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Spring is the Air
2008-02-27 05:29
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

It happens every year, just like the groundhog looking for his shadow, but it doesn't always happen on the same date. Sometimes it comes and then goes away again for days or weeks. I look forward to it because I know it will always surprise me. One morning, usually in late February or early March, I'll walk out of my apartment building and there it is, even in the heart of New York City--vague, ellusive, a mere hint, but it is there all the same: the smell of spring. I can't exactly describe this smell, but mostly, it is the smell of dirt, of fresh soil, which brings with it the promise of the buds and flowers and all that good stuff coming back to life. I love the spring, it is my favorite season of the year. It means that green is coming back in our grey lives, it means the bountiful produce of summer is coming, it means that women shed their overcoats and we can see some flesh again (legs, legs, New York women have the best legs, and man, do they know how to use them).

But more than anything this smell means one vital thing: baseball.

I caught a hint of the smell this morning, a relatively mild, overcast day in Manhattan. I was half-asleep. Was I still dreaming? Maybe it was the rain from last night. Whatever, it makes the baseball season seem that much closer. For a wonderful look at the boys of spring, check out this picture gallery at the New York Times' website. It features 16, evocative, very strong line-drawings by Robert Weaver, who kept a sketchbook for Sports Illustrated during a 1962 spring training visit.

Comments (61)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-02-27 05:56:38
1.   williamnyy23
I don't know...the below 20 degree wind chills at 5AM this morning had Spring far from my mind.

Cool link to the photogallery. Considering, MLB's new media policies, news organizations may need to start lining up such artists in order to fill their online content.

2008-02-27 06:54:20
2.   unmoderated
yup, 14 inches of new snow up here. but spring is coming, i know it. the sun just feels different this time of year.
2008-02-27 07:00:22
3.   Sliced Bread
Here come the legs of NY! Let the gams begin!
2008-02-27 07:13:17
4.   Sliced Bread
2 whar's up thar with the 14 inches of fresh powder? Vermont? NY's Tug Hill plateau?

Even after yesterday's rain my lawn's still snow-covered, 1000 feet up in the great northwest of NJ -- but down here in Times Square, what's left of the snow is as gray as a Hell's Kitchen pigeon.

2008-02-27 07:23:41
5.   horace-clarke-era
I've been thinking about the Barry Story. Those who want him for excitement + contribution (both hard to deny). Those who want nothing to do with him for the tarnished factor. My own view (subject to change) was that he wasn't what the Yankees needed, the upside was real, but the bullying image negatives were just as much so. (OYF had a great line about that, saying we hadn't given the Yankee haters nearly enough ammo lately.)

Here, today, is an extract from Heyman at si.com. I admit I did register his point about OTHER steroid-linked names out on the field. Should Barry be uniquely a no-touch-zone? He isn't even the only one linked to a perjury case (Tejada).

"Baseball scouts say Bonds has slowed considerably in the outfield. Yet one baseball person who's surprised by the lack of interest said, "Could it be that all 14 American League teams have a better DH than Barry Bonds?"

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa publicly revealed that he recommended a run at Bonds to ownership and was turned down. One American League GM told me he'd have taken Bonds, but his owner told him to stay away.

Beyond those three small brushes with employment, there appears to be nothing. Nothing for the hitter who posted a .480 on-base percentage and .565 slugging percentage last season, the hitter who hit 28 home runs in 340 at-bats.

It's not his performance. It's something else. It has to be.

There's supposedly an anti-steroid sentiment in baseball. Yet the Astros traded five prospects for Miguel Tejada, the Cardinals traded for Troy Glaus and the Cubs have been negotiating to trade for Brian Roberts. Roger Clemens is throwing BP in Astros camp, and Mark McGwire may be heading to Cardinals camp to conjure up the past.
...
One American League executive said he isn't surprised at all that Bonds has not been signed, that there are considerations of image and practicality that weight against such a move. "What happens if he's hauled away June 1?" that executive posed, referring to the indictment hanging over Bonds' head.

While that would appear to be a long shot, a more immediate concern may be clubhouse considerations. Specifically, teams fear the distraction his presence may cause. It's a common perception that Bonds will bring negative attention, a charge Borris vehemently disputed.

