Archive for November, 2007

…. Big deal

With all the talk of the Yankees trading for Johann Santana, little has been made of the fact that they wouldn’t need to trade for him had they made the smart free-agent choices over the last several seasons. Had they been able to do so, they wouldn’t be sitting here with a virtually useless Johnny Damon, a soon-to-be out of baseball Carl Pavano; they wouldn’t have given up a bunch of good prospects for Randy Johnson, only to see him go away after providing nothing of real value. They wouldn’t have needed Shacon, or Aaron Small. They wouldn’t have had to pay Roger Clemens $4 million dollars per win.

In fact, one free agent would have probably made all the difference in the world. Three seasons ago, when the Yankees passed on the chance to sign Josh Beckett, even though he was clearly the best available free agent pitcher of the last ten years, they were following a pattern of incorrectly analyzing their needs, and more importantly, misjudging the value of the available free agents. This led them to overpay for and/or trade for a group of mediocre and/or over the hill starting pitchers, like Pavano, Johnson, and Kevin Brown, to name but a few. In fact, the starting pitchers the Yankees have trotted out over the last four seasons have been little more than over-priced mediocrities, (in some cases, massively over-priced mediocrities). The lion’s share of the blame for the team’s failure to recapture the championship lies at the feet of these pitchers, these decisions, and let’s not forget Mike Mussina, who has been a good but not even close to great pitcher since he’s been a Yank.

Missing out on Beckett –and then having to watch him lead the Red Sox to the promised land this last season– is a mistake they must regret. If they end up having to give up Joba Chamberlin to land Santana, it could end up being the kind of mistake even the uber-wealthy Yankees may regret for along, long time.

During the first half of Joe Torre’s tenure, when Yankee Stadium was, once again, the place where championships live; it was starting and relief pitching that made the team what it was. Steinbrenner, Cashman, and the rest of the Yankee braintrust clearly forgot that, as they focused on remaking the team into an offensive juggernaut; ignoring the fact that their starting pitchers were getting older, less effective, and more difficult to replace, and neglecting speed, youth, and defense for good measure. The decision to ignore the opportunity to nab Carlos Beltran proved to be equally costly, as the team has spent every season since searching for the right combination of outfield defense and offense. No powerhouse pitching, no youth, no speed, suspect defense…. But all of this could be overcome by one thing; outstanding –make them swing and miss outstanding– starting pitching.

In 1998, all five of the Yankee starters had at least 126 strikeouts, with David Cone’s 209 leading the pack. In ’99 all five starters did it again, and in 2000, four starters made 30-plus starts, and all four of them had well over 100 strikeouts. IN ’01, when the Yanks lost to the D’backs in seven games, both Mussina and Clemens had over 200 strikeouts, and four starters had over 100. In ’02 and ’03, again the team had four starters crack the century mark.

Starting in 2004, the Yankees starting pitchers have gotten old, gotten bad, and become completely hittable. In ’04, the top Yankee strikeout total came from Javier Vazquez, who topped out at a mediocre 150 in 198 innings. In ’05, the Yankees got 80 strikeouts from Mariano Rivera, which was the third-highest total of any pitcher on the team. I n ’06, Scott Proctor’s 89 was also the third-highest total on the entire staff; and last season, Andy Pettitte had 141, Wang had 104, and Mussina had 91.

Why have the Yanks been such postseason pushovers the last four seasons? This is why. No power pitching, at all. For that matter, no truly consistent, effective starting pitching of any kind. You think Joe Torre suddenly forgot how to manage? Or did the Yankees have no one who could take the ball and get them to the seventh inning more than one game in five?

Add it all up, and you come to no other conclusion than this:

The Yankees absolutely have to land Santana.

