Results tagged ‘ Barry Bonds ’

A Theraflu Induced Rant

yuri_sucart.jpgI didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to talk about it anymore. I mean, it’s all we’ve been talking about for the past few weeks and it kind of feels like a dagger in the heart every time it comes up. No, I’m not talking about the Tigers’ chances for success this season. And I’m not referring to Jeff’s notorious difficulty in the dating world. No, I’m talking about the former anti-Barry, Alex Rodriguez.

How is it possible that he just doesn’t get it? What is he paying Boras for? Shouldn’t that guy be out there making sure he doesn’t do stupid ^ss sh!t like this?

But no, once again A-Rod is in the news for all the wrong reasons. Yeah, he still has that sweet swing as Jeff mentioned yesterday. However, it appears he also still retains that incredible tone-deafness that got him into this current predicament. Really, man? After everything that’s happened you’re still going to head out for a night of needles in the butt with the same guy that supposedly got you into this mess? As Simon and Garfunkel put it so eloquently, “Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?”

Maybe he thought that everyone was so caught up in watching our president try to pull us out of our current financial mess that he figured no one would notice. Maybe he decided that the nation was so focused on the Republicans’ inane game of “I know you are but what am I?” that we’d all let this slide. Or maybe he just thinks that with the current state of things we’re all going to be dead soon so what does it matter anyway.

I don’t know. But, what I can say is that for all my dislike of the Yankees, this whole saga just makes me sad. Luckily I still have the Pistons and the Red Wings to keep me sane. What? Really? 8 games in a row? Well, I guess 1 out of 2 ain’t bad.

-A

The Filibuster

Griffey's catch.jpgKen Griffey, Jr. found his way back to Seattle last week despite his
obvious decline in market value.  What does it say about a team when
its best shot at putting fans in the seats is to sign a dilapidated
hero of old on the cheap?  Will this be a trend?  And ultimately, Is it
fair to the fans?

–Jeff

_________________________________

Dilapidated hero of old? I don’t remember you saying that when Griffey was playing for the White Sox last season. In fact, if I remember correctly, you were pretty excited about it. That statement is more than silly. It’s ignorant.

Here’s the deal, Mr. Lung. The Mariners are terrible. They lost more than 100 hundred games last year. But they’re also a proud franchise and a franchise that was built by that “dilapidated hero of old” that they just signed. This signing isn’t about turning the franchise around this season or building a playoff team around Junior. It’s about restoring some pride to the franchise and letting Griffey play his probable last season back where he began. It’s good for the team, it’s good for the fans and it’s good for Junior.

Now, if you want to look at the signing from a pragmatic standpoint, it still makes sense. After all the problems Griffey has had physically, he’s probably not going to be playing 162 games in the outfield. He’s also not the same player defensively that he was while playing with the Mariners back in the day. And that’s a liability in the National League. It’s the same problem the Giants ran into with Barry Bonds (along with, well, you know, that “other” problem). It didn’t make sense for Griffey to go to the Braves.

But Junior back in Seattle? That makes sense. When he’s healthy, he adds depth to their outfield and even when he’s not able to go at full speed, you can still include his bat in the DH spot. Yes, you’re right. Junior is not the same player that we grew up watching. But he’s still a formidable threat and it’s a win-win situation for the Mariners.

Now, as for your other question, about this being a trend for players to return to the teams they started off with, I don’t know if it is but I can think of worse things. It makes sense that Griffey should end his career in a Seattle uniform. It would make sense for Smoltz and Glavine to end their careers in Atlanta. It’s how we know them and it’s where they belong. I’m sure that if the Cards ever traded Pujols away, you’d still want him back, even if he wasn’t in MVP form. In many ways, free agency has gutted baseball but every once in awhile it works out in our favor. This is one of those times.

-A

The Interns Channel Their Inner Cassandra

four_horsemen_apocalypse.jpgEvery time I sit down to read the news these days, it seems that one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse is leering out from behind the story. Wildfires in Australia, cholera in Zimbabwe, war in the Middle East and famine here, there and everywhere. Even in the United States we are far from immune to these problems. Unemployment is out of control, no one knows where the financial crisis will ultimately leave us and despite the situation, Congress still can’t seem to figure out how to work together.

