If there's one thing we've learned, it's that Barry Bonds is perfectly happy to do things his own way. So, it shouldn't come as too big a shock to learn that Bonds has refused to sign the marketing agreement that the Major League Baseball Player's Association uses to market products with each player's name and image. Although Bonds is the first player in the program's history to refuse to participate, it's not unprecedented in other sports. Michael Jordan didn't take part in the NBA program, which is why when you bought a basketball video game, there wasn't a Jordan on the Bulls, even though there was a guy with a shaved head who could kick everyone's ass.

The timing of Bonds' move is interesting. In the next few seasons, he could sell an amazing amount of gear and memorabilia, as he makes his run towards 714, and then 755. By doing his own marketing, he stands to make significantly more than he would if he was simply paid a royalty through the MLBPA. Also, he'll have more control over what is done with his name and image.

But for the union, which has always prided itself on its solidarity, it's not a good moment. I'm sure there are a lot of conversations happening, as Donald Fehr and Gene Orza try and make sure that no one follows Bonds' lead.

AuthorMark McClusky