Nov 1, 2007

The Hot Stove League Already at a Simmer

The game of managerial musical chairs is seemingly already in mid-off-season form. After Joe Girardi and Joe Torre dawned their new Yankees and Dodgers caps respectively, we here at seamhead are already looking forward to our second favorite season... the baseball off season.

On the local fronts the managerial positions of the A's and Giants aren't going to make any headlines, but you can bet the Dodgers landing of Torre will send a semi title wave through McCovey Cove. To be honest, as a Giants fan myself, I hoped the Boss and Torre would go their separate after the 2006 season when the Giants would be in search of a new skipper. As the story goes, Torre stayed for one more uneventful year and Bruce Boche manged the Giants to their first last place finish since 1996. While that was by no means solely or even partly due to Boche, certainly the hiring of Torre improves their rivals chances.

Torre to the Dodgers raises more questions about future dominoes that will soon fall this off season. Does this mean the end of Nomar in L.A.? Who will bat lead off, Peierre or Furcal? Will Russel Martin and Alyssa Milano last? Okay, so maybe those aren't the questions you'll here Buster Olney answering on ESPN in the months to come. But, everyone is wondering if Torre gives the Dodgers a leg up in the A-Rod derby? The answer? No. However, they still may have an advantage regardless of the Torre factor.

The Dodgers have shown a propensity to over spend in the past and the Angels recent success has made those bleeding Dodger Blue green with envy. The Dodgers do have a solid foundation that includes good young position players, a sound rotation, and a bull-pen that features the best closer in baseball who doesn't river dance. Combine the attraction of A-Rod to a major west coast market that won't treat him like he's Brittney Spears dragging the Chavez Ravine infield with a tabloid photographer, while drinking a frappuccino, with her kids holding on to the luggage rack of her Range Rover, every time he grounds out, with the fact that Dodger Owner Frank McCourt, the engineer of the infamous "Big-Dig" in Boston, won't shy away from a price tag of $300 million or more.

The Giants also can make a compelling case for Rodgriguez. They can boast a beautiful water front ballpark that treats right handed hitters much better than lefties. A fan base that will adore him unconditionally, and a major media market that is even more casual than Los Angeles. Not to mention they have a rotation that features young, affordable talent that will be there for the forseeable future. Tim Lincecum justified the hype he came with. Matt Cain was the best pitcher to lose 16 games in a year since Cy Young. Noah Lowry won 14 games on a team that only won 71. Barry Zito won 11 despite an awful start that can be partly contributed to the pressures of signing the largest contract to a pitcher in history. And the fifth spot of the rotation could be in the young, capable and inexpensive hands of Kevin Correia who proved to be a vastly different pitcher in the first inning then he was in the eighth.

The Giants can also guarantee him his old position of short-stop, and whether or not they will admit this, they can afford him. But, to make San Francisco a real attractive option for A-Rod they will need to convince him that the spending won't stop with the Latin slugger. They have to add a second and a third quality bat to their line up or your looking at the same problems they had when Bonds was there, a one man firing squad with no ammunition. Plugging the hole that Bonds has left isn't nearly enough to improve this team, even if it is Rodriguez who replaces him. They need a corner outfielder with power, a second baseman not named Ray Durham, and an everyday first baseman that can produce runs. That is just looking forward to 2008. In years to come they will also need to handle the impending free agencies of Lincecum and Cain and give them enough to stay by the bay.

With Brian Sabean at least admitting that the Giants would "kick the tires" on A-rod, unlike in the past with other free-agents Vladimir Guerrero, and Gary Sheffield, one has to think the Giants are in the top 5 of possible new homes for A-Rod. Who else is in the running? The list goes as follows:

5. Texas Rangers. Tom Hicks, the owner the Rangers has the propensity of spending money at a rate only equal to a teenage girl with a Bloomingdale's credit card. Yes, the first round of the Texas A-rod marriage didn't work out, but we can bet that money will play as much of a role in this signing as anything else, and the Rangers will spend money.

4. New York Yankees. I know I am losing credibility by the sentence here with these first two teams, but the Yankees have the deepest pockets, and may soon be in the most desperate decision considering what might happen with their other free agents. If the Yankees lose Posada, Rivera, Clemens, and Petite they may feel the need to keep as much of the nucleus together as they can. That could mean bringing A-Rod back and not giving the job to Wilson Betemit just yet.