They have to if they intend to continue to play every season as a win it all or nothing proposition. Without him to start Game One of each series, this team goes into every playoff series as an underdog, no matter how much offense they have. You want to see a David Ortiz moment from A-Rod? Get a dominant starting pitcher, or two, for that matter, because Pettitte and Mussina’s best days are behind them, Wang’s stuff relies too much on defense, and there’s no sure thing in Hughes and Kennedy. Get Santana, and you can match up with Beckett and the Red Sox, or anyone’s ace, really.

It’s too bad they miscalculated Beckett’s value. It’s too bad they failed to see Bernie Williams was done when they could have had Beltran at a now downright underpaid $13 million per. They did. They aren’t gonna move Jeter to the outfield, even though they need to. They aren’t gonna get younger. They need to upgrade their pitching staff, and they need Santana to start the process.

UPDATE: Doh! I forgot that Beckett was a trade as well. Oh, well. My argument still holds water. The Yankees did make trades that were for the wrong guys, while also making free agent choices that were pretty awful as well. Sure, maybe they couldn’t have gotten Beckett, just like the Giants can’t really make a swing for Cabrera. But, just because I screwed up one part doesn’t mean I’m crazy…. ha ha! ;-)

…. One way street

Sign of the times:

White House deputy drug czar Scott Burns thinks the Bonds indictment as a success, the upcoming Mitchell report on steroids in baseball as a positive and envisions a day when all research papers for sale pro sports will sign onto the World Anti-Doping Agency’s rules.

“They don’t want to sign on right now, because it’s tough and it’s specific. And there are consequences and it can be monitored, and people will be caught and cheaters will be punished,” White House deputy drug czar Scott Burns said Tuesday. “But will they sign on eventually? Just about everyone in the world has.”

Or maybe they don’t want to sign on because the system is weighted heavily against athlete’s rights, or because professional athletes needn’t be held to the same standards that amateurs are, or maybe because there’s no real reason for athletes to agree to give up rights in the name of protecting themselves from risks, since they already take huge health risks.

I could probably list about a dozen more reasons why professional sports are resisting giving up control over their governance, or why athletes don’t want to involve themselves in an even greater degree of hypocrisy and double standards; but I can’t answer why the vast majority of sports “journalists” only see one side of this issue.

…. Wake up!

I just found Sports on my Mind, through one of Giantsrainman’s backtalker rants, and wow, have I been asleep. D.K. Wilson, who is sometimes published in the Chicago Sports Review, and used to write for the Starting Five, goes on and on and on about Barry Bonds, taking my instinctive rantings and filling them out with far greater detail and research than I have either the time nor the inclination to do; and he nails it on just about every count. I have already made a change to my lineup, slotting him in as my cleanup hitter, (sorry, Lefty, you’ve been bumped down to the top slot in the Giants section); and I’m gonna feature one of his Bonds articles every day until I catch up. The first one, The Essence of Bonds, is simply brilliant:

There is something inherently wrong with the federal government and its four-year investigation and now prosecution of Barry Bonds. Something is wrong about spending millions and millions of dollars of taxpayer money – and there is no law mandating that we even pay taxes – to chase evidence to prove that Bonds lied to a grand jury. There is something wrong with a society in which individuals within that society would, en masse, express a hatred toward a man they (know) nothing about rather than demand that the monies they have been illegally taxed be returned to them. The mass – the ruling mob – seems to be saying that they will pay money to watch the government chase down Barry Bonds, find enough evidence to get him into a court room, and then put him on trial.

…. the Barry Bonds case crosses generations. Young mob members and old-time mobsters alike hate what Bonds stands for. Across age lines and races there is a, “let’s get this guy who got us for so long,” attitude that is so destructive, so mal that it borders on collusion. That all of you invested so much time in your hate for Bonds that you failed to examine the complex nature of the most riveting figure in the history of sports means you have effectively wiped history from the big book, Every Event in Our Existence. Your hate for Bonds stole any meaningful discussion of the man from the public forum.

All I’ll say is that there has been plenty of meaningful discussion of the man, here, and I’m damn proud to say so. Wilson adds to my understanding, and deepens my appreciation of being outside the box.

