Bonds won't reach home run record in 2007 

The Giants are crazy. In fact, anybody betting that Barry Bonds is going to become baseball’s all-time home run king this season should have their head examined. The man will be 42 years old on opening day. And I don’t care how great he’s been, there is one fight Bonds is not going to win and that’s the one with Father Time. I know Barry has done a lot of impossible things in his life, but beating that guy ain’t gonna be one of them.

Name any athlete anytime anywhere and, in the end, Father Time scored a unanimous decision and in the most painful cases a knockout. Without breaking a sweat. With this almost imperceptible, never-quit, snail-like style that fools everybody watching until it’s too late. He sucks the life out of a career.

The early signs of Father Time overtaking Bonds were all over the place last year. A jab here. A low blow there.

Did Bonds look great last year? Did Bonds make anybody think he’d play forever? I’m saying no on both counts.

You could say Omar Vizquel made the game just as easy as ever. Not Bonds.

A year ago, the season was pure labor for Bonds and Father Time was just getting warmed up. Sure, Bonds measured up respectably against any other major leaguer, but he was a far cry from his personal best. He complained about being tired, about the aches, the pains. And more than once a mere mortal got him out at a key moment.

Sure, Bonds did hit 26 home runs. Drove in 77 runs. Batted .270. Not to worry, Father Time will chip away at each statistic in 2007. A pulled muscle here. Plenty of soreness there. Works every time.

Barry needs 21 home runs to tie Hank Aaron, 22 to claim the record. No offense intended, but I’m guessing he hits 14.

The other Barry

Meanwhile, the other Barry in a Giants uniform might be as smart as any athlete out there. What does Barry Zito do when he suddenly moves into the high-rent district of baseball salaries? He moves into the high-rent district of the Giants’ locker room. Right next to the Giants’ other superstar. The other Barry.

The placement of Zito’s locker is just the first statement — and a nice one at that, with not a single teammate even remotely put off — that Zito isn’t just one of the guys anymore. Great move, Barry. Zito, that is.

Norv Turner

The 49ers ducked the loss of Norv Turner once, but couldn’t turn the trick a second time. The gaping hole at offensive coordinator will be tough to fill and figures to be as big a question mark as the 49ers will have to face going into 2007. Norv was that good.

And you can’t blame him for taking the San Diego job.

The Chargers are an excellent team that looks like a clear-cut Super Bowl contender, with a solid defense, an improving young quarterback and the best player in football in LaDainian Tomlinson.

But where else but in the NFL can the coaching switch from Marty Schottenheimer, who leaves with a 200-126-1 record, to Norv Turner, who arrives with a 58-82-1 mark, be a move that is heralded as a good one. What kind of math is that?

In Turner’s defense, he inherited 4-12 teams both in Washington and in Oakland. This time, he’s got his hands on a team that finished 14-2 last year.

All that doesn’t matter, however, because there probably isn’t a person connected with football — this side of Schottenheimer — who isn’t rooting for Turner to succeed with the Chargers.

Tim Liotta is a freelance journalist and regular contributor to The Examiner.

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