Only Baseball Matters

Archive for July, 2006

…. WADA pile of crap

You come here to OBM, you come because you have a brain, because you can see the problems in baseball (and other sports), the arguments that are treated like political chips instead of human issues; you see the delicacy missing in the way we talk about and look at life, sports, morality. You know me, I’m pretty much a libertarian, highly critical of most everything (to the point of being called a bastion of negativity); but for the most part, I like to think I’m open-minded.

On the issue of performance enhancing drugs (PED’s), I have made it pretty clear: I think that efforts to rid the game (any game) of PED’s are a waste of time, a slippery slope of mis-applied morality and thoughtless application of poorly thought out legal interpretations. Today’s WADA story in the NY Times was inevitable, and only one step in a continuum of an increasingly absurd understanding of athletic endeavor:

…. Three of the top United States cyclists in this year’s Tour de France use a special method to enhance their performance, and it is legal. They sleep in altitude tents or altitude rooms that simulate the low-oxygen conditions of high altitude. This prompts the body to make more oxygen-carrying red blood cells and can lead to improved endurance.

…. But soon, the altitude tents and rooms may be banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, or WADA. The agency’s ethics panel recently determined that the tents and rooms violated “the spirit of sport.”

…. The decision on whether to ban hypoxic devices has taken many athletes and exercise physiologists by surprise, but the antidoping agency has quietly spent the past few years considering the issue, said Dr. Bengt Saltin, director of the Copenhagen Muscle Research Center. Saltin was a member of the agency’s health medicine and research committee until two years ago.

“We have discussed the issue a lot,” he said.

In Saltin’s opinion, the altitude tents and rooms are no different from going to “a suitable mountain area,” only cheaper. Banning the altitude tents or rooms, he said, “should not be on the WADA or International Olympic Committee’s priority list.”

That is also the view of the 76 scientists and bioethicists who recently signed a letter to the World Anti-Doping Agency expressing “grave concern” over the proposal to ban the tents and rooms.

The letter’s lead author was Dr. Benjamin D. Levine, director of the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine at Presbyterian Hospital and a professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, both in Dallas. He said the antidoping agency was starting down a perilous path.

“This is a pretty slippery slope,” he said. “WADA is going to lose their credibility with the scientific community, upon whom they depend to further their mission, by pursuing this. And how to enforce it is a whole different question.”

…. Dr. Thomas Murray (on WADA’s ethics advisory panel) said he knew the issue was fraught, and he welcomed debate.

“Lines can be very difficult to draw, there is no question about it,” he said. But if there are no lines, he added, “whatever you like about the sport will disappear.”

He added, “This is a healthy conversation to be having.”

The first fun fact in that story is the surprise that WADA has “quietly spent the past few years studying the issue.” Realizing that these “great protectors” have been sitting around worrying about the advantage gained by an athlete who simulates living at high altitude is enough to make George Orwell shudder in his grave.

As for Murray’s faith that this is a “healthy conversation,” well, no, it’s not. A healthy conversation is one in which two parties engage in a spirited debate over a position or course of action, knowing in advance that they are both integral to the decision. That is hardly an accurate description of WADA, which has destroyed careers in it’s arbitrary and virtually unchallenged use of authority.

When a governing body such as WADA decides that it’s not enough that they get to demand that athletes pee in a cup, right in front of them, now they also want to demand that athletes are subject to a house search, and need to be monitored while they sleep; that, my friends, is a nightmare.

And always remember, if PED’s like steroids and human growth hormone were not demonized, if the risks involved in the use of them weren’t so ridiculously over blown and exaggerated, there wouldn’t be a WADA. All of this “controversy” revolves around the idea that it’s unfair to allow athletes willing to use “risky” methods to succeed, and likely dominate athletes who are “scared” to take such “risks.” No risk, no WADA. Keep that in mind as you read about issues like this, in which it sometimes appears that WADA is just making shit up to keep itself important.