3. San Francisco Giants. A-Rod will make approx $30 to $35 million a year. The Giants have Bonds ($20 million), Morris ($8 million), Benitez ($7 million), and Mathney ($7 million) off the books in 2008. That leaves some serious iron left over for Rodriguez and others. And lets not forget the need for Giants Ownership to put a player on the field to attract the casual fans. Don't expect them to fill the park to watch a bad team without the allure of a home run chase.

2. Boston Red Sox. I know, I know, but despite how good Mike Lowell has been, and how much more likable hi is, he is 34. He has experienced a rather nice resurgence over the past two seasons but Theo Epstein has shown the Bill Walsh like quality of letting a player go a year too soon rather than a year too late (See Johnny Damon and Pedro Martinez). And after 2008 there will be about $20 million freed up if they don't re-sign Manny Ramirez. Also the Sox have the money, a great core of young talent, and the love of sticking it to the Yankees.

1. Los Angels Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Frosted tips and all A-Rod is tailor made for the So-Cal lifestyle. Big money and big celebrity go hand in hand in L.A and A-Rod likes his money and his image. Both teams would offer a chance to compete and a chance to get away from the rabid east coast media. Don't be surprised if you see Alex Rodriguez getting kicked out of his Beverly Hills pad by the Mrs. after another "eventful" road trip next season.

Buyers be ware. Let's not count on A-Rod's next team being his last either. Look at what Boras was able to do for J.D. Drew? If there is more money to be made they will find it elsewhere when the moment arrives and you can guarantee that Boras will have the necessary escape clause in his A-list clients contract. Heck, at this rate A-Rod might end up with more teams over his career than even Alyssa Milano.

Loose Stitches...

It's a Pretty Good Time Out

Its an unpopular opinion, but Golden State Warrior fans, I hope you have Tivo. The Warriors aren't as good as they played at the end of last season, but that doesn't mean you can't re-wind and bask in their glory once more.

It was a perfect storm. Baron Davis was rested, J-Rich was healthy and Matt Barnes was Scottie Pippen. The Warriors are a younger team with out Richardson, who was the heart-beat of the squad over the past several seasons. Boom-Dizzle needs to decide if he wants to play to the level he showed he can, even when he's not on TBS. Steven Jack(son) is liable to hold up a strip club in North Beach at any moment and wind up playing for the California penal league. Monte Ellis is still very young, and played at his best when he was on the floor with Davis and Richardson. Al Harrington is good, but needs to be outstanding, and that includes rebounding more, or at least some. It is fair to expect even more out of the likes of Andres Biedrins and Mickael Pietrus, and an added bonus from Marco Belinelli, but for the Warriors to reach the bar they set last season, they will need to do more than just believe.

This team, as currently constituted will win 44 games and be in the play off hunt vying for the eighth or seventh seed at very best. We are not going to be seeing the same magic we saw the last month of '07 stretched out over seven months of the regular season. But, with Nelly still in town the Warriors will prove to be a very entertaining team that, even on a night where they lose by 20, will keep you interested.

Are You Waiting for Someone?

The 49er's are late. No Seth Rogen, this time it isn't your fault. Many people expected the Niner's to arrive this season, maybe even win 10 games and be serious contenders for a play-off birth. Well, not this year. But, lets give Mike Nolan and Scot McCloughan one more full season. We have seen what they were able to do with the defense since last season, now they'll have a shot to significantly upgrade the offensive side of the ball as well. Lets remember that the teams strongest asset last year was the running game and the left side of its O-line. Possibly the weakest part of the offense on this year's team and an obvious cause for the lack of success in the running game.

The idea that Nolan should be fired is absolutely lazy journalism being perpetuated by unsophisticated fans. Lets remember the team he inherited. It's okay take a minute......................................................................................................................................


... Wow! Remember that? The question that should be asked is, can they fire Erickson and Donahue again?

By the way, Go Sun Devils!!

Oct 30, 2007

Boston Reigns Supreme

If someone would have told me five years ago that by 2007 the Red Sox would win not one, but two World Series titles, and that Casey Affleck would play a starring role in a critically acclaimed major motion picture, directed by his brother Ben, without the help of Matt Damon, I would have called you crazy.

