Wednesday, November 28, 2007

25 on 25

Yeah, this is my 25th post here at RMC. And, the 800-lb gorilla is back, #25 himself, BLB. I can't seem to separate sports (baseball, that is) from reality. I wish I could. Really. I just like watching baseball and arguing about it. You know, 'who's the best player?' or 'would you bunt here?' or 'do bullpen coaches actually work?' and stuff like that. Damn, that's fun! Speculating on trades, pining away for some superstar to join your team, that is part and parcel of fandom. But goddamn real-life keeps butting in. Speaking of real life, did you know that Joe DiMaggio worked for the Mob? Yeah. Kind of puts the steroid "scandal" into perspective, eh? Speaking of that, here's another great bit of reporting on steroids, sports and culture. Peripherally, it is about Bonds, because he is the Poster Boy for the 'New Era.' But it is really about life and the times. Y'know, we live in a pharmacological wonderland--better living through biochemistry! At least we hope so.

The homepage for Tom Dispatch is here.
Robert Lipsyte can be found here.
The article is called Shooting Up on Jock Culture and is from 2006, so it doesn't discuss the home run record or the indictment. Warning: definitely NOT a reality-free zone. Next post, I promise, will be back to baseball La-La Land, where we talk about the Giants getting out of last place.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Trade Bait 2008

Here's Matthew Pouilot of Rotoworld:

Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Noah Lowry (Giants) - I doubt that either Cain or Lincecum is going anywhere unless the Giants swing a Miguel Cabrera deal. Crawford wouldn't be a terrible return for Cain, but I wouldn't make that trade if I ran the Giants. If the Yankees offered Phil Hughes and another quality piece for Cain, that'd probably be worth doing. It's not happening, though. Lowry is the one the Giants would be willing to move for a non-elite talent. The 27-year-old left-hander is signed for $6.75 million over the next two years, and there's a $6.25 million club option for 2010. That makes him fairly attractive no matter how much his WHIP fell off last season.

Lowry and RHP Brad Hennessey to Mariners for C Jeff Clement and OF Wladimir Balentien
Lowry to Cardinals for OF Chris Duncan and RHP Mitchell Boggs
Lowry to Royals for OF Chris Lubanski and SS Jeff Bianchi

Prediction - Lowry traded to Mariners, Others stay

Caveat: this is a fantasy site. But I like the thinking, and these guys take this stuff seriously. And they are no weirder than the sabermetricians.

I'd do trade #1 in a heartbeat.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

So it goes.

I want to get away from writing about Bonds, but, like the 800-lb. gorilla, he's still in the room. Not the GIANTS room, but THE room, the entire sports-space. He's bigger than the GAME, bigger than SPORTS, even, and he won't go away. Unless the Feds put him away, and make no mistake they want him, and want him bad. Too many idiotic things have been written about Barry, cascades of vitriol and solipsism, and we know who those clowns are. But smart people have been writing intelligent words about Bonds, and their tiny squeaks of reason and insight are drowned out by a cacophony of slime. This latest piece I found today by perusing the always thoughtful and interesting ONLY BASEBALL MATTERS blog:

The Essence of Bonds
BY D.K. Wilson

The other sites worth reading are Edge of Sports, Cosellout, and The Starting Five. Warning: major time sink. Maybe I can get the BLB Scandal under control, like a rash that breaks out once in a while. In my mind, I mean. The "news" outlets will continue to scream at me with this crap, and I'll have to relax about it so I can get back to the Giants and their dismal prospects for 2008. But The Bonds Thing will keep popping up. In the baseball world, more than any other, people cling harder to their illusions and fantasies about "how it oughta be" and refuse most stubbornly to see "how it really is." Messing with MLB's Mythology is worse than murder.