Now WADA wants us to know that they are invested in protecting the “spirit of sport” whatever that is. Yeah, sure.

There is no “line” to be worried about. They can do whatever they will. It is inevitable that science will always be ahead of the “great protectors,” and one day, they’ll see that the fight is over, they have lost, and it hardly matters at all.

In the meantime, if you don’t live 5,000 feet above sea level, you’d better think about a retiring those sneakers.

…. Backtalk

I’d like to make a quick point regards Timothy’s last (much more reasoned and calm) comment:

…. Obviously this witch hunt on Bonds is ridiculous. Bonds doesn’t deserve to be indicted no more than I deserve to be indicted for all those beers I drank when I was underage. It is pretty stupid that the government is making such a huge deal about Bonds.

My opinion, however, is that Bonds is a cheater. If he would just retire, there would be no witch hunt. I don’t claim to know everything. But I think one would have to be pretty dumb to not admit that the majority of signs point to the fact that Bonds took steroids. And he did not just take steroids, he abused them. Look at his head. You dont jump up two hat sizes in a year at the age of 35. Sorry, it just doesnt happen. Bonds is a fantastic player. By chasing this home run record, he is making a mockery of the record to begin with.

I’m going to ignore the ignorant comment about Barry’s head, and focus on the issue of the home run record. What Timothy’s saying, and I’ve heard this pretty much everywhere, is that Bonds should just give up, retire from baseball, and we’d all let him be. That is absurd, almost to the point of being the kind of thing a child would believe. Barry will find himself at the center of a shitstorm until the mainstream media and the US government (or should I say, IRS Agent Novitsky) end the vendetta against him. Until that happens, Bonds has no incentive to retire, there is no “win” for him if he walks away.

In fact, his only way to “win” at all involves sticking it to everyone who is rooting for him to fail, to be indicted, to get injured again. For Bonds, the only thing to do is continue to try and get back to the World Series, and to try and catch Aaron.

I’d also like to note that Timothy’s tired refrain that Bonds is a cheater, that he’s “making a mockery” of the game also falls into the “provably false” folder. Baseball had NO drug poilcy prior to 2002, so regardless of whether you think using PED’s is wrong or not, it wasn’t against the rules of the game to do so. In point of fact, amphetamine use was rampant for going on four decades, and everyone knows that virtually everyone used them. So, Aaron, Mays, McCovey, Frank -fucking- Robinson and Bob Gibson can all shove it up their asses. They used speed, WE KNOW THEY DID, and so whatever “records” they and fans like Timothy think they are protecting against being mocked are just as suspect as anything Bonds or McGwire did, (who absolutely competed against plenty of pitchers who were using too).

You don’t get to say one thing is worse than another because it suits your bias, Lupica. Baseball did nothing, absolutely nothing about the use of PED’s for four decades. Focusing on Bonds because he’s a dick is called prejudice, it’s only barely less offensive than focusing on him because he’s black.

…. First place?

Unbelievably, the Giants find themselves in first place, after last night’s tight, 4-3 win over the Padres. The Giants are now on their first five game winning streak of the season, as they go for the sweep in today’s finale.

Of course, they’re in first place in the league’s weakest division, but, first place is where you want to be regardless. Without checking, I’d say it’s the first time they’ve been in first place this late in the season since ’04, maybe even ’03.

Schmidt struggled, but won his first game in more than a month, and the hitters did just enough.

…. There was, however, some potentially sour news for the Giants. Leading off the fifth, Moises Alou beat out a grounder down the third-base line. But on his way to first, he strained his left hamstring and left the game. Felipe Alou said the initial estimate is that his son will miss 2-3 days — the Giants have an off day on Monday.

Moises sure seems to be made of glass, doesn’t he?