But I think the problem can be traced back deeper. No, Mr. Huckabee, it’s not the “anti-religious” forces within the country. And thank you for your input Bristol but it’s not because of teenage pregnancy and the unrealistic idea of abstinence. No, my very exact calculations based on the careful use of a divining rod and an ancient gypsy monkey paw have placed the sewing of the seeds of this crisis on September 9, 1992.

Oddly, another event took place that same day. Could the two be related? It seems too perfect to just be a coincidence. And since there was only one way to find out, I flew the RSBS interns in from Chicago and set them to work. And by the end of the day, in typical RSBS fashion, they came up with several interesting conclusions.

In much the same way that lax regulation allowed the housing market to become overheated, Bud Selig’s single-minded focus on increasing owner revenue allowed a bubble to develop in the baseball market. This enveloped the entire spectrum of baseball related services, too, from the price of seats at a game to the inflated salaries earned by players. But, as fans start tightening their belts, the teams are going to have to figure out some alternate way to keep the money coming in. Perhaps they’ll do it by offering better deals on ticket prices or attempting some new way to keep the concessions moving. It’s a pretty safe assumption that the owners won’t be seeing the same kind of money they did in the past, though. Soon, they might even have to start applying Verizon math to make ends meet.

Additionally, the confluence of decreasing revenue streams and the steroid situation will hit the free agent market pretty hard. The current log-jam in the credit markets came about as a result of toxic assets floating around the banking sector with no one knowing who would take the hit at the final reckoning. It’s like Barry Bonds floating around the periphery of MLB, trying to convince someone to take a chance on him. In the halcyon days of 2005, someone would have been willing to take the risk on both the fancy financial instrument and Mr. Bonds but the market is too tight right now to justify adding such huge liabilities to the books. Free agents will be signed to short-term contracts with PED stipulations, the union will call foul and soon we’ll have a breakdown, just like what we’ve seen in the credit market.

On the bright side, baseball still does provide a quality product so it won’t turn into a situation like that facing the automakers:

calvin_and_hobbes.jpgAt the same time, though, the tendency of owners to rely on municipal largess to rejuvenate the flagging fortunes of their franchises has backfired, a similar situation to what we’re now seeing at GM and Chrysler. Just look at the two new ballparks in the Bronx and Queens, payed for in large part by taxpayer money. As a result of the current economic situation, both teams are struggling to find the sponsorship and financing they need to finish off their end of the bargain. And once again the burden will fall on the shoulder of the taxpayer and the consumer because all the effected parties are “too big to fail.”

The question is, what do we do with these conclusions? Do we continue to chant the Selig mantra, sticking our heads in the sand and claiming that we did all we could do and no one would listen to us? Do we follow the new administration’s path and throw lots of money at the problem in hopes that it will break up the jam? Me, I think there’s a simpler answer. It’s time that the leader who got us into this mess admitted his culpability and fell on his own sword. Healing cannot take place until the tumor has been removed. For that reason, Bud Selig must go.

-A (with special thanks to DK) 

A-Rod at the Plate

arod at the bat.jpgI remember listening to NPR while driving to work one spring morning and hearing a wonderful rendition of the famous poem, Casey at the Bat. It was read by James Earl Jones and the recitation was accompanied by some orchestra. Sure enough, it was Opening Day and it felt like the perfect way to start the baseball season.

But that was a different time. That was spring of 2002 when maybe we weren’t quite as naive as we had been but we were far enough removed from the strike and still unaware of the steroid scandal. I’m afraid that if I were to tune in my radio on Opening Day this year, the poem would be quite a bit shorter and might go something like this:

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for most baseball fans that day;
Canseco had become a sage with allegations of tainted play,
And when McGwire admitted using, and knowing Bonds had done the same,
A pall-like silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought with optimism that was waning as of late,
“The game might still have purity now, with A-Rod at the plate.”

But, the sneer has fled from A-Rod’s lip, the eyes are filled with tears;
He sports a shirt and sweater as his soul to us he bares.
And now Gammons forms the question, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of A-Rod’s blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and little children shout;
But there is no joy in baseball — mighty A-Rod has struck out.

Only this time it’s not just the Mudville nine that lose. It’s all of us.

