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Archive for September, 2007


…. Disgrace

The ball Bonds hit for his 756th home run will be branded by an asterisk before Marc Ecko donates it to the Hall of Fame. I can’t believe the Hall would involve itself in such a shameful episode, or how foolish the Hall of Fame President comes off in defending his decision:

…. Hall of Fame president Dale Petroskey said accepting the ball did not mean the Hall in Cooperstown, N.Y., endorses the viewpoint that Barry Bonds used drugs.

“This ball wouldn’t be coming to Cooperstown if Marc hadn’t bought it from the fan who caught it and then let the fans have their say,” Petroskey told The Associated Press. “We’re delighted to have the ball. It’s a historic piece of baseball history.”

Hall of Fame officials and Ecko are discussing how to affix the asterisk on the ball. It’s not yet known when the ball will go on display.

Ecko, known for his pop culture pranks, said he bought the ball and arranged to let the public decide its future online as a way to hold a conversation about a classic American sport in the digital world.

“This is obviously something that struck a chord with fans,” Ecko said Wednesday in a phone interview with the AP.

So, the Hall doesn’t think allowing Ecko to mutilate and degrade a ball that was part of one of the most important records in all of sports is a bad idea? It doesn’t see itself being a part of one of Ecko’s publicity stunts, but, it’s gonna help Ecko figure out a way to do it? The Hall of Fame needs to be above this kind of stunt, and I –following David Pinto’s lead– have already sent them an email to let them know that they are engaging in a sordid publicity stunt, and should reconsider. Here’s the link, you tell ‘em, too.

To me, this is just one more part of the, “I don’t like Bonds, so fuck him,” attitude that the baseball media has made it clear we should feel. First of all, for some guy in NY to say he doesn’t “like” Bonds is as stupid as it is for him to say he sees him as a role model. He doesn’t know Bonds, neither do I, for that matter. Bonds is as Bonds is portrayed, and because the drumbeat of anti-Bonds vitriol has been going on for over 5 years now, Marc Ecko was able to get more people to vote for fucking with him than not. Gee, what a surprise.

(Not to mention, Ecko’s name is now one of the number one search engine queries in the world right now)

The Hall should be above this kind of bullshit, but then again, most of these hacks get to decide who to put in and who to keep out, don’t they?



…. Big-time

I said it before, and I’ll say it again, Prince Fielder is the best young player in baseball. Today, he became the youngest player ever to reach 50 home runs in a season, supplanting Willie Mays, who did it in his age 24 season. Fielder is 23, and looks to be a superstar for a long time. If only the Giants had a player with anything even close to the kind of upside Fielder seems to have.



…. MVP? Redux

BP’s Joe Sheehan tells it like it is, and it isn’t pretty:

…. The naked glee generated by this decision was embarrassing (links courtesy Buster Olney’s ESPN.com blog), with the San Francisco writers falling all over themselves to praise McGowan for cutting loose the best player in franchise history, the most productive player on the current roster, the best hitter in the National League and, dollar for dollar, one of the better values in the game. The press pool showed no recognition that Bonds remains an amazing player and an asset to any team, even one far from contention. Yes, he requires special treatment; is it some kind of news to everyone that the very best people in any line of work tend to get perks that separate themselves from their peers?

…. The Giants are free to run their team however they care to, but we shouldn’t persist in this fiction that Bonds is what stands in the way of the rebuilding process. The Giants, as effective as they’ve been in drafting and developing pitchers, have had little success with hitters. The Dan Ortmeiers and Rajai Davises populating the outfield and the lineup aren’t prospects, they’re MLB fourth and fifth outfielders who are being evaluated generously by virtue of not being Barry Bonds. The Giants have no prospects being blocked by Bonds, and if they did, they’d actually be being blocked by Dave Roberts and Randy Winn. As we saw with Alex Rodriguez and the Rangers, the team, the press and the public is focusing far too much on the best player with the biggest contract, rather than the money being wasted on the ridiculous contracts for inferior players throughout the rest of the roster. Bonds is worth the money; Ray Durham and Barry Zito, not so much.

Barry Bonds is still a great player. Concerned about how often he can be a great player for your team? At 41 and 42, he’s averaged 127 games and close to 500 PAs a season while playing in the field regularly. This notion that he’s a part-time player who can’t stay in the lineup is another of the myths propagated by the industrious San Francisco media. Bonds is just shy of an everyday player in the National League, and for an American League team, getting most of his playing time as a DH, there’s no reason to think he couldn’t play more often. Even at 125 games and 500 PAs, Bonds is a force to be reckoned with, and a team signing him would be in good position to add in some playing time for him in October.