2008-02-27 08:00:23
6.   standuptriple
5 I'm not buying the "Bonds will be a cancer" argument either. Yes, he was a handful in SF, but that was an entirely different situation and was partially due to their management and his family ties to the organization. Yes, he and Jeff Kent hated each other, but they were winning and there have been many teams that consisted of bitter rivals who kept those feelings aside from the task of winning. With the right contract and the removal of "special permissions" Bonds could really help a team like the Rays (I hope they stupidly avoid him though) and theoretically turn the corner of that franchise from a "spoiler" to a legitimite player, not to mention the possibility of trading him at the deadline. The Giants didn't even offer arbitration so it won't cost a draft pick. Anybody who claims that his pending trial will hurt the team carries some weight, but you can write that into the contract easily. Could it be that teams are so scared of the PR backlash that they won't even take a flier on him?
2008-02-27 08:21:29
7.   Raf
0 Nice work by Weaver. I wish someone had collected the works of Willard Mullin, that would've been cool to see.

1 The NY Daily News has a couple of decent cartoonists in Ed Murawinski & Bill Gallo
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ed_Murawinski
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Gallo

6 I doubt it, as it was mentioned before that McGwire, Clemens, Tejada, etc are doing their thing this spring... As for the PR backlash, it'll last until he blasts a few HR's. I guess this is similar to when no one took a flyer on Kingman after the 86 season, which I also found surprising.

2008-02-27 08:26:39
8.   horace-clarke-era
6 7 I'm honestly not sure. I can certainly see a clubhouse/focus/mood issue when a teammate gets booed every time he comes to the plate on the road (and maybe by many at home, including some Banterers who have weighed in). Yes, Alex got that and maybe Yankees are used to it, but less so other teams, and even in NY it is undeniably a distraction. In other words, HE might be a good clubhouse citizen (or good enough anyhow) but circumstances have gotten way out of control for Barry.

I do agree that any contract could be structured to cover a lot of variables, including court time and jail time.

2008-02-27 08:31:16
9.   williamnyy23
6 All the more reason for the Yankees to sign Bonds. They don't have to worry about a backlash from an economic standpoint because the Stadium will be sold out this year and for at least the next two or three.

I also don't think Bonds would be that much of a distraction. After all, wouldn't he draw attention away from everyone else? I am sure Arod would love that.

Signing Barry Bonds makes all the sense in the world for the Yankees. Could you imagine having to face a lineup with Arod and Bonds hitting back to back? Sure, the Yankees already have Giambi and Matsui clogging up the DH role, but I am sure they could work Bonds into a rotation, especially if you try to give Damon (andeven Abreu) more rest for their aching bodies. Heck, with Bonds bat, the Yankees could even afford to give Jeter a few extra days off without worrying about giving away offense.

Unfortunately, it seems as if Cashman would rather avoid the criticism that pull the trigger. Still, if Bonds beats the Yankees in a few games against Tampa, I think he could regret that decision. At least the Red Sox hands are tied with Papi and Manny though. They already have two DHs as their two best hitters, so adding a third might be too much.

2008-02-27 08:45:43
10.   Rob Middletown CT
I wouldn't go so far as to say it would make all the sense in the world, given that Giambi, Matsui and Damon are all on the roster right now.

But like I said in an earlier discussion here, there should be a way to work out a trade of one of the three (Matsui, probably, though to me he's the most useful of the three) while signing Bonds. Keep Bonds as a DH and you don't hurt the defense, and you do wonderful things for the offense, as so:

(vs RHP)
Damon
Jeter
Abreu
ARod
Bonds
Posada
Cano
Giambi/Betemit (1B)
Melky

(vs LHP)

Damon
Jeter
Bonds
ARod
Posada
Ensberg/Giambi (1B)
Cano
Duncan (RF)
Melky

Nasty. Evil, even. :)

2008-02-27 08:48:25
11.   Shaun P
6 I think the Ms and the Twins could both use Bonds's bat, but are (foolishly) worried about a PR backlash.

9 I agree, still, take this FWIW:

PECOTA-projected playing time and VORP:
Damon, 526 PAs (431 in LF, 95 in CF) - 16.6
Matsui, 601 PAs (353 in LF, 248 at DH) - 24.6
Giambi, 480 PAs (284 at DH, 196 at 1B) - 17.1

That leaves ~150 PAs at DH and ~400 at 1B, so about 550 PAs total. PECOTA is as down on Bonds as it is on Giambi, but (for Bonds) that has to be because no one has ever hit like he has at his age. His last two seasons, Bonds had VORPs of 46.6 and 55.2 - in less than 500 PAs.

I think Giambi will beat that VORP projection soundly - though probably in 480 PAs as projected - but I think Matsui's is close and Damon's is right on. It would take some mixing and matching on Girardi's part to get those 500 PAs to Bonds (Matsui/Damon at 1B sometimes?), but a 2-3-4-5-6 of

Jeter
Abreu
A-Rod
Bonds
Posada/Giambi*

*only over Cano/Matsui because of their better OBPs

would destroy starters, if only by making them throw so many pitches to try to get those guys out.

