…without cutting off his head.

While many of those guffawing over Barry Bonds’ reluctance to take part in the World Baseball Classic suspect it has something to do with the Olympic-style blood tests that will be administered, the Contra-Costa Times’ Gary Peterson has a less sinister explanation. He submits that Barry is out of shape.

Why say yes, then say no? Is it because he initially allowed pride and/or a certain public relations bounce to override his common sense? It’s possible. It wouldn’t be the first time something that seemed such a swell idea in December lost its appeal in January.

Is it because he saw other big names — Alex Rodriguez comes to mind — playing the I’m in/I’m out game? Doubtful. Bonds isn’t one to set his agenda by anybody else’s sensibilities.

Is it because he’d rather be busing to Tucson for a “B” game against Colorado? OK, that was a trick question.

Here’s a real one: Is it because Bonds, “deep into my offseason workouts” according to his Web site, is something less than satisfied with the way his body is responding to the whip?

After last season, Bonds said he wanted to lose about 20 pounds before the 2006 season. This, he said, would take weight off his knees and help him maximize and extend his athletic twilight years. Yet — and how unscientific is this? — film clips from his golf outing seemed to indicate that Bonds has not made many inroads on the weight-loss thing.

It was about this time last year that Bonds began ramping up for the 2005 season, only to encounter a problem with his right knee. Admit it — aren’t you curious to see how his body reacts to the ramp-up process this year? Aren’t we all curious to see how it goes for him this spring?

He’s probably curious, too. Or maybe he is deep enough into his workouts to know he’s in no shape to take on the world.