And I thought that baseball was my escape from reality.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Proverbial Barry Lamar

Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

--Proverbs 16: 18 (KJV)

Barry Lamar Bonds makes the national headlines--again. One of the world's greatest athletes, Bonds looms larger than the sport that brought him fame and money. And thus we see his sin, the ancient one of Pride, one of the Seven Deadlys of Yore. Babe Ruth was bigger than baseball, and so was Joe DiMaggio. Bonds' fatal mistake was pulling himself up to the pantheon, shoving a few old codgers aside in the process, and attempting to stand next to George Herman and Joseph Paul. Tsk, tsk, Barry Lamar. You were too good, too cocky, too aloof, too self-absorbed. Mostly you were just too good. Hang your head, boy, and say "aw, shucks," and we'll cut you some slack. But stand pround, be defiant, and we'll cut you down. Welcome to the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, Barry, where you can "be all you can be."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Birthday wishes

1. The Giants sign Miguel Cabrera for a bunch of farmhands.

2. Bruce Bochy gets a hankering to manage the Nat's AAA team or something and Ron Wotus gets promoted to top dog.

3. Brian Sabean retires and we get some new, smart person like the Chavez Latriners Assistant GM, Kim Ng, or the ex-Twins GM, Terry Ryan.

4. Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain form the best 1-2 pitching punch in baseball in 2008. (And The Beezy has a big bounce-back season.)

5. The SFG's realize the error of their ways and BLB returns for another historic season, and his mentoring of Daniel Ortmeier, Kevin Frandsen, and Fred Lewis makes them all into studly major league hitters.

By the way, check out today's Lisa Gray article at The Hardball Times entitled "My favorite baseball players." I enjoyed it for two reasons: 1) BLB made the top spot and 2) she has a smart, fun, fan's perspective, and loves ballplayers for many of the same silly reasons we all do.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Gettin' serious about 2008

Now that Mr. Sabean has clarified the Giants' position on Bonds (just say "no") and the rest of the league ("we're kicking the tires"), it is time for serious talk about 2008.

1B) Rich Aurilia. Dan Ortmeier. Hmmmm, unproven rookie and tired old hack. I'm goin' with the rook, Richie can sit and play back-up.

2B) Ray Durham. Kevin Frandsen. I want KF to succeed so badly it makes my teeth hurt. I expect Durham will play better (he was one of the worst in MLB last year, so I'm not reaching here). Sorry Ray, you sit. The phenom plays.

SS) Sabean loves Omar--who doesn't? Omar will sign with us because no one else is interested. They all have younger shortstops.

3B) Sabean loves Pete. Get used to it. Another Richie A backup spot.

LF) Roberts. Expect a rebound season

CF) Davis/Lewis platoon. One of them can play, let's find out which one.

RF) Winn. Decent player all around. Our "main man" next year. Schierholz make the team? Only if one of our CF's blows chow in the spring.

Ugh. We'll be lucky to score 3 runs per game. And adding Mike Lowell or Torii Hunter or Andruw Jones won't change that very much.

Help me out here, I'm drowning!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Read 'em and weep

The HOF responded to my email of 27 Sep. (See JCP's post and the comments). I decided to post my reply here on RMC. (BTW, here's the link so you can sound off to the HOF as well.)

Dear HOF:

Thank you for your smarmy and obsequious note of 2 Nov. I stand by my letter, forgetting of course about my ability to spell "embarrassment" and "publicity." Five points:

1) I am not your friend.

2) "Delay" in returning an e-mail? Are you kidding? Do you not have nerds in Cooperstown? Can you not write/borrow/steal/download a fooking automated reply system? Oops, I'm sorry, I think that WAS an automated reply.

3) Have you considered that 10,000,000 votes in an "on-line poll" was no more than six stateless hackers-for-hire writing code that voted 1,666,666 times each, with Mark Ecch-o casting the last one personally?

4) Do you have deliberately defaced artifacts on display with placards ("the entire story . . . will be presented fairly and balanced with facts and not supposition") about the OTHER famous ballplayers in the Hall? Yeah? Like who? And what do you say about THEM?

5) "Additionally, please know we have several other artifacts graciously donated by Barry Bonds from his career, including his historic 755th and 756th home runs."