If the Yanks' strategy is (to a degree) to bludgeon teams to death - and it might have to be, because the pitching staff is a huge ? - why not employ one of the greatest offensive players of all-time?

2008-02-27 08:57:32
12.   Rob Middletown CT
Hmm...

25 man roster w/Bonds and w/o trading away any of the DH-rotation trio:

12 pitchers +
Posada, Molina
ARod, Jeter, Cano, Giambi, Betemit
Damon, Melky, Abreu, Matsui, Bonds
+
either Ensberg or Duncan.

2008-02-27 09:00:31
13.   Raf
Good article in the USS Mariner about Bonds; http://tinyurl.com/38fe4r
2008-02-27 09:20:50
14.   horace-clarke-era
13 Interesting piece with some nonsense. Blue Jays are a dreadful choice as a prime candidate for BB, with the Hurt immobile at DH and they just brought in (for no good reason) Shannon 'Blast from the Past' Stewart to take some at-bats in a crowded outfield.

He's also wrong to talk about a ton of other steroid guys on the Mariners maybe 'looking at jail time' ... NO one is looking at jail time for steroid or hgh use in MLB. Jail is only at-issue for perjury. Bonds. Tejada. Maybe Clemens by week's end.

Having disagreed with these, it is certainly true the Mariners have room (and need) for a good DH. Jose Vidro is not much of a roadblock!

I wonder if Barry could start a lawsuit against Selig and MLB owners with union support (!) for interference and collusion.

2008-02-27 09:22:54
15.   williamnyy23
Also, will anyone be asking Pettitte about HGH with Bonds on the team :)?
2008-02-27 09:35:45
16.   weeping for brunnhilde
Hear, hear, Alex!

I felt the same thing this morning here in New Haven, but had to remind myself not to jump the gun, that it is, in fact, still February.

And yet, one way or another, whatever the weather, we're only--what--less than five weeks from Opening Day?

2008-02-27 09:37:15
17.   Raf
14 I don't see anywhere in the article that the Jays were a prime choice for Bonds, just that they were a fit based on his percieved salary demands.

Agreed on the jail part, which was also covered in the comments section (#50).

I wondered about the collusion part as well. He may actually have a case.

2008-02-27 09:43:47
18.   ms october
cnn is reporting that congress will ask the doj to investigate if roger made false statements at the hearing
2008-02-27 09:47:53
19.   Rob Middletown CT
Possible fits for Bonds... nearly every AL team.

Boston. No.
Rays. Yes, if the quest for .500 is deemed a worthy goal.
Baltimore. Ok, no. They suck so bad not even he can help.
Yankees. Yes, as discussed.
Toronto. Yes. This team played Matt Stairs in the OF last year. It would be a roster logjam as bad or worse than the Yankees, though, and Bonds on turf could be bad.

Detroit. Yes, actually. They'd have to play him or Sheff in the field, but my oh my. Their lineup presently has two holes (LF, C). It's already impressive. With Bonds it would be an unholy terror.
Indians. Who is their LFer again?
White Sox... yes, but like Baltimore they're probably too awful to really gain anything.
Royals... see White Sox.
Twins... yes. Their offense would be decent if they added Bonds. They have some young pitching. It would take pressure off of those pitchers, dontcha think?

Imagine, for a moment, a world in which they kept Johan and signed Bonds and went for it. That woulda been ballsy.

Angels. Yeah, if they're willing to play Vlad in the field.
Seattle. Clearly.
A's. Why not? But the "they will suck anyway" argument probably applies.
Rangers. Hey, they gave Sammy Sosa how many ABs last year?

2008-02-27 09:53:15
20.   Alex Belth
On the sportswriters front, sad news today as both Myron Cope and WC Heinz have passed away. I'll have a post on both of them in the morning...damn.
2008-02-27 10:00:37
21.   Alex Belth
and they'll be overshadowed in the papers tomorrow because Buckley died too. Jeez.
2008-02-27 10:22:27
22.   williamnyy23
21 I wonder if they would have been feautred prominently to begin with. Even Buckley's death wont get the same attention, considering his declining public profile and marginalization among the Conservative media.
2008-02-27 10:29:32
23.   standuptriple
19 I would count the A's out as they are in pure rebuilding-for-the-future mode and watching their pennies. A sign, then deadline trade would be right up their alley, but due to lack of interest in BB right now, probably not much of a market. Other than that, fine list.
2008-02-27 10:40:40
24.   horace-clarke-era
18 Yes, it is everywhere by now. And it is bipartisan and limited to Roger - not McNamee, in other words. Rusty Hardin is quoted glibly as saying they expected it as soon as Roger testified before Congress.