UPDATE: Wilson wrote a nice piece on the misinformation regards Bonds growth spurts as well:

The question I put to these men of near-alchemical knowledge of medicines was simply this: Can HGH make a fully-grown adult male’s bones grow and if so, how much HGH would it take, and what are the side effects?

Their answers were interesting – after they laughed at me (damn, that makes twice in consecutive days that respected persons from the medical profession have laughed at my questions!):

Doc A: No (chortle), no way HGH makes bones grow. Bones may thicken, but not grow.

Doc B: The Barry Bonds stuff, huh? ESPN sure does a good job of – let’s just say they’ve twisted the facts of human growth hormone’s effects on the adult male body.

Doc A: Edema can be mistaken for growth, but no (chortle). And I mean can be by someone with no expertise with growth hormone side effects. Look, I’m sorry to laugh, but where people get this information, I don’t know. I can’t imagine any responsible person in the medical profession saying something like this. We’re all professors as well and we know this misrepresentation of facts is dangerous.

Of course there are dangers associated with human growth hormone as there are with any drug, prescription or non-prescription. With growth hormone the primary adverse and potentially dangerous side effect concerns enlarged internal organs. But how that pertains to Bonds’ feet and hat size, I don’t know – well, I do. It doesn’t.

Really? I’ve been challenging the “His head is bigger” bullshit for two years now. Wilson took the time to actually talk to doctors, who laughed at the idea. Wish I would have thought of that.

…. Two sides

As in, there are two sides to every story. In this 2004 article, (originally published in Playboy) Jonathan Littman details the investigation into Barry Bonds and BALCO, and more importantly, how Jeff Novitsky, an IRS agent, decided that he wanted to get Bonds, because of his arrogance, because he was such an asshole. The article also details many of the inconsistencies in the investigation, including the government’s reluctance to indict or even investigate further countless professional athletes (mostly white athletes); while focusing all of their efforts on getting Bonds.

Today, Littman wants us to know that he stands by his original piece, and why:

I stick by my May 2004 Playboy story, Gunning for the Big Guy, which made no bones about what this was about from the beginning – nabbing Barry Bonds for steroid use and cheating at a professional sport. Bonds was always the focal point. Today these three cops stand firm. Forget about steroids. The case against Barry Bonds will likely be won or lost on the deeds, words and integrity of a lone federal agent.

Not a daring DEA drug agent.

Not a solid FBI man with dozens of major busts on his resume.

The protagonist here is the unlikely Jeff Novitzky, an IRS criminal investigator who for most of his career played a back-up role to veterans at other federal agencies.

The final chapter in BALCO will be less about drugs or Bonds’ testimony about what he may have ingested, but about whether one of the greatest black athletes in history was set up. For the last few years, the media has painted Novitzky a hero, the “dogged” investigator in the style of Eliot Ness. In the wake of the indictment they are singing his praises anew. But the prosecution may turn on whether Novitzky’s desire to topple Bonds led him to commit the classic rookie blunder—stepping on his fellow cops and the law. For no matter who was implicated in the case, Bonds was always the big fish.

Was this entrapment? As Novitzky relentlessly pursued Bonds, did baseball’s white players get a pass while the black star was dealt a bait and switch?

The media frenzy surrounding the Bonds indictment has missed a key fact. The federal prosecutor in San Francisco appears to have failed in his primary goal—to build an iron clad steroids case against the legendary player. Nor did the extreme measure of sending Bonds’ trainer to jail succeed in getting him to roll against his former employer. Anderson kept silent and, with the filing of the indictment, by law had to be released.

The government is playing the only card it has left, filing a perjury indictment largely based on circumstantial evidence dating from a four-year-old search of the BALCO labs.

This was not the original plan.

