Baseball Intensive Today
Confluence: Tonight, there’s a chance that Barry Bonds will tie (or possibly break) the all-time home run record seet by Henry Aaron. Also, Alex Rodriquez has a chance to hit his 500th home run (doing so younger than anyone in history, provided he can do so within the next 300 days). Tom Glavine has a chance to win his 300th game as a pitcher as well. I wonder what the networks would’ve done before cable. Now, there’s a chance we can see all of them live as ESPN shifts from Bonds at-bats to A-rods. Of course, Glavine will only be seen as he approaches the 6th inning and his team has the lead. But still, there’s a chance we could see them all “live” and I’m kind of excited about that.
On Bonds: People have asked me what I think about Barry Bonds and you have to remember that he broke into the major leagues in my prime baseball-watching years and I can say, without a doubt, he’s the most complete baseball player I’ve seen. A vicious arm. Tremendous speed. Hit for power. Hit for average. He grew up around the game and appears to have a sixth sense about the nuances. He’s absolutely incredible…and would’ve been a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee even if he didn’t do what he’s accused of.
The key word is that he’s accused of those things. He’s done nothing wrong according to Major League Baseball’s rules nor the Major League Baseball Players Association. He’s never been suspended or reprimanded for anything. And, as I understand it, he’s innocent until proven guilty. Don’t even get me started on the possibility that he might even be telling the truth: That he never knowingly took supplements.
But let’s say that his trainer was juicing him up. Barry’s still gotta hit the baseball, follks. And before anyone thought he was juiced he was on a pace to for sure catch Willie Mays at 660 career homers. Hence, at best it’s only increased his home run totals by about 16%. So, if he’s found negligent of asking his personal trainer the right questions, lower his totals by about 20% and he’s still a Hall of Famer.
Yes, he’s surly. Yes, he should handle the press better. Ummm…sound like Hank Aaron, anyone? At least he’s honest. I’ll take his surly over A-rod’s phony any day.
So, rock on Mr. Bonds. I’ll be excitedly watching history unfold.
Oh, and the other best players I’ve seen play in-person: Grudgingly, Alex Rodriquez & not-so-grudgingly Ken Griffey, Jr. Honorable mention to Pudge Rodriquez & Tom Glavine.
Trade Deadline: Mark Teixeira was traded yesterday to the Braves for a bunch of prospects. It’s official: the Rangers are rebuilding. And, the Braves will get their 40-homer, 100-RBI man and an amazing fielder–no question the guy is eaten up with talent…and we’ll wait and see how our season turns out in 2009. Or maybe 2010.
But I’m glad to see Teixeira go. He didn’t want to be here, and it showed…he wanted Buck Showalter gone because he’s too disciplined. So we bring in Ron Washington and it’s too relaxed. Maybe, Tex, just maybe, you had something to do with the reality that we were 19 games UNDER .500 with you this season and 5 games OVER .500 without you. You’re a professional getting paid a bundle of money to perform…and you’re not entitled to WIN (ask Ernie Banks), my friend. At least we got SOMETHING for you. But I’m convinced your bad attitude infected the clubhouse, where sometimes teamwork and comaraderie can sneak an underdog team into the playoffs (see the Oakland A’s). So, good riddance, Tex. Your performance will definitely be missed. But you won’t. I’d rather have it the other way around.
Manalive, do I ever enjoy baseball. It’s stuff like this that is the reason…