If so, it urgently raises the professional question: why would you put a client in that position? It is clear that Congress was ready NOT to have that public testimony. (I know his deposition is also under oath.)

Like, did Hardin know there was or might be a Canseco party photo (or the tacky tacky story now out about the two wives comparing breast augmentation - which corroborates McNamee). And what about the nanny - Hardin put his client in a position to be hammered over that Sunday visit? (Or was the alternative worse - no prepping her? She hurts him ANYHOW!)

Barry's looking better by the day.

Meanwhile BP's Pecota has the Rays improving 22 games for this year. Lots of offense, pitching uptick, and a major D upgrade at ss and 2b.

2008-02-27 11:13:25
25.   ms october
24 Yes, once he testified, and the way the hearing went I expected it too.
I am beyond liberal, but the bipartisan nature of the whole thing (not to mention most issues) is riduculous.

I think Roger's lawyers have not done a good job of representing him and giving him good advice.

And yes, BB is looking better by the day.
The DEVIL Rays can't be slept on. They seem to be finally putting together a baseball team instead of just a 4x100 team. Someone, it might have been Olney, suggested back when SF said they would not re-sign BB that he would be a great fit in Tampa and the young hitters could learn some plate discipline from him. And it seems things are getting more serious.
Anyway, I know the Rays don't have the resources the Red Sox or Yanks do, but I don't think they can be slept on.

2008-02-27 11:16:45
26.   underdog
Nice and sunny here in San Francisco :-) (after what seemed like a month of rain).

Anyway, you guys don't want Bonds, trust me. Even if it's true that he'd be less of a distraction in NY than in most other places, he's suck a negative, life-sucking presence in the clubhouse. Reports from the Giants this year seem to make it sound like, even though they'll be even worse offensively than they were last year, without Bonds, they are all much happier and looser without him around. I really don't think the Yankees need Bonds.

2008-02-27 11:17:20
27.   underdog
such a negative, that should read... Hah, a bit of a Freudian slip.
2008-02-27 11:23:07
28.   Raf
26 It isn't so much the Yanks need them, it's the idea of adding another weapon to the arsenal. I guess something along the lines of the 1998 Yankees adding Clemens, who was coming off back to back pitchers triple crowns.

They really don't lose much of anything signing him.

I think Bonds makes an appearance sometime during the summer for a team that desires a LH power bat.

2008-02-27 11:24:27
29.   OldYanksFan
A few point about Bonds, who I would LOVE to get. Some are facts, some are opinions and some are conjecture.

First, I believe Bonds would LOVE to play for the Yankees. ARod likes him and his odds of winning a WS, which is his BIGGEST DESIRE, might be best achieved here.

Second, between the lack of demand and the fact that Bonds knows we are NOT SF, I believe he would be willing to give up all his 'percs', and it should be a condition of signing him. He is an old guy, so I don't mind the recliner, but he would have to agree that he is 'not' special, and like ARod, Jeter, Mo, Giambi and the rest, that he would just be one of the boys on the team.
I think Cashman would make this deal ONLY if Bonds understands the attitude he must have in order to wear Pinstripes.

Third, even with all the bad PR, I would have to think Melky, Cano and all the kids would be THRILLED to be around him. Who knows, maybe he might even mentor some of the kids. This is a great baseball player who has been 'in the game' since he is a small child. He knows a LOT. He could be a valuable teammate, as opposed to a cancer.

Forth, I believe he would be beholden to the Yanks. Playing for the Yankees is probably the absolute best he could do, especially since at this movement, he is looking at not playing at all.

I believe rotating players to give everyone appropriate ABs is not rocket science. Girardi will have to be creative, but it is not that big a task. And if we do have an injury or 2, this will have been a very important move.

Fifth, it's a one year contract. We lived through Pavano and RJ. How bad could this really be.

Sixth, for the first time in a long time, we may actually sign a vet who is UNDERvalued, He will actually be a GREAT financial move. My guess is he can be had for $10m or maybe less with incentives. What does $10m buy you these days? DJ and Mats make $13m

And saving the best for last...
THINK OF THE RED SOX MESSAGE BOARDS!
Imagine when Bonds hits a game winner at Fenway! Red Sox Nation will be pissing and moaning like never before. It will be non-stop. We will not only own the 'back page' in NY, but in Boston too. Larry and Theo will make statements about how 'unfair' it is. They have 'healed' from not signing ARod. This is make their wound raw again!