Well there is egg all over my face. The Sox are now the ideal that other teams, even the Yankees, strive to be and "Gone Baby Gone" is bringing in bucks and praise from movie goers and critics alike. But I'm not alone. Many pundits felt that the Rockies were poised to complete one of the greatest and most unlikely championship runs in the history of sport. Apologies to the gladiators, perhaps a man named Spartacus Maximus defeated 21 out of 22 tigers on an epic streak of gladiatorednessosity. Unfortunately, however, there are no such records of this, at least not on Wikipedia.

The Rockies, despite playing out of there mind for the better part of a month, proved to be... "Denny Green to the microphone please"... "Who we thought they were!" Yes, the Rockies would have been a third place or fourth place team without the great run in late September when they went 13-1. Lets say they played at a .553 clip, (which was their regular season winning percentage) over those final 14 games. Keep in mind those final 14 games got them to that clip, but never the less, they reasonably should have gone 8-6 over that span. But only 5 fewer wins than they finished with. That would have put them in third place, three games better than the fourth place Dodgers. Now I completely understand that is why you play the game, and that a team on paper can't beat a team on the field. But, at some point every hot black jack player busts. The Rockies had a great ride, but they were by no means a World Series caliber team.

The Red Sox on the other hand are a team built with the sound scouting of Theo Epstein, and his team of Bill James saber-metric disciples. A manger in Terry Francona who is probably as good as anybody at managing games and the personalities in it; Manny, Schilling, Foulke, Pedro. It has a group of young talent that includes the 2007 AL Rookie of the Year, Pedroia, the 2008 AL RoY, Ellsbury, Papelbon, "Yoooouuuuke", Lester, Buchholz, and Okajima. And a core of veteran stars, Many, Ortiz, Beckett, Schilling, Veritek, Lowell, Crisp, and Lugo, that most any team would give their farm system for. Yes J.D. Drew was intentionally left out, but good hit in game 6 buddy.

Boston, enjoy this moment. You have the best baseball team in the "World," the best football team in the Universe, a basketball team that is going to make some serious noise in the "LEastern" Conference, and the Affleck brothers! At least I think they're from Boston, aren't they? Well if they're not just substitute them with the BCS number two ranked BC Eagles.

While this World Series may have been short on drama, it certainly wasn't a post season with out annoyances. Here are my top 10 things I cold have done without.

10. Tim McCarver. He is not funny, not insightful, not even that completely coherent at this point in his life. Joe Buck is bad, but the cocktail of the two of them together is like buttered rum. It isn't any good, but for some reason the thought of it makes you happy and reminds you of Christmas. I guess like McCarver's wit and the postseason they unfortunately go hand in hand. I can do with out Tim McCarver.

9. Dane Cook. Did you notice how they didn't even bother to shoot any new promos once the World Series match up was announced? At least they could have dubbed in some fresh audio. I'm sure in a couple of years, we will all be doing without Dane Cook.

8. Diamondback Fans. Sorry to all my college friends whom I'm insulting now, but if you can't sell out a play-off game, you certainly don't get to boo your team in a play-off gmae. I can do without self-entitled fair weather fans.

7. Roger Clemens' Cingular Ad. Although I found it, as I'm sure most every Red Sox fan did, to be pretty funny considering it was running while his current team was losing and his former team was being crowned champs. How did that move back to New York work out for you Rocket? To quote a t-shirt I saw in Boston once, "Roger Clemens is a pile of Sh*t." You sir, I can do with out. Please, look up the definition of the word, and then retire.

6. Joe Buck. I know I touched on this earlier, but in game two he kept saying the Colorado Rockies have a "group" batting average of... I'm sorry, my dad wasn't an announcer, but I am still pretty sure that there is a more specific word, next time try using this one, team. "The Rockies have a team average," it has a nice ring to it huh? Joe Buck and his shameless endorsements I can do with out. But, I can not wait for some network to pick up the Joe Buck Show, please, someone, anyone pick it up and run it in all of its glory.

5. Applebee's Commercials. I didn't think is was possible to be even more turned off by the idea of eating at an Applebee's, but that was before I heard Wnada Sykes as a talking apple-slash-spokes fruit for the restaurant. I can do with out both Applebee's and Wanda Sykes, I'm sure I'm not alone on this one.