The local media have portrayed Bonds like a serial killer, and he’s been nothing short of a consumate professional for 15 seasons. Steroid rumors? As Sheehan says, let me know when the guys who have actually tested positive for using steroids give money back, or their teams void their contracts, or give back wins. Until then, all that’s been proven of Bonds is that he’s the best player alive, and has been for almost 20 years.

Hat tip to Jim Adams for the Sheehan mention.



…. MVP?

Matt Holliday’s late-season surge has propelled him into the lead as the NL MVP, which seems reasonable given his monster season, 36 home runs, 131 RBI, 205 hits and a .339 batting average. The writers who vote for him, however, will be forgetting that he plays half his games in a hitters paradise.

His production is built almost entirely on the strength of his home stats, 25 of his 36 home runs, 77 RBI, .374 batting average, 115 hits…. His OPS at home is 1.159, on the road it’s .866. He’s slugging .726 at home, and just .497 on the road. His OBP is much higher as well….

Let’s face it, the MVP should be Fielder, except he’s gonna be penalized for the Brewers collapse, as will Wright –who plays in one of the worst hitters parks in the league– if the Mets fail to make it. For Holliday, the writers cannot forget what an advantage he has hitting at 5000 feet; but they will.

UPDATE: Speaking of MVP’s…. the MVP of the last twenty years had something to say today:

“Yesterday, I was told by the Giants that they will not be bringing me back for the 2008 season. During the conversation with Peter Magowan, I was told that my play this year far exceeded any expectations the Giants had, but that the organization decided this year would be my last season in San Francisco.

Although I am disappointed, I’ve always said baseball is a business , and I respect their decision. However, I am saddened and upset that I was not given an earlier opportunity to properly say goodbye to you, my fans, and celebrate with the city throughout the season as I truly believe this was not a last-minute decision by the Giants, but one that was made some time ago.

I don’t have, nor do I want any ill feelings towards the organization, I just wish I had known sooner so we had more time to say our goodbyes and celebrate the best 15 years of my life. I would have loved nothing more than to retire as a Giant in the place where I call home and have shared so many momentous moments with all of you, but there is more baseball in me and I plan on continuing my career. My quest for a World Series ring continues.”



…. Talk talk

The NY Times has an article about A-Rod’s value that includes a reference to the Giants:

…. Rodriguez’s 2007 season will be hard to repeat, but even a sizable drop-off would leave him among baseball’s elite. Nate Silver of Baseball Prospectus projected him to hit .303 with a .404 on-base percentage and a .601 slugging percentage next year, while playing a roughly average third base. (Those numbers would be slightly higher if he left Yankee Stadium, which is quite unfriendly to right-handed sluggers.)

By contrast, a mediocre veteran third baseman like San Francisco’s Pedro Feliz was hitting .249 with a .290 on-base percentage and .414 slugging percentage entering last night’s game. If the Giants were to let Feliz go and sign Rodriguez, they could probably expect to win about eight more games next season than they would if they stuck with Feliz.

Nice.



…. Knock, knock.

The Minnesota Twins’ long-time GM, Terry Ryan, has just left the team. Ummmm….

Dear Mr. Magowan,

Please, please, please, fire Brian Sabean, and turn over the entire baseball operation to Mr. Ryan, who has demonstrated a terrific grasp of every single aspect of team management that our current GM has not. From drafting talent, to organizing and planning development of draftees, to minor league systems, to player apporach, and finally, building and managing a contending team through different eras; Mr. Ryan has excelled.

He is the perfect man for the job of taking this team through the next several years and beyond. Change is good. Change captains. now.

Thank you,

John J Perricone



…. A-Rod?

Everyone seems to think that A-Rod isn’t worth the kind of money he’s gonna make, and that the Giants have no chance to get him. Huh.

I’m surprised. First, I think $30 million a year is not what it used to be. Juan Pierre got $10 million per. A-Rod is absolutely three times the player Pierre is, and Pierre’s not alone in making that kind of money. If the list of players making $15 or more contains some of these bums, I don’t see how you can conclude that A-Rod wouldn’t be worth $30.

As for whether he can become a Giant, well, the team payroll has to go down as we jettison some of the dead weight we’re carrying now, and I don’t think the amount A-Rod and Zito would earn would be that burdensome. Maybe I’m crazy, but I think it’s a good deal.



…. Blast off!