Misuse of power, misappropriation of millions of dollars, unfairly targeting one player while ignoring the misdeeds of countless others; you name it, it’s happening right in front of you while the mainstream media write article after article, editorial after editorial, all designed to let us know what an asshole Bonds is, what a great day it is that the government can spend all of this time and money to get a player who nobody likes.

It’s a disgrace, and it’s a terrifying look at what can happen when personal gain collides with government service.

UPDATE: The Starting Five has not one, but two articles that illuminate a third side of the issue, the one which shows how the owners and presidents and general managers and sportswriters have profited from the steroid scandal, and how they’ve been able to hide all of it by focusing on destroying Bonds:

…. The federal government NEVER focused on owners. They never focused on the power brokers who set the table for steroid use in the game as a means to enrich themselves. They never focused on the bottom line of this $6 billion industry. The federal government – and your media – focused on the players, black, white and Afro/Euro/Indio-Latin. Owners were not called to account for what was deemed to be the greatest transgression in the history of sports. And some day, players will understand that there is an enormous difference between player rich and owner rich. Owners are addressed as Mr. Angelos or Mr. Turner or Mr. Selig. Players are still children in a man’s world. They are addressed by their nicknames (”A-Rod”, “Rocket”, etc.) or their first names with all the derision and familiarity of a john slapping his favorite whore on the ass.

Chris Rock put it best: “Shaq is rich. The white man who signs his checks is wealthy. If Bill Gates woke up this morning with Oprah’s money, he’d jump outta the fuckin’ window!”

Hat tip to hal for the Starting Five link. ;-)

…. Three’s a charm

A-Rod won his third MVP award, easily beating Magglio Ordonez.  The two writers who chose Ordonez over A-Rod should have to turn in the BBWAA credentials. 

Congratulations to A-Rod, who, as David Pinto points out, could have easily won five already.

…. Talk talk

Backtalkers, unite. ;-)

The Kool Aid references, while funny, aren’t really apt in my case. To suggest that someone is drinking Kool Aid is to suggest that they are lemmings, following the masses. In point of fact, I am the one who is outside of the box, here. Nonetheless, as long as you’re here, we might as well talk….

Rick Maese, of the Baltimore Sun echoes some of my sentinments, albeit a tad more eloquently. Here’s a taste:

…. Before we put both feet through this looking-glass of absurdity, let’s go on record with a few things: Bonds is more likely a jerk, not a pariah….. Consider this: The longest-running grand jury investigation into clerical abuse ran for three years. It revealed hundreds of children had been abused by 63 priests over a 35-year period. With yesterday’s indictment, in four years’ time, all we’ve learned is that Bonds isn’t the best role model and he might not be very truthful. That’s not a good return on our investment. In fact, I suspect if you devoted four years to similarly focused crusades, we might learn that much of corporate America, a good chunk of the legal world and many of our elected officials are guilty of similar character crimes.

Exactly. If you investigated anybody for four years, virtually unfettered by decency, with unlimited resources and a right-wing White House backing you the whole way, you could come up with something. Bonds didn’t obstruct the BALCO investigation. They got their indictment, got their conviction, Anderson and Conte got jail time, paid their fines, paid their dues. If you were asked to testify against a cocaine dealer and you lied to save our job, and the dealer got indicted and convicted anyway, there’s almost no chance that the DA would go after you for doing so. It wouldn’t be worth the money, it wouldn’t be worth the risk of losing a difficult perjury case, it wouldn’t warrant attention.

Bonds was, in fact, singled out, because he was an asshole who broke the home run records, a black man who acted like he was the best, the biggest and baddest man in the room. He was insulting and demeaning and rude and pretty much got what he wanted, did what he wanted, for twenty years or more. So, yeah, petty jealousy, inflamed sensibilities, and maybe a little racism thrown in for good measure; all of these things and more contributed to this effort to get him, to take him down a notch, to show him who’s really boss.

