Archive for the 'San Francisco Giants' Category

Aaron’s 755 looks safe for now

Henry Aaron has been largely silent as Barry Bonds zeroes in on his home run record.

While he praised Selig for doing the right thing in appointing an investigation into steroids in baseball, he guardedly said he would congratulate Bonds if Barry were reach 756. “I wouldn’t say anything, just ‘God Bless You,'” Aaron said to the Associated Press. Can you really blame him for this reservation?

During his run at Ruth’s record in the 1970s, Aaron was on the receiving end of a lot of racist backlash. Now, thirty years later, Bonds is suffering in the eyes of the public but for vastly different reasons. Aaron’s treatment reflected the strain of race relations in the United States. Bonds’ treatment shows what happens in the court of public opinion to someone who may have cheated. While Bonds tries to play the race card, fans are hesitant at best to embrace his pursuit of the record because of his close ties to the BALCO court case and baseball’s current steroid scandal.

For Aaron, Bonds’ pursuit must be something to watch because these two players, while both immensely talented, have put together vastly different career profiles. Bonds, now famous for his late-career resurgence, has always been a flashy player. He made enemies in Pittsburgh with the Pirates’ management and took to calling Andy Van Slyke the Great White Hope because Slyke was better paid and more well-liked them him.

But for his attitude and talk, Bonds has been miles better than any other player in baseball even when you don’t consider his home runs. He won Gold Gloves seven times out of eight years in the 1990s. He won three MVP awards in the early 1990s and four so far in the twenty-first century. He’s topped 500 stolen bases and has over 2700 career hits.

While Bonds has put up gaudy totals in spurts while maintaining an overall level of excellence, Aaron was consistently at the top of his game from 1955 until 1973…

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Bonds, from the amusing to the surreal

After Tuesday’s stunt dressing as Paula Abdul, we all guessed that Barry’s day as a woman was over. Now, it seems that it’s not. On Wednesday, Mrs. Barry Bonds was back.

Folks, I can’t make this up.

Instead of going with the all-black look, today, Bonds tried to change this up a bit. The white midriff-baring tank top was hidding some, uh, assets that weren’t there yesterday. Is Bonds seeing the same performance-enhancing surgeon as Lydnsay Lohan?

Barrette Bonds soaks up the adoration. More friendly than Barry, Mrs. Bonds is waving to her fans and smiling!

You go, girlfriend!

Uh, yeah. That one speaks for itself.

In an effort to gain more insight into the man woman that is Barry Bonds right now, I decided to head on over to the Most Unintentionally Funny blog on the Internet: Barry’s own site.

Here’s what the slugger had to say about this transformation:

I really wanted to have some fun with the guys so I decided to really let loose and go all out. I dressed up as Idol judge Paula Abdul. Ray Durham was Randy and Jeff Fassero was Simon. The guys sang their own songs on top of the dugout with much enthusiasm to their teammates, coaches, media and fans. I was expecting them to be really bad but some of them actually sounded good. I have received some e-mails asking why I dressed in drag. To be honest with you, Mark Sweeney asked me to do it and I thought since this could be my last season why not have fun?

There you have it, folks. This could be his last season, so why not have fun?

Coming to a Major League Baseball stadium near you: The Barry Bonds Draq Queen Show. Get your tickets now.

(Again, this pictures are not mine. They are hotlinked from ESPN.com and were taken by Ben Margot of the Associated Press.)

Bonds plans for life after baseball

Barry Bonds sits third on the all-time home run with 703 roundtrippers. Bonds knows that, as he approaches age 42, he won’t be able to play baseball forever. On Tuesday, he gave his teammates, fans, and reporters a glimpse into what awaits Bonds when he decides to retire.

Bonds is going to pursue a career as, well, the world’s freakiest looking cross-dresser ever. As shown on the Web site of the San Francisco Chronicle, Bonds previewed this look today.

Here, Bonds sports a lovely wig, a weird chainlink necklace, and some massives shoulders.

During the day’s events, Barry serenaded the rest of the team before Spring Training. Nothing screams inspiration quite like a 6’1″, 230-pound, muscle-bound 42-year-old wearing a tube top.

Bonds also showed off his stunning cleavage for the camera and his fellow Giants. Save my eyes please.

(All pictures are linked from SFGate.com. I didn’t take them. Ben Margot of the Associated Press did. Read the real story behind Bonds’ costume at Bonds takes a turn as Paul Abdul.)

