As far as I am concerned, I dont need to ever witness a Major League Baseball game in person for the rest of my days.

I encourage everyone to follow my lead. Why the anger and resentment? Well, many reasons, quite frankly, but the proverbial last straw in this case was provided by Mr. Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants.

At the writing of this article, Major League Baseball is in the midst of its annual mid-season celebration known as the All-Star break. This is where the leagues most outstanding and legendary active players get together and play the All-Star Game, a game that has always been for the fans.

The fans vote to see which players get in the game. The fans buy the tickets to all the events as well as the accompanying merchandise.  The fans are treated to an exhibition of baseball being played by its finest and most skilled players. The fans get to see their heroes all in one place and this tradition has been carried on throughout the years. While many players have clauses in their contracts that allow them to receive bonus payments for being selected to the All-Star Game, in general the game and all the surrounding activities are without monetary payment. The game is, after all, for the fans.

One of the great pre-game festivities, and a favorite among many, is the Home Run Derby. The Home Run Derby is where eight players compete to see just who can hit the most home runs in a short period of time. The home run is a classic crowd-pleasing display of a hitters strength and ability. Like all the antics during the three day break, the Home Run Derby participants are not compensated for the event. In fact, of the All-Stars, the Home Run Derby contestants all volunteer to play along. Presumably, they like the fun of the competition and the bragging rights that come with a victorious appearance. And the fans love to watch!

Barry Bonds, an All-Star and possibly the likely heir to Hank Aarons all-time home run championship crown, arguably the best player in the game, decided he didnt want to compete in this years Home Run Derby. That is certainly within his right to do so and I have no complaint with that. Voluntary participation means just that. Sure, some fans would have been upset to see the current home run king not swinging his mighty bat, but he wanted to enjoy a day off and he was going to play in the big game anyway.

Major League Cash-Hole!However, on Friday July 9th  it was reported by the San Francisco Chronicle that Bonds would indeed take part in the contest. What changed his mind? Was it his love for the game of baseball? Was it the thrill of competition among his peers? Was it the chance to gather some good press and help his bad-boy reputation? No. His love of the American dollar was the deciding factor.

The Chronicle implies Bonds told the League officials that hed only play in the Derby if he were getting paid to do so. He figured that if he was expected to work on his day off he should be compensated. That argument may fly for an honest working man with a real job, but to the rest of the world, the folks NOT making MILLIONS of dollars in salary and endorsement deals for playing a childs game, this is an outrage. Nothing could compare to the audacity and stupidity of this request, or so I thought.

Knowing that it is an exhibition for the fans benefit (and the Leagues pocketbooks) knowing that a player has NEVER been paid to compete in the silly little contest in years past, knowing that this would not make Bonds, the game of baseball, nor the Major Leagues look anything less than awful, the League caved in and honored Barrys request. Hes getting paid for public batting practice and being coddled like a toddler, getting everything he wants just because hes crying about it.

I have something to say to Commissioner of Major League Baseball, Bud Selig, as well as Mr. Barry Bonds.

Major League Baseball can fuck right off!

I am simply outraged by this display. Both Barry Bonds and Major League Baseball should be ashamed of this horrible selling out of the game. Year after year we have to endure rising ticket prices to justify even higher players salaries. The price of baseball at the Major League level has made it almost completely prohibitive for a family to enjoy our nations game. Just a hot dog and a beer at virtually any big league park will cost nearly ten bucks and Barry Bonds is bitching about a few pennies and missing a day off?

About the only way I can see this being enjoyable at all is if after the Derby, on the day of the All-Star Game, Barry Bonds is struck by lightning smack-dab in the genitals, incinerating his manhood into oblivion. Sure hed recover, since the steroids hes ALLEGEDLY taken have likely shriveled his testicles to the size of raisins, but it would be comforting to know he had to go on the disabled list because he HAS NO BALLS!

Right OFF!I truly believe that Americas Pastime, my favorite sport, has lost its soul. As fans have suspected for almost 40 years now, the game is not important to the players at all. All that matters is money. Ill NEVER deny a man his right to make a buck. When youre in a profession like baseball, you truly need to make the money when you can. An injury could end your career in an instant or worse, silly little issues like rampant steroid use could get a guy banned from the League altogether. But this is too much. Im mad at Bonds for having such gall, and Baseball for having no spine.

Throughout Baseballs storied past, there have been losses of popularity and love among the fans. The owners and players alike have tarnished the games integrity almost since the games creation. From the dawn of the curve ball, the Black Sox gambling scandal, and the prohibition of black players to Curt Flood, free agency, the 1994 players strike, and Pete Rose, there have always been things that have made people say, Ill NEVER watch baseball again!

Thankfully the beauty and inherent genius of the game is far stronger than all of the factors responsible for injuring Americas Pastime. No matter how hard people have tried, Baseball cannot be killed. It is arguably the greatest game ever devised and I will always love it. However, Major League Baseball is dead to me.

Is there a viable solution to this conundrum? YES THERE IS! Can I, along with many TRUE baseball fans, ever find a way to enjoy the greatest game of all without relying on God to smite Barry Bonds crotch? INDEED WE CAN!

Log on next week to learn more.

Incidentally, Barry Bonds has denied many times that he was holding out for money and being compensated monetarily for his appearance.  Howard Smith, MLB's senior vice president of licensing, insists that aside from a few perks the players receive, Bonds is not being treated any differently from any other player in the All-Star competitions and he most certainly is not receiving any money for the Derby. 

I knew about these denials while writing my opinion piece.  I just wanted you to get sucked into the story and come back next week.  I've been disillusioned with Major League Baseball for a few years now and the Bonds story provided an easy excuse for me to rant.  I know, I know...dirty trick, Andy. 

I realize that I shouldn't take out my aggressions on Bonds or baseball and I certainly shouldn't report falsehoods in this forum, opinion or not.  I feel an apology is due.  So here goes.

To my readers, The Cheers, and any "real journalists" out there, I am sorry for making such an emotionally charged statement and disregarding the facts.  That was irresponsible and wrong of me.

To MLB and Bonds,  I'm sorry I yelled at you.  However, you can still fuck right off.  And that thing about the lightning bolt to the balls...that still stands.  That guy hits an awful lot of home runs against the Cubs!