4. Taco Bell's Free Taco. Although it brought us a priceless exchanges between Royce Clayton and Jacoby Ellsbury, how shameless was the in-game interview with the Taco Bell Exec. with Chris Myers. "Uhh, uh, um, uh ... I don't know." Chris Myers? How does FOX, of all the networks, not realize that the American sports viewer, can do without Chris Myers. Was Pam Oliver on vacation?

3. Many Bashing. First, the "Who Cares" quote was not properly reported, then it seamed to be his fault the the umpiring crew in Cleveland couldn't do their job and call a home run when the ball landed beyond the fence, and Manny ended up with a single. Then the presumption was that once the series moved to Colorado Many would be held utterly helpless in the vast outfield. Then they kept putting up that graphic that showed how Fenway Park could fit inside of the playing field of Coors. Many bashers, I can do without. But please give me more footage of Many running the bases. He is to unintentional physical comedy what George W. Bush is to unintentional political parity.

2. The girl in Epstein's Suite. I'm sure most of you missed this, but when Fox showed the replay of Epstein's reaction after the final out was made in game seven of the ALCS, you could clearly see a younger woman with her back turned to the field, who for a good five seconds had no idea the Sox had won the pennant. Then, once she noticed that no one was paying attention to her, what I can only be sure was inane babel, she turned around and to see what possibly could of been more important. Then with the genuine spirit only matched by John Edwards' smile she started jumping up and down and clapping her hands. You, my friend, I can do with out.

1. A-Rod. If you can't beat 'em, upstage 'em? That is exactly how it came across, that Alex Rodriguez thinks of himself as bigger than the game no matter how grand a stage, or how big a moment Sunday night may have been for millions of baseball fans everywhere. Have the class to wait until Monday, at least, to announce you want more than $25 million a year. Likely this is the reason A-rod will be heading for his fourth team since 1996 and is still sans a championship ring. A-rod the person? I can do with out. A-rod the player? Sign him up now!

Oct 25, 2007

World Series Games 1 & 2 in Review

Watching the game with the intent of finding good topics, or an interesting angle to write about can cause one to pay, perhaps, too much attention to the details. For example when my family sang me happy birthday (yes the 25th was my 27th) I could of swore they were singing it in melody with the Ford truck commercial with John Fogerty. "This is my biiiiiiiiiiiiiiirthday!"

By the way, did Tim McCarver try to tell us that in his opinion the curve ball of Jimenez would break well in Boston? So, they've been playing baseball in Boston for 150 years, and McCarver still isn't sure if the law of physics apply? Please, if you have an explanation let me know what it is?

But I digress. Game one went much like we expected, with the Rockies showing obvious rust. There is a saying in baseball, usually spouted during the All-Star Break, that goes like this; You take one day off and nobody notices. You take two days off, and you notice. You take three days off and everybody notices. Well, the Rockies took 8 days off both Joe Buck and Tim McCarver noticed. Now that speaks to the truth of the expression.

In game two Ubaldo Jimenez pitched very well for the better part of four innings. And to be honest the case could be made that even though he was tagged with the loss, he may have saved the series for Colorado. Unlike in game one when the Sox pummeled the Rockies, they have to feel like they let game two get away. While any player will tell you its harder to get over losing a close game, it is also true the Rockies proved to themselves that they can play with Boston, in Boston. And heading back to what is sure to be the Rocky Mountain equivalent of hyphy inside of Coors Field on Saturday, this could prove to be just enough to get the Killer H's (or h sounds) Helton, Hawpe, Jimenez, Herges, and Howdoyou Getpickedoffthere in the win column.

Schilling is an absolute blow-hard, but he is one of the best competitors in modern sports. Less than a month shy of his 41st birthday (we're both Scorpio's?) he still has the guile, the intensity, and to be fair, the stuff to compete and succeed when the lights are shining the brightest. Do you think he will break out the bloody sock if he gets another start?

Now that Barry Bonds is semi "retired" and no longer at the top of his game, is there a better at bat to watch from a pure baseball stand point than Manny Ramirez? The man is severely locked when he is at the plate. Part of it is his "who cares" (quote intentionally taken out of context) attitude that keeps him from trying too hard. This is why he is so effective hitting with two strikes. While Big Pappi gets the lion's share of the attention from the media, which he is entitled to, why do you think teams continue to pitch to him in game breaking situations? That's right, because Manny is usually on deck. Ortiz is tremendous, but without Manny, there is no Pappi. Just ask him himself how good he was in Minnesota.