And we will beat Boston. Hopefully Detroit and Cleveland will keep Boston out of the PS completely.

Remember when we were worried about:
Yankees vs Boston + Santana
Instead it can be
Boston vs Yankees + Bonds.

It gives me a hardon just thinking about it.

2008-02-27 11:25:49
30.   Cliff Corcoran
For those who missed it, I took my shot at figuring where Bonds would fit about a month ago for SI.com:

http://tinyurl.com/3xqabl

2008-02-27 11:30:21
31.   OldYanksFan
"he's suck a negative, life-sucking presence in the clubhouse."
---------------------------------------------
This was said about Nomar his last year with the Sox. They were near desparate to move him. And they were happier and better without him.

The question is, was Nomar the same in LA? Or was Nomar partially a situation of circumstance?

Barry was with the Giants, and WAS the Giants, for years. No doubt he had a sense of entitlement.

Would he be the same with a ONE year contract for the Yankees?

Yeah, I'm a bleeding heart liberal. But even Barry is human. Maybe it's silly to think he might actually be a positive force for us.

2008-02-27 11:32:48
32.   williamnyy23
26 While being happier and looser is a nice thing, I don't think either matters much if you don't win. If Bonds is healthy and can perform, I'd like to think major league players can deal with the distraction.
2008-02-27 11:40:22
33.   williamnyy23
Also, let's make things clear. Barry Bonds (or Roger Clemens) are not villains. Sure, at worst, they may have taken PEDs and lied about it (and been surly to the media), but it's not like they are rapists and murderers. As much as many have tried to demonize those accused of taking PEDs, it really doesn't raise my moral ire. It's pretty ironic what some are willing to abide in terms of social behavior.
2008-02-27 11:40:50
34.   OldYanksFan
I have a question or 2. Do people think the Sox will win the division? If so, with strong Cleveland and Detroit teams, are we possibly looking at missing the PS?

We are all hoping/assuming that we will have the 2nd half JD/Matsui/Melky/Cano. But the first half of 2007 did show us we can be vulnerable.

I myself am NOT sure that we DON'T need Bonds. Have we ever entered a season recently feeling that we would not win the division?

2008-02-27 11:43:18
35.   OldYanksFan
33 Well stick a fork in me Willaim, I agree 100%. EVERY team has players that did steroids. Lots of players. They just might not be GREAT players.
2008-02-27 11:49:20
36.   OldYanksFan
A nice little article about Dan McCutchen by Pete on Lohud.
2008-02-27 11:52:53
37.   williamnyy23
34 I think the Yankees and Red Sox are a toss up for the division and think both are a notch better than Detroit and Cleveland. The only thing that could prevent the Yanks/Sox from taking the WC, in my opinion, is a tougher schedule (interleague rivals and stronger division).
2008-02-27 11:56:23
38.   Shaun P
33 I personally rate drunk drivers far over PED users - but apparently MLB, and Congress, don't feel the same way. Hmm, I wonder which activity resulted in more deaths among young people during the so-called "Steroids Era", drunk driving or PED use? How about we throw cigarette use into the mix?

/rant off

Could this really be our old friend? From today's Goldman chat over at BP:

"Rob Gee (Philly): When and where do the Yanks move Jeter? 2009 to 1B? 2010 to LF?

Steven Goldman: First, he needs to be pressed by someone who is going to field better (anyone) and give them at least something like above-average production there (not anyone). The more interesting question will be whether his bat still supports a move by the time they get around to it."

2008-02-27 12:07:53
39.   Sliced Bread
30 I like your line about Hank "filling his father's blue blazer with bluster," and I think you're right that the Yanks should not be counted out of the Bonds market (until he signs elsewhere). However, I don't think Hank has the nuts, or the guts to bring Barry and his baggage to the Bronx.
For all Hank's bluster, I think the Steinbrenners were embarrassed, and humbled by the Clemens-Pettitte-Mitchell fiasco and do not want to advance the Yankees/roids-r-us meme. Mark my words: Bonds will not be signed by the Yanks.
2008-02-27 12:09:51
40.   JL25and3
I have nothing against Bonds as a PED user, or as a clubhouse cancer. I still think that he addresses a need that doesn't exist. That roster listed above is probably the least flexible roster I've ever seen in my life - it's exactly what I don't want the team to look like.
2008-02-27 12:16:23
41.   horace-clarke-era
25 "The DEVIL Rays can't be slept on. They seem to be finally putting together a baseball team instead of just a 4x100 team."

