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Signature Play Evidence of Bonds’ Edge

A funny thing happened last week in a California courtroom.

(And about time.)

There was this woman who requested that a Superior Court authority raise her estranged husband’s monthly child support.

That wasn’t the funny part.

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The woman reportedly wanted her wealthy husband to stop sending her $15,000 a month for their two children and start sending her (gulp) $130,000 a month.

That wasn’t the funny part, either.

The court said no. In fact, George Taylor, a commissioner of the San Mateo County Superior Court who heard the case, actually cut the woman’s child support in half, to $7,500 a month.

Why? Because the husband, a baseball player, isn’t working. He’s on strike.

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Which means he has no paychecks coming in, strike benefits not starting until next month. Which also means, because he is on strike, he can’t even collect unemployment.

So, naturally, the court slashed those payments.

The husband, Barry Bonds, has a six-year contract with the San Francisco Giants that pays him a cool $43.75 million.

His wife, Sun Bonds, believes the children, ages 4 and 3, could squeak by a little easier on 130 grand a month, because you know how these kids today go through shoes.

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Having never lived in San Mateo County, all I can say is, wow, the cost of living up there must be a bear.

When they say Barry Bonds puts up big numbers, man, they ain’t kidding.

For the record, Bonds is still shelling out, according to his lawyer, up to $20,000 a month. Child support aside, he also pays the mortgage, taxes and insurance on the family’s house.

His wife filed for divorce in May, long before she knew for sure that hubby would be out of a job come August.

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So, in the matter of Bonds vs. Bonds, rather than grant Mrs. Bonds’ request to have Mr. Bonds fork over $1.56 million a year in child support, Superior Court Commissioner Taylor ruled that Mr. Bonds was already paying too much, particularly for a guy with no take-home.

Therefore, the current $180,000 yearly payment was reduced to $90,000, at least until Barry goes back to work, carrying lumber.

“What’s so funny about that?” you ask?

Why, nothing.

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The funny part happened after the hearing, when Commissioner Taylor, having issued his verdict, said before everybody split, there was one more thing.

He asked Bonds for his autograph.

In the annals of justice, I am sure that there must be precedent for this. Some judge somewhere must have wanted a celebrity visitor’s signature on something other than a bail voucher. Maybe when Zsa Zsa Gabor slapped that cop.

But it isn’t very proper.

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Fact is, the lawyer representing Sun Bonds was decidedly not pleased about Commissioner Taylor asking for an autograph from the man whose child-support payments he had just cut in half.

I can’t help picturing a trial, in which a judge asks: “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, have you reached a verdict?”

“Yes, we have, your honor,” says the foreman. “We find the defendant not guilty, and could he please sign this slip of paper?”

Community property is simply another reason we have to get this baseball strike settled.

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Bonds’ former teammate, Bobby Bonilla, is still married, but this strike is costing him $31,148 a day .

“I told Bobby I’ll give it two years,” Bonilla’s wife, Millie, recently said. “If they haven’t settled by then, he’s got to go play in Japan.”

Imagine what could happen if the strike did go on for years. What if Bonds or Bonilla did try to apply for unemployment?

The woman behind the desk would ask them: “Did you play baseball this week?”

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“No.”

“Did you try to play baseball this week?”

“Yes.”

OK, she would say, then would try to find them a regular job somewhere, something better than minimum-wage. Maybe even something where they could work with their hands, like selling autographs.

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