-A

Ripping Us At the “Seems”

michelle and barack obama.jpgIf you are one to eschew the daily fear mongering and perpetual bad news infecting our world today, then I highly recommend you avoid reading the Chicago Tribune first thing in the morning.  Unfortunately, for me, the Tribune has become that thing I love to hate.  My self-inflicted aggravation is just one of the many results.

But today, I came across a titillating article by Stacy St. Clair which boasted and celebrated the harmony, the togetherness, the complete reciprocal adoration between Barack and Michelle Obama — our nation’s first couple.  Reading it made me feel good.

As the day went on, news broke of Alex Rodriguez — our collective fallen hero — and his stunning confession of guilt regarding his usage of banned performance enhancing drugs in 2003.  The image of Rodriguez discussing the issue with Peter Gammons flickered on my computer screen.  I was overwhelmed with sadness.

My thoughts immediately went back to the Obama article and I couldn’t help but ask myself: Is anything what it seems anymore?

Alex Rodriguez thinking.jpgAlex Rodriguez put on a great front.  Despite Jose Canseco’s self-righteous smear campaign and associated agenda, I never once questioned Rodriguez’s proclaimed innocence.  At no time did I suspect Rodriguez to be tainted in even the slightest of ways, for A-Rod was our hero.  He was the one targeted with pulling us out of the steroid era forever.  He was the one endowed with replacing Bonds as the all-time homerun king.  He was the one who seemed like the most talented, most gifted, most touted ballplayer I have ever witnessed play the game.

What you see is not always what you get.

John Edwards seemed like a family man.

Pete Rose seemed like the consummate all-American baseballer.

Eliot Spitzer seemed like a hard-nosed crime-stopper.

The Wizard of Oz seemed like an all-powerful wizard.

And it turns out they were all just… like… us:

H-U-M-A-N.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

|-O

barry bonds skinny.jpgWhat you see as the title to this post is what the kids are calling an
“emoticon”.  This emoticon in particular represents a most nihilistic
and defeatist yawn — a yawn so stretched and bored, so laggard and
languid that it cannot be adequately expressed through the four-letter
word itself.

Yes, folks.

This is what happens when I see Barry Bonds in the news again.

Are there really any more surprises left in this drawn-out saga of a tale?  Were there really any surprises to begin with regarding Bonds’ overtly obvious transmutation from skinny dude with loads of talent to Markus Ruhl wannabe who happens to swing a bat? 

At this point… does anyone really care?

Methenolone, nandrolone, exogenous testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone, epitestosterone, shouldireallygiveahootsterone.

If only Barry would have heeded the warnings set forth by his trainer and confidant, the late great Sergei Akmudov:

http://www.hulu.com/embed/SX1NU3DYknwC6EuBZxdH_Q

Finally, we have come to the point where self-inflicted mutilation is certainly more interesting than any Bonds story to date.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

Pay-Rod: MSNBC’s Liberal Use of Famed MLB Moniker Proven Inaccurate

rod blagjojevich.jpgMSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews led off its December 15th
broadcast with the teaser line “Pay-Rod” next to a photo of a
disgruntled, egomaniacal Rod Blagojevich — a clear shot at the
shortcomings of Blago’s esurient character aimed to compare him to
Yankees superstar Alex Rodriguez.  The joke here is obvious: pay to play.  But MSNBC got this baseball-politico comparison wrong and as the de facto authority on such surreptitious simile, allow me to tell you why:

alex rodriguez.jpgCall him greedy, call him seedy, call him needy: A-Rod (aka “Pay-Rod”) still produces results (*post-season not included in this study).

He
demands and receives big money because he is arguably the best player
out there; simple supply-and-demand economics only follow suit. 

Blago,
however, does not.  His record low approval rating (even prior to
Patrick Fitzgerald’s accusations) rivaled only that of our Dear Leader
Bush.  His refusal to live in Springfield has long angered tax-payers
and politicians alike.  His swashbuckling appropriations of state funds
caused him to be a Chicago Tribune target.  And let’s face it: his
hairdo sucks.

But the most appalling of all Blago character traits is his cocky swagger, his self-righteous talking points, his relentless refusal to come clean — to face the Federal music and tell the public what exactly is/has been going on.