Great line. They add Barry and it is CLEAR they are out of the track and field biz! I suppose if one notes that the Rays are seen as a lot better and the Blue Jays almost have to be healthier and better this year, the AL East is a beast again. (As an answer/agreement with 34 .)

33 37 I doubt any sane person puts athletes using PEDs (in a culture where some unknown but large percentage did) as worse than drunk drivers. But a word like 'villain' complete with twirly moustache images loads the deck. The issue, remember, is lying under oath not the use of steroids.

We may all find farcical elements in the hearings, but we make it worse if we trivialize outright ram-it-through perjury. Once you get there, it is no longer about baseball.

2008-02-27 12:22:06
42.   Just fair
20 The post about boxing several days ago reminded me of this great book I read years ago. I couldn't for the life of me remember the author or the title. Well today's events made look up W.C. Heinz and I realized that the book I liked so much was by him, titled "The Professional." It is the last and only book about boxing I have ever read, but I would recommend it to anyone who has seen even as little as 1 round of a fight. The cool thing was Heinz was a neighbor of my uncle up in Vermont and gave him an autographed copy of it.
On an unelated note, I feel Bonds in pinstripes would be somehow like signing a deal with the devil. Bleh. But that's just me.
2008-02-27 12:23:42
43.   Shaun P
41 I agree, perjury >> worse than PED use by athletes. BUT I haven't spent the previous 5 years reading and hearing about how Barry Bonds is awful because he perjured himeslf - just the last few months. Before that it was "Barry the evil villain cheater", not "Barry the evil villain liar before the grand jury."
2008-02-27 12:49:16
44.   ms october
btw oyf, here is another take on melancon from a espn chat with john manuel (subbing for jim callis) of ba.

Chris ( S,I, N.Y. ): Jim, I hate when the press does this but there was an article in the N.Y. Post 2 days ago with the headlines "The Next Joba" speaking in reference to Mark Melancon. I read up on him in the Handbook and the handbook has him as a potential replacement for Mariano down the road. I know those headlines are not fair to anyone but what's your thoughts on Melancon?

John Manuel: Thanks everyone for coming, sorry to disappoint you but I'm having to pinch-hit for Jim today. He's all good, just couldn't make it today. Chris, I'm a huge Melancon fan, and frankly I haven't found anyone who doesn't really like him since writing about him for our 2006 draft coverage. At his best, he's got closer stuff, two plus pitches with good velo and a good, hard breaking ball, plus closer mentality. But he did have Tommy John surgery and he's pitched seven pro innings. I think the Yanks are going to try to be careful with him, but he was throwing well in November in instructs in the Dominican Republic, and it sounds like he's ready for the start of the year. I think they'll let him get his feet wet in the minors and see if the likes of Ross Ohlendorf, Edwar Ramirez, Scott Patterson, Brian Bruney, etc., can hold down the middle relief spots first. They have plenty of middle relief options and don't need to rush him. I do think he's the best future closer they've had around in a while, not including Joba, who I think should be a starter.

2008-02-27 12:53:23
45.   wsporter
38 MFD, I've seen RG pop up a several times over the last couple of years. I sure would like to read his thoughts on the Bonds issue especially in light of the fun we had over "Crazy Uncle Milty" a few years ago.

I'd think that Bonds would be very useful to us throughout the season as an offensive force. How do you discount that kind of left handed production? Unfortunately that production comes at the cost of having Bonds around. The problems are pretty obvious from his asshat personality, to the media and legal circus atmosphere his presence will engender. I'm not sure I want the children exposed to his way of dealing with the press and teammates. Girardi is starting a fresh regime and moving things in a new direction; I'm not sure that Bonds is the kind of help he needs with that.

The Yankees I think will be portrayed as steroid central if they bring BB in and his presence is coupled with the Mitchel fall out (Clemens, Pettitte, etc). That's not to say that is why it shouldn't happen but it is why I think it won't happen.

What bugs me with the Bond's treatment is the shrillness with which his detractors seem to bring their arguments (not here). The apparent dislike/disdain/hatred he's treated with seems to be a mix of reaction to his behavior/personality traits and the steroid scandal including the perjury charge coupled with the fact that he broke Aaron's (and other) career mark and the belief that he did so with the aid of Juice.

He appears to be a class A ass, a liar and a cheater. I'm not sure however that appearing to be an ass, liar and cheater is in and of itself a reason not to hire a guy to play baseball. The roid thing will work itself out. If he's tested positive during the appropriate period the league will discipline him if he's still around.