A-Rod just hit his 50th and 51st home runs of the season, establishing a new Yankee record for a right-handed batter, and a new MLB record for a third basemen. A sure-fire MVP, he’s having one of the greatest seasons in Yankee history, which is saying something.

With 20 games left, David Pinto thinks he has an 11% chance of matching Roger Maris’ AL record of 61.

UPDATE: Check out the new Snap Shots feature! Cool.

UPDATE: After hitting a home run in his fifth straight game today, David Pinto now estimates A-Rod’s chances of catching Maris at 16.5%. With his 52 home runs so far, A-Rod has entered into some ultra-exclusive Yankee company, as only Maris, Mantle and Ruth have hit more in a single season. As the season moves towards the playoffs, A-Rod looks more and more like he’s on his way to becoming baseball’s first $30 million dollar man.



…. WAKE UP!

This is getting ridiculous:

…. Major League Baseball was jarred by a New York Daily News report that St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Rick Ankiel had received a one-year supply of human growth hormone in 2004 from the same drug distribution ring. Ankiel had been the game’s feel-good story of the summer. A talented young pitcher whose career abruptly imploded in 2000, he re-emerged this season as a slugging outfielder who hit nine home runs in 23 games since being called up from the minors in August.

Ankiel told reporters Friday night in Phoenix that any drugs he received in 2004 were prescribed by a licensed physician to aid in his recovery from elbow surgery.

“A real sad development,” former baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent said. Ankiel “was a remarkable story. I’m very sad. It’s not totally surprising. What’s surprising is the names of the particular individuals. In that way, it saddens me but doesn’t surprise me.”

Man, Fay Vincent must sit around and watch paint dry. He pretty much can’t wait for another baseball player to get his name linked to PED’s so he can remind everyone that he knew this was gonna happen, and what a fucking terrible Greek tragedy it all is. Thanks, Fay. Now, go back to being right about everything and shut the fuck up.

These self-appointed moral compasses need to face reality. PED’s are here to stay, –just as recreational drugs are– and ham-handed efforts to legislate against them are doomed to failure. Face the facts, stop pretending that it matters, stop acting like athletes using modern medicine to maximize their talents is such a crisis; and accept reality.

All of the hand-wringing about Rick Ankiel’s heart-warming story being tainted is just as poorly thought-out and morally bankrupt as putting millions of Americans in federal prison for smoking pot. There is no way you will be able to stop athletes from using any and all means to achieve their ends. NO WAY. Stop wasting time, get off your soapbox, and grow the fuck up.

Ankiel did what I would have done, what anyone would have done when faced with the very real possibility that your dream was dying; anything to prevent that from happening. Bonds did whatever he could to get the most of his talent, to condemn him is absurd.

McGwire, Bonds, Sosa, Ankiel, Glaus, Palmeiro, Giambi…. as the list of players who have “fallen from grace” continues to grow, I keep waiting for everyone to wake up and realize that PED’s have been part of the sports landscape for decades, and stop acting so amazed and disappointed. WAKE UP!

It’s not the end of the world, it’s nothing. It’s of no consequence, it won’t make or break anything, it doesn’t mean that you can’t save the children. Kids use drugs? Really? Kids do all kinds of things, with or without supervision, permission, or full understanding of the risks involved. It’s called growing up. A child will listen to an adult, a teenager will not. They will do whatever they want, and you cannot stop them. No athlete is gonna make a difference in whether a teenager does or doesn’t do drugs, or drink, or drive too fast. Anyone who thinks so is a child. And anyone who thinks that their son did steroids because Barry Bonds said it was OK is a fucking moron.

That’s not how the world works, and sportswriters continuing to propogate the myth of the athlete hero need to get their heads out of their collective asses. WAKE UP. Cover the fucking games, and stop telling us how we’re disappointed in what some athlete –who lives in a world that we cannot even begin to comprehend– does or doesn’t do to prepare for their job.

Truck drivers use speed, so do plumbers, sheetrockers, maids, salesmen, and just about any other worker you can imagine. Guys in my trade, carpenters, use painkillers, smoke weed, do whatever they can to get out there and earn their paychecks. They don’t give a shit what you think about it, they are doing what they need to to get by, to stay in the game.

To hold athletes to one standard –a standard that no one else is held to– is absurd, and wrong. Get a grip.



…. Ouch

This is not the kind of news the Cardinals wanted to hear:

St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Rick Ankiel, baseball’s feel-good story of the season, received a 12-month supply of human growth hormone in 2004 from a Florida pharmacy that was part of a national illegal prescription drug-distribution operation, the Daily News has learned.

