TAKE A letter, Miss Jones. Address it to Billy Beane, genius in residence, Oakland Athletics. Yeah, that's the team which is going to move to Fremont as soon as the 49ers move to Santa Clara.

Dear Billy: You've done it again. Turned the A's into winners. Sure it's only May, but every month counts. Congratulations. Just one more thing. Sign Barry Bonds.

Yes, that Barry Bonds, the one you talked to back in the fall of '06, or at least that was the story. Didn't your assistant David Forst say, "Barry is one of the guys out there who we're considering ... he's probably the best player in the game the last 15 years. I think anybody would be interested in having his bat in the lineup."

So, get that bat. It comes with a lot of baggage, but it also comes with a lot of benefits. The shock value alone is worth the deal.

The man still can put balls in the seats and no less importantly put butts in the seats. As opposed to you putting a tarp over them. The A's have to stop being a secret and start becoming an attraction.

You know the word "coup"? That's what bringing in Barry Bonds would be. How about Bonds and Frank Thomas 3-4 in the batting order?

Defense might be a worry, but you and Bob Geren would figure out something. The way you guys mishandled chances the last few days, Frank or Barry might be an improvement.

Baseball is a game. The National Pastime. But it's also a business.


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Your announced attendance for the series opener against the Rangers on Friday night was a bit above 15,000, but that was tickets sold.

It was lonely at McAfee Coliseum, reminiscent of the Charlie Finley days when Sal Bando nicknamed the place the "Mausoleum."

You might understand a bad turnout for a bad club, but the A's were coming home in first place. To be blunt, nobody cares. It's time to be aggressive, to make people care.

For too long the A's have been the other team, No. 2 to that club across the Bay. The Giants might not have much on the field, especially since they gave Bonds the back of the hand, but they have the ballpark, the 10-year jump in history, and the connection to that city with the cable cars and panhandlers. It's not your fault. Just the way things are.

So you change them. You ink Bonds, who is out there. His Web site says he's continuing to train. Barry changes the entire equation. The A's become the team on everybody's radar. Fans increase. TV ratings go up. Media interest mushrooms.

At the moment, nobody east of Stockton notices the A's. But when Bonds comes on board, the New York Times, Sports illustrated, ESPN, the whole provincial lot of them, would be taking the first plane to the Coast.

The Giants are what you need to be. The New York Times sent a reporter down to Philly only to find out what's wrong with Barry Zito. You'd have the other Barry, the real Barry, and you'd have the attention. Also have some needed punch.

This is a perfect year. The Giants are down. Now's the time to put your foot on their throat by putting Bonds on the roster.

Those legal problems? The federal government is having more difficulty building a perjury case against Barry than it is in keeping gasoline affordable. If Barry ever comes to trial, and that's doubtful, it won't be for at least a year.

Bonds is going to end up someplace this season. Could any place be more perfect than Oakland? Barry knows the territory. The A's fans know Barry. True, they haven't liked him, but loyalty in sports is little more than the letters on the front of a uniform. Let Barry pop a couple against the Yankees or Angels, and you'll be amazed by his popularity.

We've heard reports Barry is being blacklisted, that there's collusion among teams in the majors. Then Bud Selig, the commish, tells us, "Every club is free to do whatever they want with whomever, and I mean that."

The A's are a team in need of jolt of energy, at the plate, at the box office.

Sign Barry. It isn't the least you could do, but it's the best you could do. Thanks for listening. Sincerely, A. Spander.

Art Spander can be reached at

typoes@aol.com