Bonds is also viewed by many as a fraud; essentially stealing the HR record through his use of juice. He engenders lots of ill will because of this that will probably remain in place longer than the other causes.

This leaves the issue of his perjury trial. He's under indictment and he's facing trial. He's entitled to a presumption of innocence at trial not necessarily from a potential employer although not necessarily not either.

Does race have anything to do with this? Well I'm sure at some level it does. I think BB has made enough comments to fuel that stuff and there are still enough morons out there who think that crap has anything to do with "the content of a man's character".

He seems to have captured the public's rage in a way few that I can remember have. It seems to me a sense of rage that is disproportionate to the sins he has committed. One would almost think that he single handedly set out to introduce roids to the game and to destroy the value of time honored statistical marks. These mass hate fests always leave me a little ncold and hesitant.

At this point he's a lightning rod and still in many ways the face of the steroid scandal. I don't think there is any doubt the powers that be at MLB would just like BB to go away. My hope is that somebody hires him, just not us.

2008-02-27 13:14:42
46.   horace-clarke-era
45 Now there's a post! Depressing (and uncharacteristic) to agree with so much in such a long commentary. Must go for a walk or something!

This post basically offers my answer to Shaun (which is agreement, mostly). I spent a long time (years) before the Mitchell thing blew arguing that it was lunatic and distorted to overfocus on Bonds, as if he was a unique, er, villain. (Ahem.)

He became the 'face' of steroids and cheating for a variety of reasons (wsporter has many), but the main one was being the best in the game and going after Hank. At this point, in an odd way, Roger takes some of the heat OFF Bonds. Just as famed/excellent and part of a wider noting (Mitchell) that it is imbecilic to treat Bonds as at all distinctive in his cheating now.

Perjury's another matter, still. Having said that, I can see an 'unfairness' argument here too, because I wonder if these three (are there others?) would stand out so much if 50 players had had to testify under oath!

2008-02-27 13:18:12
47.   OldYanksFan
It should be noted that BB ONLY started juicing AFTER he saw Canseco, Sosa, McGuire, JuanGone and many others already juiced. And juicing might make 6/hr gym workouts possible, but not automatic. Bonds, like Roger, has worked his ass off.

On the race thing, there are MANY Blacks who agree with Bond's take on the treatment of Blacks in MLB. The others are just too smart to talk about it. Also, some of Bonds animosity come from his father's day as well as recent times.

Bonds are Sheff will always be viewed by whites as 'uppity'. Most won't SAY that, but many think it. White folk will never fully understand what Black people have to deal with.

2008-02-27 13:49:08
48.   JL25and3
One reason the feds essentially have to pursue perjury charges against Clemens is to avoid appearing too obviously racist in the Bonds matter.

OYF, you don't want to get me started on Sheff. I don't see him as "uppity," just as an arrogant, self-important, loudmouth prick. And that's on a good day. In light of the shock and outrage over PEDs, I still can't believe that Sheffield was never disciplined after Milwaukee.

Meanwhile, this from Clemens: http://tinyurl.com/2e99do. Sorry, Roger. You went turned this from a story into a circus by going to the press, loud and long. You've got no business being pissed with them about it now.

2008-02-27 13:56:54
49.   Raf
48 Milawukee? When he said he intentionally threw balls away? Wasn't that disproven?

Anyway, checking his fielding numbers @ baseball-reference, it looks that he was a butcher with the glove in SD & FLA (where he was presumably happy). Thank goodness he was moved to the OF.

2008-02-27 14:36:34
50.   standuptriple
I think part of Barry's attitude (if you can call it that) problem in SF is that he was essentially given the keys to the city once he started reaching obscene HR levels. It was the special recliner, the excused absences and above-the-team rules that led to the "problems in the clubhouse". IF any team signs him, they have to squash that right away and I really don't think that will be difficult due to his begging for work of late, and even less so on a team like the Yankees where they already have multiple stars who outshine BB.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-02-27 14:41:56
51.   OldYanksFan
http://oversight.house.gov/documents/20080227135441.pdf
Some BS, but also some very damming evidence. Roger looks quite guilty. Too many BIG lies and inconsistancies.
2008-02-27 14:50:07
52.   Raf
50 Bonds isn't the first player to have "perks," nor will he be the last
2008-02-27 15:20:53
53.   horace-clarke-era
51 Not going to needle you on this. It is actually damning, almost shocking reading. And can, in a certain mood, elicit real anger. The medical evidence is the main part we didn't all know about and the list of trainers and doctors of all the clubs flatly denying Clemens' statements about B12 (and especially the lidocaine shot in the spine) starts to feel shocking.