GAME 1 MVP: Josh Beckett

GAME 1 LVP: Jeff Francis. Still no Canadian born pitcher has one a Workld Sereis game. Take that Canadian Dollar!!

GAME 1 Turning Point: Dustin Pedroia's first inning homer. "I'm a Sun Devil Baby." Even though that was most famously uttered by Cuba Gooding Jr. I can imagine Pedroia saying it.

GAME 1 Biggest Question: Why did Beckett pitch 7 innings with a 13-1 lead?

GAME 1 Biggest Question Answered: Can the Rockies pick up where they left off? Answer: a resounding NO.

GAME 2 MVP: OkalBon. (apologies to Mike Lowell)

GAME 2 LVP: Holliday. Despite going 4-4 every little league coach is making sure the runner isn't picked off in that situation, except the little league coach usually isn't a former major leaguer.

GAME 2 Turning Point: Lowell taking third on J.D. Drew's single in the fourth, setting up Varitek's sacrifice fly.

GAME 2 Biggest Question: Can Hideki Okajima give Terry Francona 2 or more innings on Saturday if needed?

GAME 2 Biggest Question Answered: Can the Red Sox line up be held in check? Yes.

Oct 22, 2007

There's Only One October

In honor of the best postseason in professional sports, (thanks to games almost every day NFL, but not four times a day, everyday, for two months, NBA, NHL) we will keep this to October and the teams who had the privilege of playing meaningful games this month.

TBS = Refreshing. While Steve Stone, Dick Stockton, and Chip or Skip or some other Caray not named Harry leave much to be desired by those of us who have seen more than zero games in our life, I felt it was refreshing change from the onslaught of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver that Fox slams down our face. Ratings bad? Try firing you audio production staff and let Marcel Marceau, rest in peace, do the play by play. By the way I intentionally left out Ted Robinson from above.

I know I am not the first person to point out Buck and McCarver, but Joe Buck doesn't seem to know sports as well as his hair stylist knows highlights. And Tim McCarver is pound for pound the most orange and terrible national analyst who has a regular gig. I think he took his job title as "color guy" a bit too seriously. Let it go grey, it would look distinguished Tim, and don't let Brittney talk you into the fake n' bake tan next time either.

Before I get too far ahead of myself, are we looking close enough at the Colorado Rockies improbable run? Lets recall that the greatest closer, statistics wise, is due a full playoff share by Rockies management. The Rockies were down to their last strike, so to speak, on the second to last day of the season. The Padres were one strike away from clinching their third play-off spot in three years with their will-be hall of fame closer Trevor Hoffman on the mound. The Brewer's and Tony Gwynn Jr. are down to their last strike when the son of the Padre legend laces a triple to clear the bases and the Brewers prevail. Fast-forward to game number 163. The Padres have just scored 2 runs in the top of the fourteenth and again turn to he of 524 saves, Trevor Hoffman. Hoffman retires one batter and the Rockies now have a trip to the post season and a little history too. Now they can stop showing Dante Bichette and Vinny Castilla highlights to get the fans in Denver excited.

Quickly now, its getting late. The Cubs are okay, Lou Pinella is fine, this is how baseball works everybody, the Cubs lose.

Diamondbacks, great improvements this year. A lot of young talent, a pretty good manager, and of course addition by subtraction, purple is no longer one of their team colors. Unfortunately for them however, they still play in a blimp hanger.

Phillies. How have you not won anything. What most fans would do for either Rollins, Utley, or Howard. You have all three, and if it weren't for the most epic September collapse in history by the Mets, you would have under-achieved once again. I know your ball park is ridiculous, but move the fences in or something. Give your pitchers a chance.

Angels. Please don't sign A-Rod, you already took the Only world series Giant fans had a shot at, don't take a short stop they should try to sign too.

Yankees. You are 25-31 in your last 7 post season appearances. By the way those all came in the last 7 post seasons. Our collective heart goes out to you. Joe Torre, way to stand up for your self over that weak-sauce contract they offered you. It wasn't your fault Chen Ming Wang pitched more like Too Wong Foo.

