Barry Bonds' Police Bat

Forget about the home-run ball what's a bat signed by Barry Bonds worth after it's been smudged by the cops?

While everyone has been gasping at the money being offered for Barry Bonds' 756th home run ball, a dejected San Francisco resident is calculating his losses on a signed baseball bat.

After Bonds broke Hank Aaron's home run record last month, local sports fan Adam Gonzales figured the value of a Louisville Slugger autographed by Bonds in 1998 would soar. But there was a hitch: The once-crisp signature is now smeared, says Gonzales, thanks to the San Francisco Police Department. "You can only kind of see a 'B' and a 'B,'" Gonzales complains.

The problem began on Valentine's Day in 2006. Gonzales had a couple of drinks before going home to his longtime, live-in girlfriend, and a fight ensued. Gonzales finally tired of the argument and went to sleep on the couch. But his still-smoldering girlfriend kept turning on the lights in a bid to revive the quarrel.

Gonzales thought he would solve the problem by using his prized bat to "tap" out the ceiling lights. The strategy failed and shortly afterwards the police were knocking at the front door. His girlfriend's right cheek was "pinkish," according to the police report, where she claimed Gonzales had struck her with his 49ers beach towel (told ya he was a sports fan). In a written statement taken that night, Gonzales claimed he did not intend to strike his girlfriend, but rather she was accidentally hit with his 49ers beach towel when he swung it at, what else, his 49ers poster.

Nonetheless, the police arrested Gonzales and confiscated his baseball bat and beach towel.

Domestic violence charges were dropped; 17 months later Gonzales retrieved the bat and noticed that Bonds' signature had been smeared. Claiming the damage occurred while the bat was in police care, Gonzales recently filed a claim against the city asking for $5,000 in anticipated losses due to the now-blurry autograph. But the Office of the City Attorney rejected the claim because Gonzales filed it well beyond the city's six-month statute of limitations.

Foul, says Gonzales, because the police would not release the bat until his girlfriend agreed to sign a release, which was difficult because, sadly, the two have broken up and she now has another boyfriend.

"The same day I got the bat back, I went right upstairs and filed the claim," Gonzales said.

Gonzales is looking for an attorney who can help him recoup the bat's lost value. All may not be lost. If somebody is crazy enough to pay $752,467 for Bonds' record-breaking home run ball — which someone did last week in an online auction — there's gotta be a sucker out there who'd pay a handsome sum for an old baseball bat with a couple of smudgy B's on it.

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