UPDATE: Well, that was quick. ;-D

…. Blah blah blah

So now, after all this time, after all these leaks, all these smears, all these news stories about “mountains of evidence,” all these witnesses, of almost three full years of suspicion, hearsay, innuendo, horsehit and hand grenades…. after ALL OF THAT!!!, the government still doesn’t have enough to indict Attilla the Bonds?!?! Are you kidding me? I’m supposed to believe that there is still a reason to continue this long, drawn out, charade?

Everyone involved in this endless parade of ineptitude should be ashamed, humiliated, and removed from whatever position of power and authority they hold. Every lawyer, politician, self-appointed Mahatma, every every single member of the media who had the audacity to suggest that the testimony of jilted hangers-on should be treated as “newsworthy,” every indignant asshole baseball player from the 1960′s, every one of you baseball “fans” who have actively campaigned to discredit and demean Barry Bonds based on the belief that his wrongdoing was “proven” in a United States court OF LAW…. every single one of you should choke on the humble pie you won’t even acknowledge eating right now.

But NO-O-O-O!!!! You’ll take solace in the fact that you aren’t alone in your single-minded, tiny-minded righteousness; that you’ll make sure we eat our spinach, clean our plates, brush our teeth, and mind our manners, because you’re surely revelling in the knowledge that your government bean-counters, not satisfied (just like you are) with the FACT that the grand jury did not indict Bonds; has let you know, via virtually every single news report, that they are there to reassure all of us that they will not abandon their effort to distract us and wantonly waste our money.

…. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California is not seeking an indictment today in connection with the ongoing steroids-related investigation,” Luke Macauley, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in San Francisco, said in a statement.

“Much has been accomplished to date, and we will continue to move forward actively in this investigation – including continuing to seek the truthful testimony of witnesses whose testimony the grand jury is entitled to hear,” he said.

It was widely expected that Bonds would be indicted today, after two-and-a-half years of dismissing his connections to the BALCO steroid trafficking case.

Well, yeah, if by, “it was widely expected,” you mean, it was widely expected by people who were being paid to say so, then, yeah, I see what you mean. Because, in the world I live in, (aka, actual life), no “reasonable” person would have expected “reasonable” people, charged with actually administering “real” law to “real” citizens would have indicted Bonds based on “what some fucking guy said.” Not after listening to TWO FUCKING YEARS OF EMPTY, HEARSAY, BULLSHIT TESTIMONY.

Here’s another tidbit in that same story:

…. It is unclear if Major League Baseball will suspend Bonds, who is second on the all-time home run list to Hank Aaron with 721 homers, if he is eventually indicted. MLB officials have looked into the possibility of a suspension, but sources said commissioner Bud Selig had not made a decision . According to numerous sources, Selig would love to be rid of Bonds, especially as Bonds chases the home run record of Selig’s friend, Aaron.

Selig’s anger isn’t just a result of the embarrassment Bonds has been to the game since he was connected with BALCO in 2003. After steroid allegations first emerged about Bonds, Selig asked him to tell him everything there was to know. If there is more to this and you don’t tell me, Selig told Bonds, then I’ll come down hard on you, sources have told the Daily News.

Bonds apparently told Selig there was nothing else to say. When the book “Game of Shadows” was released earlier this year and suggested there was much more to Bonds’ story, Selig decided to make good on his threat.

“If there is more to this…. I’ll come down hard on you.” I’LL COME DOWN HARD ON YOU????

Selig said that? Really!? REALLY????? He’s done absolutely nothing while the Bonds situation has raged, like an apocalyptic inferno for going on four years. NOTHING!!!!! “I’ll come down hard on you?!?” Is that what he really said?

Well, that’s just great timing for it to come out now. Phew. Good thing Selig threatened him.

What a farce. It would be funny if there weren’t about a thousand things more important for our government officials to be spending our money on.

UPDATE: Lupica can’t believe it either:

…. Baseball lost yesterday because the longer the government takes to make a real case against Bonds, the more people actually will start to think he is some kind of victim here, a victim instead of the drug cheat he is alleged to be.