The Red Sox and the Rockies should give us a good match up. Sox have home field and experience, but the Rockies have, despite not playing since what seems like the first George Bush Presidency, momentum. The Rockies pitchers have a post season ERA of 2.08! To be fair they haven't faced the likes of Pedroia, Yooooouuuuuke, Papi, Manny, Lowell, okay fine Drew, and so on. By the way Brian Sabean, notice a key element in the Red Sox line up? Yep, you hit it right on the nose, major league hitters. I know I promised no Giants lamentings, but I can't help my self. it is truly a disease.

Well let me leave you with an excerpt from Bill Simmons ALCS Diary that had me cracking up like I had just seen Dane Cook listed on VH1's Douche Bag Count Down, true story. Enjoy.

From Bill Simmons "There's only one October diary:"

11:21: For some reason, I'm thinking about these elaborate home run handshakes that have become all the rage (we even saw some in Game 4). Here are my questions:

Question No. 1: Does someone like Lofton go up to Martinez during batting practice before Game 2 and say, "I thought up a six-part celebration in case either one of us hits a homer, do you have time to rehearse it later?" Is that how it works?

Question No. 2: If you're Ortiz and you have to memorize multiple handshakes for different teammates, does it eventually affect your preparation for the game?

Question No. 3: What happens if you're Drew and nobody asks you to create an elaborate home run handshake with them? Do you feel like a loser?

Question No. 4: At what point does the post-home run handshake scene morph into the scene in "Boogie Nights" when Dirk Diggler takes over the dance floor as everyone performs an elaborate disco routine behind him? We're almost there, right?
(Note: I don't have answers for these questions. Just the questions themselves. Sorry I didn't clarify that earlier.)

Before we go, some impressive revelations shared with me by Tim McCarver during game game 4 of the ALCS. I am paraphrasing here, but Professor McCarver explained that a lead-off home run leads to more multi-run innings than a lead-off walk. Brilliant, we look forward to more discoveries during the McCarver led excavation of baseball obviousness.

Sep 26, 2007

Look at us now!

This is an actual transcript of a meeting between Barry Bonds, Peter McGowan and Larry Baer that took place last Friday September 21, 2007. I can not for obvious reasons reveal my source or sources of this actual transcript.

Peter McGowan: Owner, Managing General Partner, San Francisco Giants Baseball Club.
"Thanks Barry, you know this was really great wasn't it? 15 Years, wow! What Memories? What emotions? Hey, thanks for the stadium man, this place is sweet huh?

Barry Bonds: Former Left Fielder, San Francisco Giants.
"Your welcome."

Brian Sabean: General Manager, Vice President, San Francisco Giants Baseball Club.
"You know Barry I want to personally thank you. A few people may know this but you're the only reason I still have a job. You see, I hear people talk and they say 'boy, won't it be great to see what Brian Sabean will be able to do now that he won't have his hands tied by being saddled with Barry Bonds'."

Larry Baer: Some Fancy Title, San Francisco Giants Baseball Club.
"Can I get you some water Barry? A seat cushion?"

Bonds: "No thanks, Larry."

Sabean: "As I was saying, you and I both know any GM would have loved to have been 'saddled' with you, and if I think about the team I have surrounded you with over the past four seasons it makes me sick! What was I thinking? God, what I would give to get Joe Nathan back. And I know you and Jeff didn't get along that well, but the single biggest mistake we made was not adding a bat to the lineup when we had the both of you. Shoot, it makes me feel warm and dizzy and kind of strange when I think about it. Jose Cruz Jr.?!... Ryan Klesko?!... Ray Durham?!... Twice!... Marquis Grissom?!... David Bell?!... Deivi Cruz, Neifi Perez, Edwards Guzman, Moises Alou, Lance Neikro, Rich Aurilia... AGAIN?!! Jeffery Hammonds, Jamey Wright, Armando Benetiez, Jason Christensen, Steve Kline, Matt Morris, Barry Freakin' Zito, Dave Roberts...

Baer: "Barry, can I adjust your recliner?"

Bonds: "No thanks, Larry."

Sabean: ... Jeremy Accardo for Shae Hillenbrand, and Vinnie Chulk! Russ Ortiz, Matt Herges, Wayne Franklin, Brett Tomko!!!! Dave Burba?!!"

Bonds: "Brian, your being too hard on your self. Burba was here in '93 when I got here."