Dear Friend:

Thank you for your letter regarding Barry Bonds’ 756th home run baseball which is being donated to the museum. Thank you for taking the time to express your views and we apologize for the delay in returning a reply.

We understand your consternation in the Museum accepting this donation, but we strongly believe it is a relevant and important artifact that belongs in Cooperstown. As an American history museum, our core mission is to tell the story of baseball history, both in the context of how it unfolds on the field, and also as it relates to American culture.

As you know, the baseball from Bonds’ 756th home run is being donated with an asterisk affixed to it. We do not condone defacing artifacts and would have preferred the baseball be donated in its natural state. We were willing to look beyond that in this instance, because of the historical relevance connected to the baseball. We will explain why it is defaced and what led to it being donated to the Museum in that condition.

In our opinion, the baseball speaks to many significant parallels between baseball and culture in 2007, some of which include: a representation of baseball fans’ sentiments about the home record, for a one-week period in September 2007; a symbol of the adversity Barry Bonds had to endure in passing Hank Aaron to become the all-time home run champion, and; the passion baseball fans have for baseball history, as evidenced by the popularity of the online poll, in which 10 million votes were cast during a one-week period.

When this artifact is eventually donated and placed on display in the Museum, the entire story -- from when the baseball left Barry Bonds’ bat and ended up in Cooperstown -- will be presented fairly and balanced with facts and not supposition: We share baseball history through exhibits and let our visitors interpret their own feelings.

Additionally, please know we have several other artifacts graciously donated by Barry Bonds from his career, including his historic 755th and 756th home runs.

We hope this sheds some light into our thinking. Thanks again for sharing your opinion, which we value.

The best way to stay informed about the Hall of Fame and all the happenings in Cooperstown is to subscribe to INSIDE PITCH, the official e-mail newsletter of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. IT'S FREE and shows up in your e-mail box at the beginning of each week. You'll also receive timely news items direct from Cooperstown - where we preserve history, honor excellence and connect generations every day. Follow this link to sign up for INSIDE PITCH.

Yours in Baseball,
The Hall of Fame

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-----Original Message-----From: Mark O'Connor [] Sent: Thursday, September 27, 2007 1:18 AMTo: Baseball Hall of FameSubject: Barry Bonds baseball
IP Address:
Name:Mark O'Connor
Subject:Barry Bonds baseball
Question and/or Comment:The ridiculous stunt regarding Mr. Ecko and the "asterisk" on #756 is an embarassment to baseball and the Hall of Fame. I am shocked you would blatantly disrespect one of the greatest American athletes of all time. Shame on you, succumbing to a juvenile publcity stunt by someone who knows nothing of the game! Give Barry his due, he's earned it.
Date of Birth:11/ 13/ 1959
Favorite Baseball Team:SF Giants
Favorite Hall Of Famer:Mike Schmidt

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Bonjour, Carney Lansford!

When a team hits as poorly as we did last year, changing the batting coach is a given. But you can't make All-Stars out of over-the-hill major leaguers, and you can't make major leaguers out of AAAA hitters. Or can you? I like the Lansford choice. I'm not basing this on any track record as an instructor. I have no idea whether he has been a good one or a bad one. But he was a fine hitter, and if he can teach others how to hit, we might get our surplus of AAAA hitters over the hump to producing regularly in the bigs.

15 years, 1899 games, .290 AVG, .343 OBA, .411 SLG, only 553 BB's, BUT only 719 K's

He was a solid, productive percentage hitter who lacked pop. BUT he didn't whiff much. I like that. Maybe he can teach plate discipline, patience, and how to use the whole field. A guy like Frandsen or Ortmeier could really improve with some work in those areas. Lansford is a Bay Area boy and the Giants seem to like that hometown connection (like Righetti--who's useless).

Welcome aboard, Carney! (Eek! That name! Don't you just want to wear a striped shirt and porkpie hat, chew on a cheroot and accost passers-by with a gravelly baritone: "step right up, folks, ya won't believes yer eyes, only a dollah, ladies are free . . .")