…. Mark Geragos (Greg Anderson’s Lawyer) is a big talker. Maybe he has convinced Anderson, not the brightest bulb in the chandelier, that in the glamorous world of supplying juice to baseball players, he is now the closest possible thing to Nelson Mandela. A political prisoner practically!

For a while, Barry Bonds had a dreadful reality series on ESPN. It is blessedly canceled now. Somehow, though, the reality series goes on. It stars feds who sometimes act like they need to take something that might enhance their own performance. It stars Bonds himself, snarling reporters away from his locker these days if they aren’t there to ask him baseball questions. It stars a muscled-up gym rat like Greg Anderson. Anderson no longer has the run of the San Francisco Giants clubhouse, but is still the same kind of pathetic hanger-on that he always was, feeling more important than ever as he may be the only thing standing between Bonds and the law.

Always remember that the guy Mark Geragos wants to portray now as some kind of all-time standup guy was originally sent to jail for steroid distribution.

Yeah, I’ll give you something for you to “always remember.”

Always remember that if Bonds was the kind of stand-up guy Lupica and his pals pine for, like say, Tony Gwynn, or Don Mattingly, he’d be writing what I’ve been writing for most of the last four years, that this is the worst kind of witch hunt, the most disgraceful vendetta since Kenneth Starr. Always remember that life is as much a popularity contest as anything else, and this is as big a popularity contest as anything you’ve ever seen.

Only in the land of the blind could a show like this go on and on, a never ending, Kafka-esque ordeal. Only in the land of the blind could a failed investigation –failed after 3 years of threats, wire-taps, witness testimony and tens of thousands of pages of GJ stenography– be allowed to continue flailing along in hopes of maybe convincing another, different group of men and women; and then celebrated for their rightness.

Fair? Reasonable? Laughable is more like it. In this country, you are supposed to be exempt from this kind of targeted, biased, persecution. There are supposed to be limits on what the government can do in it’s efforts to defame a citizen.

…. Disagreement?

Reading all of the latest “Selig should suspend Bonds” articles, got me thinking, (a scary thought, I know).

…. The government has obtained significant evidence about Bonds and steroids, according to documents and interviews. During the Anderson contempt hearing, federal prosecutors said that in a 2003 raid, they had obtained a “mountain” of documents indicating that Bonds’ trainer had provided banned drugs to elite athletes.

The Chronicle has reported that in 2003 Anderson was secretly recorded while discussing the “undetectable” drugs he was giving to Bonds, and the government now says it too has a copy of that recording.

Both BALCO founder Victor Conte and his vice president, James Valente, told federal investigators in 2003 that Bonds received undetectable steroids from BALCO, although the men later renounced their statements.

Bell, Bonds’ former girlfriend, told the grand jury that in 2000 Bonds told her he was using steroids. And Bonds’ former business manager, Steve Hoskins, has told federal investigators that he has personal knowledge of Bonds’ use of banned drugs, according to Hoskins’ lawyer, Michael Cardoza.

Reading all of this horsehit, here’s something that’s just occurred to me; Selig should suspend Barry Bonds. That’s right, Selig should suspend Bonds. He should invoke the best interests of baseball clause and sit Barry down. Selig feels that Bonds lied to his face, more than once, that Bonds is essentially laughing in his face as he chases Aaron, making a mockery of the game and all of the new drug testing policies. Fine. Be a man, and suspend him.

Sure, the Players Association will appeal the suspension, and almost certainly win the appeal, but why should Selig care about that? Baseball suspends and fines players all the time knowing full well that the appeal proccess will alter or reduce the penalty. Selig should suspend Bonds for 50 games or something like that, and then put the onus on the PA and the arbitrator who will inevitably be brought in to handle the legally bargained process of reviewing whether his actions are defensible or not.