Sabean: "No Barry, look it up. I brought him BACK in 2004. We won 90 games in '04 and that was the dead-line move that I made? Pathetic, just pathetic. Oh my god, 2004, that was the year I had A.J. Pierzynski hitting behind you, Christ Barry, you're only human."

Bonds: "Brian, it's okay, we came really close, really close."

Baer: "No Barry, we did you wrong, we will in your honor, to apologize for our lack of contribution, ah, put together, uh, ah, a video montage!"

Bonds: "Thanks, Larry, but I won't be able to make it."

Sabean: "Would you two let me finish? Edgardo Alfonso, Michael Tucker, Ricky Ledee!! Jeff Fassero, LaTroy Hawkins, Alex Sanchez, the skinniest guy who ever got busted for steroids by the way. Mike Stanton, Tim Worrell, the second time, he was actually pretty good the first stay here. Todd Green, Mark Sweeney, Jose Vizcaino, Steve Finley! And I promise I am just speaking about 2003 and beyond. Trust me, I have no reason to lie. There is no one in here but the four of us, and this conversation will never get out. Look it up, these names were on our roster thanks to me."

McGowan: "Well, it should be said that we do have some bright spots, Brian."

Sabean: "Really, do you think so?"

Bonds: "Sure Sabes."

Baer: "Yes, Brian you have been instrumental in the assent of this franchise from the first day you walked into Candlestick Park, and I am going to honor you with a, um, maybe, ah, how about a video tribute? Have you seen our new Jumbo-Tron? Its the second largest high-def monitor in North America."

McGowan: "As I was saying, Larry, there are some bright spots. Matt Cain, Tim Lincicum, Omar Vizquel, Brian Wilson."

Baer: "And don't forget Barry... ... I mean the other Barry... Sorry, Barry."

Bonds: "No problem Larry."

McGowan: "And, some of our recent position prospects look promising."

Sabean: "But, I just feel like I could have done something more."

Baer: "Hey, go easy on yourself. Look at us now! We play in one of the crown jewels in professional sports. We have a rich history of Hall of Fame players. We sold a ton of season tickets because of this Barry and the All-Star Game. And we are still the only Major League team with a high-def video board... ... ... and three portly, Latino catchers in their 30's."

Sep 14, 2007

Bonds, Obama the Ticket in '08?

In one word, doubtful. You see, one of these men is at the beginning of his career, the other at the near dead end. One carries himself with a confident gate, the other an arrogant swagger. They both bring people out by the thousands. Only one carries a large cache after achieving something no other African American had ever done, and many thought was an impossible accomplishment. They both are in their mid forties, and people agree that their age is the single biggest detriment. But despite that we will be seeing much more of one of these men in the year to come traveling around the country, going from city to city across this great nation.

Yes folks you heard it hear first. The next president of the United States of America will not be Barack Obama. The other man I am speaking of is Barry Bonds, the 44 year-old left fielder for your San Francisco Giants and he will be back making news and doing his thing in 2008. And it makes sense, to the Giants.

No player can match the respect given by opposing mangers, outside of A-Rod in May, or Big Pappi in September. Bonds still can change a game. He is still the best player on the Giants, which is for another post. And his defensive misadventures are over exaggerated. Yes he is, in baseball years, ancient. Apparently he would be considered a baby if he entered the political world, but knowing Bonds he probably wouldn't be willing to pander enough to succeed the way most politicians do. Bonds this season will earn approximately $20 million after incentives. If he is willing to come back for a respectful $8-$10 million, say somewhere in the Eric Byrnes range, it is a sound baseball and business decision for Brian Sabean, Peter McGowan and company.

As much as I'd like to see Obama stumping across the country, and Barry bow out with some dignity, I am certain my hopes will not come to fruition.

Loose Stitches...

...A little noise was made when Matt Morris was traded and left a few "parting shots" for his organizational home for the past year and a half. He mentioned that he was excited to play behind younger more talented defenders, and that the culture of losing was difficult to accept for him, but not for many others in the Giants clubhouse and front office. I don't care what he said, he was frustrated, he was hurt, he has to still be thinking about the Cardinals not re-signing him, and then going on to win the World Series without him. But Matt, did you know you were traded to the Pirates? In fact that trade may have been the last straw for Pirate GM Dave Littlefield who time and time again made poor decisions and bringing on Matt Morris and the balance of his $13 million dollar plus contract was about as bad a decision as trading away Jason Schmidt and John Vander Wal for Ryan Vogelsong and Armando Rios. Thanks Dave, maybe you can get a Job with the Dodgers?...

