Thursday, March 09, 2006

Weighing in...

I have spent the last 2 weeks in the San Jose/San Franciso area. When the story of the Chronicle reporters getting ready to release their "explosive" (media words there folks) book on Barry "My head is too large for my body" Bonds, I only laughed. No one in thier right mind should be shocked. Check out his 87' Topps card, and compare it to today. Its not the same person. From 87' to today, yeah I weigh much more. But I don't look like I have been shooting up? Nope. Unless you count Krispy Kreme and Carl's Jr.

Barry Bonds is bad for baseball. He has never been approachable. He is not friendly, unless things are going his way. He mocks teams for walking him, but if they were to bean him with the ball, it would fly 500 feet. He has people in his corner pointing out that even if he did shoot up in the 90's it was not against the rules of MLB. Hey Barry, question. Ninjamunkey, talking Sport Blog. If it were illegal, would you have done it? Sure you would. Do kids hope and dream of playing in the majors, but never get signed because assholes like you and your drugs have pushed the bar too high? Everyday.

Don't justify your actions to me. Justification is what junkies do. They can stop at any time. Can you? Can you go without a shot and still break the record?

Yeah, there have been bad guys in ball before. Cobb, Ruth, hell even one of my idols, Mickey Mantle was said to be a drunk ass most of the time. They did not hide it, they did not lay out of the first year of random testing. they drank, they smoked 5 foot cigars, and they played ball. Why couldn't you do the same?

This is just my opinion, I make it up as I go along.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Well, Puck Me

One of the most tired debates that is centered around professional sports, right after the merits of the "hold" statistic, is whether or not players have an obligation to be "role models" and do we, as fans, have the right to expect them to act as such?

Obviously, the media is much more all-emcompassing than it was in the days of, say, Ty Cobb. So the modern fan is more aware of the fact that Jeff Kent has the reputation of being an asshole than the fans during Cobb's era knew of his penchant for being a genuine son of a bitch.

Fans tend to label athletes while only knowing what they read. Or hear. Or see. But what do we really know?

Lou Reed once "sang" (quotes used because he usually "talks" his lyrics), "Don’t believe half of what you see, and none of what you hear."

Me? I usually trust my gut instinct. And that is why...
  • Even if Barry Bonds is truly the best homerun hitter of all time, I do not want to see him break Hank Aaron's all-time homerun record. Personally, I think Bonds has set himself up as the "bad guy" on purpose. That way, should he pass Aaron, he can point to all the "adversity" he fought through when his feat is compared to Hank's quest. Sorry, Barry. Not buying it. You prod reporters into conforontations. Aaron got death threats. Will it be long before we hear about Bonds receiving the same? Don't put it past the spin machine.

  • I was sorry to hear about the passing of Kirby Puckett. However, it hurt more to hear the allegations of abuse from his ex-wife and the accusation of "groping" from another female a few years ago. He was acquitted on the second, and as far as I know, charges were never brought regarding the first. But those are the types of things that stay in the back of my mind... violence against women by anyone is inexcusible in my mind. Spare me the "innocent until proven guilty" rhetoric. I am, after all, human.

  • With that said, I will never forget how Puckett, along with Tony Gwynn, George Brett, and Cal Ripken Jr., embodied 80's baseball to me. His obvious love of the game, infectious smile, and his atypical baseball body were screaming "Market me!" So, yes, yesterday was a sad day for me. I choose to remember the good on this one.

  • Notice I left Wade Boggs out of the above trio? That was not by mistake, and remember that I have Red Sox blood in my family.

  • With the exception of A-Rod, who I think is about as fake as a placebo drug, I am a big fan of all the players that have opted to participate in the World Baseball Classic out of dedication to their country. And let me say this: Even if USA wins this thing? We, as a country, will still be embarrassed by lack of fan support. I really hope that opens some eyes, too, though I am not holding my breath. Our national pasttime is on the verge of being swept away by other countries that recognize the timeless beauty the game entails. We'll be playing PlayStation. Sad.

So, basically, I have spent all of my time writing this straddling the fence regarding the "role model" vs. "guy doing a job" debate. But I also think that is the way to go. Some players embrace the fact that kids (and, yes, some adults) look up to them while others shun it. Likewise, some fans choose to look the other way regarding athletes while others can't get past character flaws.

If you need to reach me, I'll be here - on the fence. Rooting for my hometeam.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Touch Em All

Less than 24

Tomorrow afternoon at 4pm the US plays its first game in the World Baseball Classic. The braintrust that is ESPN has decided not to tape delay the game. Unlike the first round in Asia, where the tape delayed games came on after midnight.

I'm guessing that if the ratings stink, which they will due to the lack of interest in baseball by the American public, ESPN will deem it a failure. Instead of showing the games during prime time on one of their 10 channels we get college basketball for 12 hours. Hey look, some guys just ran one way. Wait, now they're running the other way. Lather. Rinse. Repeat about a hundred freakin times.

Back to the WBC. This is long over due and I'm excited. Tomorrow afternoon has 2 great games. Mexico vs USA and Dominican Republic vs Venezuela. I want to see the best players from around the world. Hell, I just want to see baseball. Thank God spring training has started and there is a WBC.

Now let's play two.