Man, some people will got to amazing lengths to avoid sitting next to Armano Benitez. From the South Florida Sun-Sentinenl’s Mike Bernadino.

When the San Francisco Giants were in South Florida last month, according to multiple baseball sources, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria (above) sent word through an intermediary that Barry Bonds was welcome to join him on his jet for the flight to New York.

The Giants team charter also was headed to the Big Apple after a May 31 day game at Dolphin Stadium, but Bonds accepted the unusual offer within earshot of multiple teammates and other club employees.

According to a National League club official who has spoken with the Giants, the club’s front office “wasn’t happy about it by any means.” The club official said the offer was made “openly and haphazardly.”

Baseball has strict tampering rules regarding unauthorized contact between clubs and players from rival teams. The club official said the Marlins did not clear the Bonds offer with the Giants, who weren’t pleased with Bonds, either, for accepting.

“Nobody else would even take that offer,” the NL source said. “Barry is just Barry. Maybe Barry thought he might have had a nicer seat on [Loria’s] plane.”

Bonds (above) managed to steal 2nd after being caught leaning the wrong way in the 8th inning of tonight’s A’s/Giants tilt, his first swiped sack of ’06. Alas, Armando Benitez blew a 3-2 lead in the 9th inning ; singles from Jason Kendall and Bobby Kielty, a Mark Kotsay sacrifice fly and a subsequent triple from Nick Swisher completed the damage. A’s 4, Giants 3, the game ending on a nifty grab of a foul pop heading for the first baseline dugout by Kendall.

In the wake of the not-so-mind-blowing revelation that Victor Conte was the source for much the nitty gritty contained in ‘Game Of Shadows’, the Philadelphia Daily News’ Marcus Hayes writes,

So, let’s get this straight.

The press is accused by politicians and fans of turning a blind eye to steroid use in Major League Baseball.

Then again, the press legally cannot implicate suspected steroid users because to do so would precipitate accusations – probably substantiated accusations – of libelous intent, since there were no investigations under way and since there was no steroid ban in baseball.

The press then breaks the story of the BALCO case, based on leaks of grand jury testimony.

That, in turn, prompts MLB to finally address the raging steroid problem for the first time. In fact, the government, unsolicited and unwanted, plays politics with the issue in farcical congressional hearings staged, it appeared, purely for the benefit of Congress.

Now the Bush administration wants a federal judge to make the two California reporters who wrote “Game of Shadows,” Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada, divulge their sources (because the feds can’t figure out whom the sources were. Nice work, fellas).

The federal prosecutors have the gall to cite a 2003 case that made reporters divulge their sources – a terrorism case, that is.

So, to review: George W. Bush and his Congress can tsk-tsk over the tardiness of the press in pursuing the story, laud said stories, use them as political fodder… then seek to bite off the hand that fed them months of profile-enhancing material?

By comparing a steroid investigation with a terrorism case?