Ankiel, who flamed out mentally and physically as a pitcher earlier this decade, only to return to the majors as a slugging outfielder last month, has evoked comparisons this season to Roy Hobbs and Babe Ruth. He hit two home runs, a double and had seven RBI yesterday against the Pirates at Busch Stadium, giving him nine home runs in 81 at-bats since his remarkable major league comeback began on Aug. 10.

According to records obtained by The News and sources close to the controversy surrounding anti-aging clinics that dispense illegal prescription drugs, Ankiel received eight shipments of HGH from Signature Pharmacy in Orlando from January to December 2004, including the brand-name injectable drugs Saizen and Genotropin.

And, as David Pinto pointed out in his post, HGH doesn’t work:

…. there are no performance-enhancing benefits from using HGH in baseball. There is no documented evidence that HGH improves performance. While studies are sparse due to ethical limits, what studies have been done show that while growth hormone may promote muscle growth that it does not increase strength.

So Ankiel, if he did use HGH, chose poorly in his desperate efforts to revive his career.

UPDATE: The Starting Five is ranting and raving about this. It’s about time I’m not the only voice of reason:

…. STOP MAKING EXCUSES FOR RICK ANKIEL! With every word in defense of Ankiel, every writer who has advocated for the figurative or literal hanging of Barry Bonds can officially kiss my ass. All the sloth in the blog world, yeah all you who refused to conduct any real research into steroids and HGH and BALCO and Barry Bonds, who bought knee pads to “get down” with and on the, ummmm, jocks of the mainstream, what’s the excuse, now?

It was legal?

Sorry, Signature Pharmacy is the central player in the HGH investigation on Florida, not the do-gooder.

He’s a good guy?

Ankiel wasn’t known as too goood a guy when he was getting fried for having the yips and throwing fastballs 10 feet over everybody behind the plate’s heads? In fact, Ankiel got downright snarky, as well he should have.

See, the statement Peter Gammons made (see below) is true: unless you’ve spent the thousands of hours it takes to reach as high as you can possibly reach in the world of sports, you in no way can understand what athletes go through, what future body sacrifices are made just to get to where you end up in pro sports.

These guys are making me all teary-eyed. *sniff*

UPDATE, Part II: You can hear Ankiel not admitting that he did take HGH, and that he took it to recover from Tommy John surgery, and the Cardinals are standing behind him. Ummm…. yeah, that’s all well and good, except for the fact that Signature Pharmacy has been busted for illegally prescribing HGH and steroids to athletes, without meeting the athletes, or following normal, accepted protocol for prescribing drugs. So, Jocketty and the Cards standing behind him, and the reporters, (like Rob Neyer), rushing to his defense, are completely fucked up, completely wrong, and are engaged in the highest form of hypocrisy.

Add Troy Glaus’ name to the list of athletes who received shipments from Signature.

This is fucking awesome.

UPDATE, Part III: What the hell, let’s revisit what I wrote about another St. Louis Cardinal 3 fucking years ago:

…. hysterical media-types are fanning the flames of controversy; “Oh no, it looks like so and so really did do whatever it takes. Shame on him!” Please. Don’t insult my inteligence. Of course he or she did, what did you expect? The only difference between what one athlete will risk as opposed to another is based on their own personal decision-making values. As for their choice, I’d ask you; is it appropriate for one person to decide what another should be willing to risk? Is it OK for you to tell me what I should be willing to do to improve my life, my career, my earning potential? Not in my book, it isn’t, not as long as my actions don’t harm anyone else, or take from anyone else.

In the five years prior to 1997, Mark McGwire played 139, 27, 47, 104, and 130 games. Was it his use of andro (or steroids) that allowed him to play 156, 155 and 153 over the next three, hitting 58, 70 and 65 home runs? During those five injury-riddled seasons, he hit a home run every 9.44 AB’s. In the next three, in which he played almost every game, he hit a home run every 8.17 at bats, not a tremendous difference. He stopped using andro sometime during the end of the 1998 season, right? Only one full season later, he was back on the injured list, and his career was over by 2001.

If his use of andro enabled him to stay healthy enough and strong enough to get enough at bats to break Roger Maris’ record, how exactly was that wrong? Why should Mark McGwire give up his right to do whatever he can to help his body heal itself and stay strong enough to endure the rigors of baseball, his chosen profession? If there are risks involved, why shouldn’t he be the one to decide if they are worth it? It’s his life!



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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
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