If you are on board with that, you’re the one drinking the Kool Aid. You’re the one who thinks that everything the man in charge says is right, that everything is black and white; that it’s easy to say Bonds is bad, and you don’t care about whether the entire league should be under the microscope. You don’t care that players like Paul Byrd, or noted good guy, gamer of the decade Matt Williams also seem to have been involved, or that it’s been mostly pitchers that have tested positive, or that maybe, just maybe, players were encouraged to do whatever they could to win by management, by ownership, or even the commissioner.

And let’s be clear, the home run binge that started pretty much when everyone came back from the strike saved baseball. McGwire and Sosa brought the game back into the public spotlight, with each player’s individual at-bats cutting into other sports live coverage as the season went on. You think Seligula thought it was bad at the time? You think the owners of the Twins and the Royals thought it was terrible as their revenue sharing sclice went for $1 million a season to $20 million? You want to put an asterisk on Bonds, you better start giving back wins for the Giants, start changing everyone’s stats. If you’re gonna strike Bonds’ records, that means all of the pitchers he victimized, the 400-plus guys who served up his home runs, all of those guys get a break, don’t they? What about all the merchandise? What about all the advertising revenue?

If McGwire’s such a pariah, why don’t you go ask the Busch family to give back all the money they made in ’98? Baseball’s revenue’s just passed $6 billion, you think maybe the home run chases that captivated the nation in ’98 had a little to do with that? You think the House that Bonds built –and the extra 2 million fans per year that went there– maybe contributed a little? You bet your ass.So now we’re gonna hang Bonds. Good for you, good for all of you. Tell me this isn’t appropriate: :-)

I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way….

You fuckin’ people. You have no idea how to defend a nation. All you did was weaken a country today, Kaffee. That’s all you did. You put people’s lives in danger. Sweet dreams, son.  

UPDATE: Here’s the link to my interview. Let me know if it sounds OK.

…. And <i>this</i> was slow

After four-plus years, after countless leaks, rumors, misleading statements, lies, innuendo, and posturing, after all of the horsehit and hysteria; Barry Bonds was finally indicted on perjury charges. Here’s the indictment.

Page 3 of the indictment starts off with this:

9. During the criminal investigation, evidence was obtained including positive tests for the presence of anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing substances for Bonds and other professional athletes.

Really? Bonds failed a drug test? Why have we never heard this before? How could that fact have been kept a secret, while virtually everything else was leaked to the press? How is that believable?

Needless to say, it is a big deal:

According to today’s indictment, in response to one question, Bonds told prosecutors that he didn’t believe that his personal trainer, Greg Anderson, had ever given him banned drugs. Anderson later pleaded guilty to steroid distribution charges in the BALCO case. Bonds’ statement was false, the grand jury that indicted Bonds today concluded.

Likewise, the grand jury said Bonds also lied when he testified that Anderson had never injected him with drugs, and when he said Anderson had never supplied him with human growth hormone.

Greg Anderson, in jail for 13 1/2 months, was released when the indictment was issued, and boy, is his lawyer pissed:

It’s infuriating, when you read the indictment. Is there anything in that indictment that wasn’t known a year ago? If that is the case, clearly, putting Greg in for a year was not only punitive, but was misleading the court in that (federal prosecutors) said his testimony was indispensable for the investigation.

All of sudden, it was, ‘I hope your year was therapeutic.’

There has to be some kind of redress for this. The whole thing is a crock of shit. He’s never said word one.

So Anderson never cracked, but they finally decided to go for it anyway.

My first reaction is that this is a travesty, and has been for years. For someone to be investigated for this long for something so unimportant is a disgrace. The amount of money spent, and the effort and time that has gone into this bald-faced attempt to dishonor and disgrace a fucking baseball player is just terrible. This is an abuse of power, a shameless personal attack of Barry Bonds.