A real commissioner would have already done it. This isn’t Kobe Bryant being accused of rape. This is something directly related to the actual playing of the games; for crying out loud, the poster boy of performance enhancing drugs is trying to pass the all-time home run hitter. This is a big deal, arguably the biggest deal imaginable.

So what’s stopping him from just drawing a line in the sand? It’s simple, really. He’s a used car salesman. He fell into this job, just like he fell into the Brewers. What business success, what true and real accomplishments has Selig had in his life before baseball? He sold used cars.

Not exactly the kind of thing that prepares you for the vagaries of the multi-national, multi-billion dollar a year world enterprise that baseball has become. At this point, with all that’s transpired, with all that we “know” and all that we think we know, Selig should say, “enough” and just suspend him. I don’t agree with Selig on much, and I don’t think he’s even close to the best man for the job, but at least I’d have to respect him for taking a stand on something, anything.

I know I’ve argued that Bonds’ hasn’t done anything deserving of all this vilification and damnation. This isn’t about Bonds, this is about Selig. What is he waiting for? This isn’t a perfect world, and he isn’t going to get a perfect opportunity. He should push his chips all-in, and let the cards play out.

…. Agreement?

I find myself with a strange bedfellow this morning, one Ray Ratto of the SF Chronicle:

…. the trade deadline is creeping up on teeny slippered feet, and with hunting season in full swing, the Giants have yet to establish to anyone’s satisfaction who or what they are. Some of it is injury, some it is talent shortages, and some of it is the list of false positives they are allowed by the general mediocrity of the National League West, but the truth is the Giants are an odd lot of occasionally matched parts — not good offensively, with decent but not dominant pitchers, and in all a team with no winning streak longer than three games or a losing streak longer than four. They are specifically and exactly what you see in the standings this morning — a team barely over .500, and giving no indications that it will ever stray much above that line.

Thus, while the rest of the nation focuses on the left fielder and his date with the CourtTV set, the Giants continue to struggle to understand themselves. Indeed, Saturday’s game was a rare view of what can happen when it all goes to hell at once.

Well put. I dare say Mr. Ratto echoes my earlier post on the subject:

…. The Giants are unwatchable. They are a train wreck, a debacle. It’s not that they are old. It’s not that they’re slow. It’s not that their record has been at or near .500 all season long. It’s not that Bonds is done. It’s not that they are wasting some damn good pitching, losing ground when they should be gaining.

It’s all of it. It’s Sabean and Magowan and all of the bad decisions they’ve made over the past three or four seasons, (which, by the way, have really started to pile up). It seems like every team in the league has at least one or two exciting young hitters they call up who are lights out. Not the Giants.

Should they make a move, or should they play it out? Who can tell. Bonds’ recent stolen base spree could be an indication of an improvement in his health, which in turn, might be an improvement in his bat. It also could be a precursor to a career-ending recurrence of his knee woes.

Again, the age of the team puts management in a very difficult position. Knowing that older players tend to decline as the season progresses, and knowing that these old-timers have had a hard enough time staying in the lineup as it is; makes projecting what’s going to happen from this point forward damn near impossible. So how can Sabean trade anyone? He could trade away more prospects, (perish the thought!) only to watch the Giants lose 12 of 15 over the next three weeks.

But that’s what you get when you build a team older than most beer league softball teams.

…. 1984

I’m trying to find a way to include a 1984 reference to the start of this piece, but I can’t seem to get my mind around the words….. *sigh*

The Sports Law Blog has been one of my favorite sites since it’s inception. Greg Skidmore has added several writers over the last year or so, and the site has seen no drop-off in quality. That said, this morning’s piece, an open letter to Bud Selig by Rich Karker, is simply mind-boggling. Here’s a taste:

…. Maybe you could consider how the FBI catches people who lie and cheat — they use lie detector tests. For example, the FBI is now administering polygraph tests to hundreds of state and local police officers assigned to terrorism task forces across the country as part of a new effort to battle espionage and unauthorized information leaks. As one particular FBI director noted, “There is no more powerful tool in our tool bag than lie-detector tests.”