In other words…

Rod Blagojevich is the Barry Bonds of politics.

Just as…

Marion Barry
is the Josh Hamilton…. and…

David Duke is the Ty Cobb… and…

Barney Frank is the Billy Bean

If we’re going to throw out catchy baseball player references in
relation to controversial politicians, MSNBC, let’s make sure they’re
accurate, shall we?

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

This is not about Rickey Henderson

trammell and whitaker.jpgYou know, I could sit here and cry about how my favorite player from my childhood is on the Hall of Fame ballot but won’t make it in just like my friend Mr. Lung. And the thing is, I really could. I mean, not only did Alan Trammell play for one of the best Tigers’ teams ever back in ’84, he also has the same first name as me(!), even if he does spell it incorrectly. But, it’s just not in me.

It really all comes down to what Mark at MLBlogs had to say, “These plaques go next to those of
Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Walter Johnson, Hank Aaron, Stan Musial.” As much as I loved watching Trammell at shortstop, turning those sweet double plays with Lou Whitaker and as great as his ’83 and ’84 seasons were, I can’t really say that he belongs next to those names.

Now, I’ll admit that it’s a little more difficult to say the same thing about McGwire. Even if he is a juiced up steroid junkie who probably can’t touch his hands together over his head, he was exciting to watch. More than that, McGwire rewrote the record books until Barry Bonds came along and really started flexing his PED-built muscles. And like Mr. Lung says, there are definitely some incorrigible characters in the Hall.

However, the one thing you don’t see in the Hall are cheaters. Shoeless Joe Jackson has the third highest career batting average in the majors but you won’t see his name in Cooperstown. Same goes for Pete Rose even if it is the result of something that didn’t happen on the field. If you’re going to bar these guys and their amazing records, I don’t have a problem with keeping Mr. McGwire out, too.

bud selig ear.jpgThis whole debate is ridiculous, though. We all know that Rose should be in the Hall and, even if he was a cheat, there’s no dismissing McGwire’s ability and contribution to the game of baseball. In the end, it’s just sad that a no-talent ^ss-clown like Michael Bolton, uh, I mean Bud Selig should be able to keep people from even coming up for a vote. Let Rose on the list and then let the sportswriters decide if he merits entry. Same goes for Bonds when he becomes eligible. The Hall of Fame does not exist to serve the whims of the Commissioner. It’s there so that fans can celebrate the greatest players to ever step on a baseball diamond. That means you, Rose. You too, McGwire. And what the hell, get on in there, Bonds.

-A

No-Brainers Made Complicated: Now It’s the ‘Norm

mark mcgwire celebration.jpgI’m sorry, but did the National Bureau of Economic Research just inform me and myriad dear readers, that indeed the United States of America’s economy is in a (daresay) recession?

Duh!

I beg your pardon, but did our Dear Leader, in an interview with ABC’s Charlie Gibson, admit his own incompetency by saying “I think I was unprepared for war”?

Doh!

As if the mass exodus of once-successful business owners to the overcrowded unemployment line in my Southside Chicago neighborhood wasn’t reason enough to believe.  As if the tense gazes of disgust from world leaders and record low approval rating during Bush II wasn’t enough reason to believe.  Well, folks, believe it; and believe that the spindoctors are just going to keep getting more and more convoluted as they assume we US Americans are as dumb as they are obvious.

Because apparently, the new status quo put forth by those in power has regressed to that of an unnecessary complication of issues that should otherwise be clear as day.

This has never been more true as we go into the third year of Mark McGwire Hall of Fame eligibility, where once again, I predict the baseball writers will find it in themselves to be a group of holier-than-thou judgmental jack^sses who consistently confuse clarity with integrity.

Did McGwire use performance enhancing drugs?  Maybe.  Probably.  We don’t know for sure and we never will.

Did McGwire’s awkward Capitol Hill exchange further damage his image and cause us to question his character?  Yes.  Definitely.

Should it matter when considering him for the Hall of Fame?

Hell no.

Hands down, Mark McGwire should have been a first-time ballot Hall of Famer.  His numbers, his performance, his legacy and the positive impact he had on the game alone should have put him in on the first try. 