My second reaction is, holy shit, I’m gonna get a lot of traffic. ;-)

This is not a good day for baseball, it’s not a good day for anyone involved, really. I don’t see how you could be proud to taking four years to get an indictment for something so minor. In fact, I’d say they don’t really care whether they win or not anymore. This has gone on for so long, that they couldn’t afford not to indict him. At this point, who cares what happens. At the least, they’re gonna drag his ass through the mud for as long as they possibly can, and if they convict, great, he’ll appeal; if they don’t, they can appeal. Either way, his name will be in the paper for another three or four years.

I’m gonna be on the radio tomorrow, I’m trying to get a confirmation of a 10am, PST interview with Brandon Rosage of MVN Radio. I’ll post the details as soon as I finalize everything.

UPDATE: David Pinto thinks that the test they’re referring to would seem to be part of the survey tests MLB ran in 2003. Still find it hard to believe that that information –just the single most important fact involved in the entire case– could have remained a secret, while virtually everything else wasn’t.

UPDATE: Michael McCann has a quick of the charges:

They are very serious. A grand jury has identified probable cause — meaning “more likely than not” — that Barry Bonds committed perjury and obstruction of justice. If Bonds committed those crimes, he knowingly denigrated our system of justice and those who uphold it. At best, his conduct would be characterized as brazen disregard for legal rules; at worst, an untoward combination of arrogance, deception, and guile in a setting where we demand the very opposite. However a conviction would be described, Bonds would face up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each of three perjury charges, and 10 years and a $250,000 fine for an obstruction of justice charge. He would be facing serious time

…. That was fast

I got beat to the punch by everyone, but I still have to mention the A-Rod reunion tour with the Yankees. They went from kiss my ass to kiss and make up in about a second, or so it seemed. But really, who could afford, really afford $30 million per for one player? Only the Yankees, obviously. And so, A-Rod will combat his post-season failures and demons as a Yankee. Let’s not forget, prior to ’02, Bonds was a spectacular postseason bust.

For the best coverage of the situation, hit the NY Daily News, Baseball Musings, and Bronx Banter.

…. Boldly go where no man has gone before

OK, so obviously the A-Rod express isn’t gonna land in SF, but how about Miguel Cabrera? It’s hard not to love the idea of adding a 24-year old with 138 career home runs, who posted a .400-plus OBP for the last two seasons, with a career line of .313/.388/.542 .929 OPS. Bill James, in the same article I mentioned the other day, ranks him as the 13th best young player in baseball:

He’s fat and he looks lazy, but he hits .320 and drives in 115 runs every year. As a hitter, he’s in a class with Albert Pujols, Manny Ramirez and Albert Belle, just crushes the ball about 200 times a year. As a third baseman he’s in a class with guys who really need to work on playing third base.

So, fine, move him to first, and leave the horrifying Pedro Feliz to be our version of a defensive replacement at third. As long as we can sign him to an extension, he should be picked up for, say, either Jonathan Sanchez or Noah Lowry and a couple of prospects. Actually, Jon Heyman reports tha Marlins want prospects only, which is even better:

Florida will likely seek a package of three young players, including at least one or two top-tier talents for Cabrera, 24, who is eligible for free agency after the 2009 season.

He’s not even eligible for free agency for two more seasons?! Great. Let them look through a list of five or six of our best prospects, and let’s pick up one of the best hitters in the game at the beginning of what should be the prime years of his career.

You could argue that he’d be a better pickup than A-Rod, simply because of his age. He’d make a huge impact on our offense immediately, and by moving to first, he’d solve two problems at once. Then Sabean could go out and actually earn his money, and grab Andruw Jones. He’d be a bargain coming off one of the worst years of his career (which was still a better year than Feliz, who Sabean is talking about giving $8 million dollars), he’s still two years younger(!) than Feliz, and he’d instantly save about 100 runs in center. (Gotcha!! You thought I was serious, admit it) In two moves, we’d have transformed the team, adding something like 70 to 80 home runs, better outfield defense, and we’d get younger in the bargain.

Come on Sabean, make something happen. Three straight years of sucking the pipe are enough.