...The 49er's are the sexy pick for up and coming team. Its hard to disagree, but the defense is still untested despite holding Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald to a total of 46 yards receiving last Monday night. Patrick Willis seems to be the real deal, and teams are so afraid of corner back Nate Clement they are going to try to pick on Walt Harris who led the NFC in interceptions last season, but they still seem to be light in run defense and pressuring the quarterback. The questions I have revolve around the offense. With Frank Gore the only question is will he run for more yards than he did last season. But his skilled brethren, i.e. wide receivers, are a little shaky. Darrell Jackson looked to be doing his best impression of an alligator, tyrannosaurus Rex, ________________ (fill in your favorite short armed creature here), until he redeemed himself by falling on Arnaz Battle' lost fumble late in the game. Ashley Lelie never had his named called by Mike Nolan or Mike Ditka. And Alex Smith was stymied for most of the game before his poise filled drive to win it at the end. I look for them to win 8 and maybe sneak into the playoffs with the help of a weak NFC West...

...Nellie is Back. Good for him. Good for he Warriors. Nellie saw the team transition an get even younger in the off-season. His concern was with the contract incentives last year helped him earn $5.1 million, but with a younger team and perhaps an untested group he wasn't willing to leave the extra $2 million between his $3.1 million base salary and what he earned last year to chance. Who could blame him. Good luck Warriors, you have a tough act to follow... Until next time, if you're planning on riding your bike at night, plan on wearing white.

Jul 20, 2007

Bonds vs. Vick

What I hope happens during the Michael Vick case, and impending legal trial he faces for illegal dog fighting (beyond justice being served of course), is that sports fans in America, casual or fanatical, and our government begin to see the distinct delineation between someone like Barry Bonds and Michale Vick.

Both are polarizing figures, both are incredible athletes, both are rich beyond most of our wildest dreams, both are black, one will certainly be indited within the month, and the other may follow close behind. But why, are their actions truly so similar in the legal eye as well?

Bonds for years has been vilified for being a "bad guy" a "bad teammate" a "cheater", none of which I'm telling you isn't true. But, lets take a closer look. Barry is mean to members of the media, often disregards the attention of adoring fans, and is possibly going to break the most cherished record in American sports by virtue of performance enhancing drugs. None of these things I would want on my resume, but they are incidences we can all relate to, perhaps have even been involved with in some way, or are guilty of on some level. Rudeness, treating others with a lack of respect, cheating on loved ones, in school, or at work. All are very common, and are relatively petty bones to pick at.

I hope a minute number of us can relate to the alleged actions of Vick. The disgusting, inhumane, barbaric, nauseating acts Vick is being accused of should help remind us all of the true reason Barry Bonds is national whipping boy; it is a vendetta being carried out by the executive branch of the federal government.

Most of us remember the State of the Union where President Bush made steroids in sports a national issue, and one that required immediate federal attention. This of course makes sense considering at the time we had already found Osama Bin Laden, brought justice and vengeance to the terrorists behind 9-11, rebuilt the middle east in the mold of a true democracy, fixed our nation's widespread voting problems, started a socialized health care system, improved our schools, and found renewable, alternative, and clean forms of energy, just to name a few.

What the Bonds investigation boils down to is that in December of 2003, a man potentially lied in front of a grand jury (again not a resume builder) about what he put in HIS body. The most prolific steroid trafficker and dealer known on the planet, Victor Conte, the Owner of BALCO Labs, has already served his time behind bars for his involvement in the case, a whopping four months. And to further diminish the current largeness of the effect of steroids, countless Major League Baseball Players have fallen off the face of the earth since testing went into place.

What we should expect from our leaders, who also took an oath to tell the truth, is leadership, not finger pointing. Bush, before being Governor of Texas, was the owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team, and authorized a trade for Jose Canseco. Yes, Canseco who proudly claims to have introduced steroids into baseball.

It is time to put our energy, resources, focus on other matters of national interest. The current grand jury was scheduled to be finished yesterday, July 19, 2007. They should not be retained for another six month period. Instead, let us concentrate on bringing the true "bad guys" to justice.