Now, I know what you are thinking: Drug testing and discipline is clearly a “mandatory” subject as defined in the National Labor Relations Act (i.e. “wages, hours and conditions of employment”) that requires you to negotiate with the union because it pertains to conditions of employment. So how do you get the union to agree to polygraph testing with respect to performance-enhancing substances (including gene therapies, surgeries, etc.)?

Lie detector tests! Lie detector tests?

I can’t even begin to imagine the hell we’re heading towards in this country, this world, if we’re at the point where we’ve got lawyers advocating random lie detector tests for professional athletes. Really, I’m flabbergasted. Random lie detector tests.

Here’s a competely different take:

Let baseball players do whatever the fuck they want!!! It’s Barry Bonds’ life. If he wants to risk his health to push the envelope as far as humanly possible, WHO CARES!!! How is it your business, or mine? Even more to the point, why aren’t we celebrating his willingness to do everything he possibly can to get the most out of his ability and his career, to be the most effective athlete he can possibly be for his team and the city that follows them? We celebrate virtually anyone else doing the exact same thing in virtually any other endeavor. But not in sports.

How could it possibly have gotten this far down this trail of insanity? How can it have become so blown out of proportion? If a professional athlete uses a hormone or a gene therapy or a steroid to play a game, how could it possibly matter this much?

Lie detector tests.

…. Bonds market

Barry Bonds’ life is unraveling, as the feds zero in on the one thing he won’t be able to get out from under, under-reporting income. The NY Daily News, (and virtually every one else) is reporting that Bonds’ former memorabilia dealer pal, Steve Hoskins, has emerged as a key figure in their efforts to indict the slugger. Hoskins has or will testify that Bonds told him he was using steroids, hearsay, for sure, but certainly one more nail in Bonds’ proverbial coffin.

The NY Times’ Murray Chass speculates on whether Seligula has grounds to suspend Bonds:

…. The immediate question, though, isn’t Bonds’s guilt or innocence. It’s whether Commissioner Bud Selig will take disciplinary action against Bonds if he is indicted on charges of perjury, tax evasion, money laundering, evading banking laws or anything else.

Selig has repeatedly refused to discuss Bonds, most recently in Pittsburgh the day before the All-Star Game at a meeting with baseball writers.

But an official in the commissioner’s office, granted anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the situation, said the commissioner was torn in his considerations of the matter. One minute, Selig is prepared to suspend Bonds; the next, he changes his mind.

Selig could use an alternative plan. He could induce the Giants to pressure Bonds to step aside while continuing to be paid, so he could concentrate on the preparation of his defense. That’s often an approach used in the corporate world.

I know I’ve argued, repeatedly, that Bonds using or not using steroids is hardly the crime everyone is making it out to be, and disregarding the fact that dodging the IRS is virtually a sport in the United States; there is no question that Bonds’ situation is spiraling out of control.

He apparently trusts no one, his team of handlers and lawyers have been rendered speechless, (more importantly, nothing they say could possibly make a difference in the face of such an overwhelmingly negative media shitstorm anyway), and he is perhaps the most vilified and hunted athlete in recent memory, if not all time. For crying out loud, OJ was indicted for murder! Bonds is getting far worse treatment, and the most disturbing aspect of this whole situation is being ignored:

Barry Bonds’ life is being destroyed because IRS agent Jeff Novitzky thought he was an asshole.

Do you understand that? Do you even begin to grasp the ramifications inherent in such a tragedy? Kenneth Starr has nothing on Novitzky, and everyone should be far more concerned about this enormous abuse of government power than they are, or even seem to notice. If the force of the US government can be focused on any individual by dint of some real or perceived snub or offense, then we’re all in deep, deep trouble.

It should also be mentioned that our goverment is spending years of energy, resources and manpower investigating a baseball player while monopolistic corporations rape, pillage and destroy our country and most of the rest of the earth unimpeded.