UPDATE: David Pinto says a lot about Cabrera in his Sporting News article, but he says it all in his post about Cabrera:

Players like Cabrera are rare. Acquiring one for prospects is more than worth it.

Guys, we’re not talking about trading away great young pitching prospects for a 30-year old catcher –an obviously stupid and disastrous move that Sabean should have never even considered– we’re talking about trading great young pitching prospects for a potential Hall of Famer who’s gonna be 25 years old. As much as I, too, am still gun-shy at trading away some of our young pitchers, there’s really no comparison. Other than Cain and Licecum –who have to be considered untouchable– the Giants do have some young studs, and the Marlins would be happy to take a couple of 17 and 18-year old uber-prospects; and I seem to remember we’ve recently picked up a couple. Is it really in the team’s best interests to wait and see if one of these players is major-league ready in three or four years, or should we trade them for an already established All Star who is younger than any position player on the team?

UPDATE, Part II: OK, so I’ve just checked on John Sickels’ Minor League Report, and the Giants prospects are, well, they’re horrible. Nate Silver says it even more succintly, (I forgot about this article, sorry):

We’ve talked about teams that face difficult situations, such as the Orioles, Rangers and Pirates. Well, the Giants are in more trouble than any of those clubs. Way more trouble. From the majors on down to the rookie levels, the Giants have by far less talent than any other organization in the big leagues. Making matters worse, they have almost no tradable assets

Beyond Sanchez, we’re talking about a heaping pile of backup infielders and middle relievers. Maybe we can’t put together a package to land Cabrera, shit, unless they fall asleep at the wheel, there’s probably no way in hell we can, but we should still try like hell.

There’s risk in everything, but Jeremy Accardo’s elbow is just as likely to explode as Cabrera’s ass is. This team needs a lot of help, and there’s none to be had in the system. Should Sabean just wait and see if the Yankees are gonna get him?

This is why I didn’t want to see Sabean kept on. Another winter of sitting here saying, wow, here’s an interesting way to solve the team’s problems, and then watching the Giants sit pat and trot out Klesko and Aurilia again. While the Hot Stove has rumors of just about every team in baseball doing something (more bad news, the Nationals just lost their third baseman to a broken wrist) the Giants big announcement is that they are severing ties with the best player they’re ever gonna have. That, and stories about bringing back Vizquel and Feliz, easily the worst left side of any infield in the entire world.

…. Leave me out of it

So says Barry Bonds to the Hall of Fame, should they allow Mark Ecko to deface Bonds’ record-breaking baseball before putting it on display:

I won’t go. I won’t be part of it, you can call me, but I won’t be there. I don’t think you can put an asterisk in the game of baseball, and I don’t think that the Hall of Fame can accept an asterisk. You cannot give people the freedom, the right to alter history. You can’t do it. There’s no such thing as an asterisk in baseball.

I will never be in the Hall of Fame. Never. Barry Bonds will not be there.

That’s my emotions now. That’s how I feel now. When I decide to retire five years from now, we’ll see where they are at that moment. We’ll see where they are at that time, and maybe I’ll reconsider. But it’s their position and where their position will be will be the determination of what my decision will be at that time.

I doubt many of the sportswriters in the anti-Bonds camp would have thought it could be so easy to keep him out of the hall. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see a whole slew of articles and Op-Ed pieces written suggesting that poor Mr. Ecko has the right to *sniff* do whatever he wants with his ball, and who the hell is Bonds to tell him otherwise.

Talk about fuel for the fire, Bonds is my age, and he still hasn’t learned when to just shut the hell up.

UPDATE: I’ve been saying Prince Fielder is the best young player in baseball for quite a while now. Now, the venerable Bill James has run the numbers and discovered, lo and behold, that I’ve been right all along:

I don’t think Fielder should be the NL MVP, although he will get some votes, and, let’s face it, he is not exactly a Prince of a Fielder. But 23-year-olds who hit 50 home runs don’t come around every year.

Hooray for me!

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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