While I dare not minimize the damaging stain PEDs have left on the game of baseball as well as the youth of our nation, I still believe in the democratic principle of one being “innocent until proven guilty” and until someone proves that McGwire broke the rules, he deserves to be remembered as a Hall of Famer.

Jim Rice, Bert Blyleven, Andre Dawson… sure, waffle on those guys.  They deserve to be waffled on a bit because they’re not stand-out no-brainer players.  But McGwire?  Give me a break.  Give him a break.

And beware, for Barry Bonds will soon be in line for the same retrospection.  Look, as much as I dislike the man as a human being, I cannot conceive a Hall of Fame without Barry Bonds’ plaque.  Baseball writers, your job is not to teach lessons to suspected bad boys.  Your job is to reward players for having Hall of Fame careers despite their antics — whatever and as displeasing as they may be.  Remember, Ty Cobb, arguably one of the most disgustingly erratic, singly detrimental members of the entire human race, is rightfully in the Hall of Fame.

Get over yourselves, writers.  You’re not judges.  You’re not the police.  You’re not God(s).

Do the right thing and put Mark McGwire in the Hall of Fame.  And while you’re doing that, prepare for the barrage of suspect PED users, headlined by one Barry Bonds, who will soon be eligible for HOF consideration.

The world will be watching and I will be quick to slander. 

So yeah, go ahead and hate me; I only ask that you don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

The Filibuster

Earlier this week, Jamaican Usain Bolt proved to the sporting world that indeed speed sells. With MLB’s recent crackdown on PEDs subsequently limiting the homerun game, is it possible that baseball will start to see an increase of importance on the running game or have we already seen the last of players like Rickey Henderson, Vince Coleman and Lou Brock?

– Jeff

                                                                                     

Liu_Xiang.jpgRunning is a much more complicated process than it was when we played tag in kindergarten. As our good friend Sen. Obama has shown us time and again, it is not without its pitfalls. And as Chinese hurdler, Liu Xiang, showed us, it is not without its pain.

But there are some people who just make it look easy. Michael Johnson, Carl Lewis, Usain Bolt. All of them make sprinting look as simple as hitting a home run looks for Manny Ramirez. Maybe they’re genetic freaks (or just straight up freaks as in the case of Manny), but there’s no denying they have a talent that 99.9% of the world just doesn’t have. It’s not so much what they do or how they do it but the fact that they can go out and replicate the feat on a consistent basis that sets them apart.

However, running does play an important role in the great American pastime. As much as I hate to have to think about it, much less mention it, one of the reasons that Cardinals beat the Tigers in the 2006 World Series was because the Cardinals had a running game that always put them in a position to score while the Tigers relied on brute strength that seemed to escape them when they needed it most. So, in that respect, I would argue that the question is moot in and of itself.

The running game has always been important for clubs that can’t afford to go out and buy sluggers. Now, the question is if the decrease in power will start to affect the Yankees, Tigers and Red Sox of the world. Again, I’d have to say that successful teams have usually found a way to combine the two elements.

johnson-ben.jpgLook at the Oakland A’s of late 80’s. Although they had the two most prolific juicers outside of Sammy Sosa on one team, they also had Rickey Henderson, Mr. “Rickey’s the Best” himself. And Canseco, although he could pound the ball, also did quite well for himself on the basepaths.

However, thoughts of Mr. Canseco and his ill-begotten physique bring me to another important point. Speed and doping aren’t always mutually exclusive. In fact, sometimes they’re regular kissing cousins as the the pride of Canada, Ben Johnson, can attest to. The crackdown on PEDs in MLB might lead to a general and overall slowing down of the game from the way it is played today. Remember, it wasn’t just the the Barry Bonds of the world who were looking for that little extra. It was also the Roger Clemens. And who knows how that might have also played into the speed game.

usain_bolt.jpg
obamasox2.jpgSo, I think the answer to your question is that we have not seen the end of an era and that players who have great legs and a great jump will continue to be sought after. The thing that you have to take into account, though, is that you can’t steal a base or try for the hit-and-run unless you have someone on base in the first place. That was Rickey’s true talent, his ability to get himself in scoring position. And if you want to take it full-circle, it’s also the talent Mr. Obama has shown to this point in getting himself nominated. However, now we have to wait and see if he can find a way to bring it home just like Mr. Bolt.

-A

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