But, hey, Bonds is an asshole, right?

…. When David Becomes Goliath

Editor’s Note: The following is a piece written by The Broken Cowboy. It was corrupted by some 400 plus backtalks that were simple links to buy watches, of all things. I had to delete it, so I wanted to re-post it for posterity. Sorry, Hank.

The New York Yankees travel to Detroit today for a four-game series with the Tigers. The series will feature one team with a patchwork pitching staff and a decimated lineup, and another team with the best record in baseball — basically the same storyline that’s accompanied numerous Tiger-Yankee series over the past decade. Now here’s the interesting part: the team with the best record is not the Yankees.

The Yankees enter play on Monday with a respectable 28-20 mark, but Detroit is far clear of them and everyone else at 35-15. It’s been more than twenty years since the Tigers last enjoyed such success this late in the season: they were 36-8 on May 28, 1984 and on their way to the World Series.

All of which got me to thinking… when was the last time these two teams faced off with the Tigers having the better record? Well, it’s been a while.

The date was June 26, 1995, and the baseball world was a different place. The Detroit Tigers brought their 28-28 record into Yankee Stadium for a three-game series against the Yankees. The Bombers’ 24-29 mark told the story of a mediocre team that still didn’t seem to have recovered from the disappointment of the previous year, when their outstanding season had been lost to the 1994 strike. It had been fourteen years since the Yankees had last played meaningful games in October, and in late June — almost exactly a third of the way through the season — it didn’t look like this once proud franchise would be seeing the postseason anytime soon. (Actually, they would ride a blistering 21-6 September to take the American League wild card before succumbing to Edgar Martínez and the Seattle Mariners in a classic five-game series.)

The Tigers, meanwhile, were playing over their heads. Over the rest of the season they’d win only thirty-two games while losing fifty-six, and over the next decade they would field some of the worst teams in recent memory.

That series eleven years ago was only mildly interesting except for a few details which highlight how much time has passed. The Yankees won the opening game behind the pitching of a rookie named Andy Pettitte and then came back win the next day with the victory going to someone named Bob McDonald. The Tigers managed to salvage the third game, perhaps because Kirk Gibson, Alan Trammell, and Lou Whitaker all appeared in the lineup. Yes, it was a long time ago.

Since the end of that series in 1995, the two teams have obviously had radically different degrees of success. The Yankees have been in the postseason every year, and the Tigers haven’t been close. Take a look at the cumulative records since then, through 2005:

Yankees: 1035-669 (.607)
Tigers: 684-1022 (.401)

The good news for the Tigers, though, is that today none of that really matters.

…. Blah blah blah

45-44 at the All Star break, after last night’s desultory 3-1 loss to the Dodgers, the Giants couldn’t seem to gain ground as the first half came to a close.

Jason Schmidt pitched well enough to win (again), but hasn’t since his 16-strikeout gem, which makes me wonder if he (and Felipe) left a little too much out there going for history. He also pitched well enough to lose, a common result over his last six starts. Yes, the Giants haven’t scored much for him in those starts, but he’s been behind early in 4 of those six starts, and these Giants aren’t built for the come from behind wins.

Anyway, the Giants had 37 wins at the break last year, so we’re talking about an 8 game improvement with Bonds at half strength, Moises missing two months, and Matt Morris struggling to get back to .500 after a 2-7 start to his season. All in all, that ain’t too shabby. Health remains the Giants biggest concern for the second half push. If Moises can stay in the lineup, the Giants should be able to stay in contention in the NL West. Whether this is a championship contender is still in doubt, but at the least, they are a solid team, (albeit, boring as hell to watch).

All commentary is the opinion of John J Perricone unless otherwise noted.
None of the opinions expressed should be construed as being endorsed by the
San Francisco Giants, Major League Baseball, or any other organization mentioned herein.

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