king, is suffering because he enjoyed a
productive season last year with the San Francisco Giants and, at 43, believes
he has several more years left as a player. All he wants is another chance.

Bonds’ representatives believe both men will stop suffering
if Ricciardi simply signs Bonds as a free agent.

They keep telling Ricciardi they’re offering him a cleanup
batter for next to nothing, the major-leagues’ minimum salary, pro-rated.

Ricciardi isn’t interested. Not in the slightest.

Ricciardi doesn’t care for Bonds. He tells anyone who asks
him about Bonds that he considers the slugger a bad dude. He talks about Bonds’
alleged history with steroids. He says he can’t understand why folks would like
him to disregard Bonds’ personal history and reputation and “want us to accept
the guy with open arms.”

Ricciardi says: “If I’m going to succeed or I’m going to
fail, I’m going to do so with good people I can trust.”

The good people he can trust have not been performing. It
looks like he’s going to fail with them. It looks like he’s going to get fired
in the not-too-distant future.

  • Before Ricciardi gets fired, however, he’ll fire
    manager John Gibbons, according to U.S.
    baseball insider Ken Rosenthal.

    In his latest column for Fox Sports, Rosenthal lists Gibbons
    as one of three major-league managers who are on the verge of being fired. The
    Texas Rangers’ Ron Washington and
    the New York Mets’ Willie Randolph
    are the other two.

    Here’s what Rosenthal writes about Gibbons:

    “The Jays look great on paper, yet they're 11-17 (entering
    last night) despite a payroll of nearly $100-million. Gibbons seems to sense
    that the end is near; he refers almost daily to his tenuous status while
    talking to reporters.

    “A change, however, is not yet warranted. Within the past 10
    days, the Jays released designated hitter Frank
    , activated third baseman Scott
    and promoted left fielder Adam
    . Gibbons also juggled the lineup, and more time is needed to determine
    whether these adjustments will fix the Jays' sagging offence.

    “Ricciardi was responsible for signing and releasing Thomas,
    and he also chose Shannon Stewart
    over Reed Johnson, who is thriving with the Cubs. Rolen, probably the closest
    thing to a clubhouse leader, is new to the Jays. But Gibbons, a close friend of
    Ricciardi's, needs to get more out of his team.

    “One problem with firing Gibbons is that the Jays lack an
    obvious replacement. If Ricciardi was high on Ernie Whitt, he would not have demoted him from bench coach to
    first base coach at the end of last season. Bench coach Brian Butterfield managed six seasons in the minors, but all but 35
    games were at Class A.

    “Ricciardi ultimately could be held accountable for the
    Jays' failures, even though he has two years left on his contract. His questionable
    decisions include drafting Ricky Romero
    over Troy Tulowitzki, spending big
    on Thomas, Vernon Wells and A.J. Burnett, even trading Orlando
    and Miguel Batista for Troy Glaus, who later was flipped for

    “But if someone must pay, Gibbons will pay first.”

  • During his illustrious career in the major leagues, Roger Clemens was mean-spirited, a
    bully, cheap, greedy and insensitive – and those were his good points.

    Yet he was the Rocket, and he dominated opponents en route to winning Cy Young
    Award after Cy Young Award.

    Well, in recent months, he’s been exposed as a steroid-user and as someone
    who cheated on his wife and, wow, have personal opinions ever changed on this

    In reality, his transgressions weren’t much different from so many of his
    peers. The difference, perhaps, is that he wasn’t a nice guy, especially not to
    reporters, many of whom are taking delight in exposing him as a rotten apple

    And they reshaped public opinion about Clemens, that’s for sure.

    Just check out a poll on the Fox Sports web site. The question is this:

    If you saw Roger Clemens, would you:
    A) Go talk to him – the guy’s a hero.
    B) Not talk to him – he doesn’t want to be bothered.
    C) Not talk to him – he’s not worth your time.
    D) Go talk to him – and tell him off.

    Well, the overwhelming choice – at 60 per cent – was C. That tells you all
    you need to know about how the public perceives Clemens these days.

    You know, if he wasn’t such a turkey, I might actually feel sorry for him
    these days.
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