In addition, no one in the media that I saw put together the blatant lie exposed here about 'never talked to McNamee ever about hgh' with the Debbie Clemens hgh story when he had 'heated' exchanges with McNamee about it.

"As a legal matter, this may affect whether the statements meet the legal definition of perjury or false
statement. They are evidence, however, that Mr. Clemens affirmatively sought to mislead the Committee. If the Committee staff had not asked Mr. Clemens whether a family member had used HGH, the Committee would never have known about Mr. Clemens's conversations with
Mr. McNamee."

And then there is the section where he blames his agents for not telling him Mitchell wanted to speak with him (the contradiction with what he said on 60 Minutes, where he says they told him NOT to talk to Mitchell is absolute).

Finger pointing elsewhere, anyone?

Section VI is ALL about the Canseco party, and they enumerate a LONG list of times Roger said 'never there': "I never was at the party." "I know I wasn't at a Toronto Blue Jay party." "I wasn't here at ... a party that he had. . ." "I was not at this party." "I wasn't at the party. I know I wasn't at the party." "I just know for a fact I wasn't at the party." "I don't remember any party but if there was one, I wasn't there ... " "I have records that I was not at the party. . . . I was on the golf course ." "I just know that I wasn't at the party."

And good ol' Rusty Hardin said: "We were able to establish, and we will be able to establish categorically, without question, that our client wasn't there."

ONLY after this blew sky high (and that was after he tried to suborn the Nanny Sunday night: "According to his nanny, he told her: "[T]he reason you don't remember thatparty is because I wasn't there.") did Roger backdoor towards MAYBE he 'dropped his wife and kids and nanny off' and maybe he wandered in. That, of course, follows the emergence of photos, and precedes the breast surgery story swap.

Know what? This looks like perjury AND witness tampering. It is ugly and contemptuous.

2008-02-27 15:54:41
54.   wsporter
Wow, this does not look good at all, in fact it's kind of mind boggling.

Either Mr. Clemens has a lousy lawyer or Mr. Hardin has a lousy client. Something is very wrong here.

2008-02-27 15:59:47
55.   underdog
I think it's fair to say that Bonds would be happier somewhere that would put him in a pennant race, sure, and in a place like NY it's also fair to say he'd have to adjust to not being the center of attention all the time (though I think he would still be one of the main centers of attention, it'd be naive to think otherwise). But, maybe I'm too cynical here after watching him here for years (and being a Dodgers fan), but as impressive a talent as he is, I stand by my assertion that he has been a long time clubhouse dark cloud, separate even from the steroids circus. I know someone who covered the Giants off and on for a local paper and just dreaded talking to him. Now some of that is just his media wariness and maybe even a little shyness, but with teammates it was always about "Me." And try watching him jog out a grounder to second, every time. He can't be bothered.

Now, if he's going to play again, yes, the AL is the place, since he is now a liability in the outfield. And it seemed evident last year that when healthy - a big if - he can still mash. But seriously, be careful what you wish for. I just don't see him as a championship presence.

2008-02-27 17:01:37
56.   vockins
50 I think I've written this before, but I've never had a problem with Barry Bonds getting special treatment because Barry Bonds is pretty special.

If I were a manager, anyone averaging 255 OPS+ over a four year period would get their cleats cleaned by my tongue after every half inning. They'd have their own wing in the locker room. They'd have their own international airport.

2008-02-27 17:23:17
57.   horace-clarke-era
56 And the other 24 sad, useless nonentities on your ballclub would think what? Especially if the tongue-to-cleat dance produced no winning.
2008-02-27 17:45:13
58.   wsporter
56 Do you envision Bonds wearing his spikes while the manager is uhm . . . cleaning them? :-)
2008-02-27 17:59:17
59.   vockins
57 Anyone averaging 255+ OPS over a four year period gets the cleat tongue wash.
2008-02-27 18:13:30
60.   Mr OK Jazz TOKYO
21 Buckley..good riddance to bad rubbish..

Still holding our hope that Bonds will come over here and sign with Bobby V and the Chiba Lotte Marines. He could hit 60 dingers here I think...

2008-02-28 07:51:27
61.   Sonya Hennys Tutu
Seems like I'm one of the only ones around here for whom there are certain things in life more important than winning. Integrity being one that immediately comes to mind...

And yes, I'd rather continue our 7 year streak without a WS win than win one next year with Bonds.

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