Bonds’ WBC decision raises eyebrows

Barry Bonds’ devotion to the San Francisco Giants is so touching.

Today, citing concern for his health and the competitiveness of the San Francisco Giants, Bonds opted out of the World Baseball Classic. Here’s what Barry had to say:

The timing is just not right. I have too many other responsibilities, too many things I have to take care of that are important to me. I owe it to the city (of San Francisco), my knee, my team, the fans and my family. I have to put my greatest effort right now into all of that.

On his unintentionally comedic Web site, BarryBonds.com, Bonds was even more eloquent:

After the announcement I received a lot of criticism as well as concern from fans and my family and friends. The obvious objections were about my health and whether or not I would be ready to play. In the end, I decided that I can’t take any chances that might jeopardize my season. I don’t want to give the impression that the WBC is not important. I know this means a lot to showcasing our sport worldwide, and the patriotism of playing for Team USA would have been a great honor. I feel what is best for me, my family, the Giants, and our fans is that I sit the WBC out.

Since when did Barry Bonds care about the Giants? For years, Barry has focused on what’s right for him. He wants to break Hank Aaron’s record (or at least the Babe’s mark). Any benefits to the Giants have always seemed tangential.

But now, Bonds is supposedly concerned about his health AND its impact on the Giants. He has other responsibilities. He has concerns about his health. He can’t risk injury by playing in the World Baseball Classic. But he still has to play during Spring Training. Couldn’t he get injured then?

And there is the first red flag: Bonds cites the weak injury excuse. So then is Bonds really being a team player? Not exactly.

Yesterday, Bonds announced to the world that he refuses to bat second in the Giants lineup. This remark came just a short while after manager Felipe Alou pondered using his feared slugger in the second. At this point in his career, Bonds said, it doesn’t work for him.

Why not, I say. Bonds, with his monster OBP and monster bat, would enjoy a greater level of protection batting second than fourth. Pitchers would have to face him because they wouldn’t be able to pitch around the 2-3-4 guys in the lineup. Bonds would still get his cuts and still get on base. He just wouldn’t get all of the RBIs. No stat-padding for you, Barry.

It’s hard to deny that his batting second would help the team. Just like it’s hard to believe that Barry Bonds is opting out of the WBC over concerns about its potential impact on the Giants’ season.

So as Bonds brushes aside questions about the WBC better than A-Rod ever could, baseball fans will be left wondering about his motivation. Is Bonds concerned with the Olympic-style drug tests or is it something more basic? Barry just doesn’t want to do something that Barry doesn’t want to do. Either way, it’s the same old song and dance from one of the game’s greatest who has never embraced his fans.

Bonds’ injury, mood may derail the race to 756

Brian Sabean, Felipe Alou, and many fantasy owners won’t be sleeping too well tonight because today was the day that the beleaguered Barry Bonds – All Star and fantasy stud extraordinaire – shocked the baseball world. Facing a bum knee and intense media scrutiny, Bonds announced on Tuesday that he may not play this season.

As the Associated Press reported, Bonds described himself as physically and mentally “done.? Blaming his knee, his age, and the pressure put on him by the media, Bonds seemed dejected and dispirited leaving many to wonder if the one of the game’s biggest stars wants to leave the spotlight of the steroid scandal and the hunt for Hank Aaron’s home run record.

The timing of Bonds’ announcement came after a tumultuous week and tumultuous off-season for the slugger. Many in the media were disappointed that Bonds did not testify in front of the Congressional committee panel last week as part of the investigation into steroids. Then, on Sunday, the news broke that Bonds’ ex-girlfriend pointed the needle at him during her grand jury testimony. Kimberly Bell apparently told the federal grand jury that Bonds had begun to use steroids in 2000.

These were just the latest developments in the steroid scandal that has enveloped Bonds and Major League Baseball seemingly since the minute after the Keith Foulke and Jason Varitek were celebrating on the mound in St. Louis last October.

To make matters worse for Bonds, he has been under intense media scrutiny over the last few months as he has begun to zero in on one of baseball’s most vaunted records. Sitting at 703 home runs, Bonds is just 11 home runs away from the Babe and 53 away from becoming the all-time home run king. As his pursuit has continued, baseball fans and media members alike have wondered if the record would be legitimate. They have often wondered if steroids were fueling the march to 756. While Bud Selig announced a no-asterisk policy, the ever-important court of public opinion is often not on Bonds’ side.

But now, the point may be moot. Bonds, who turns 41 in July, would face a steep uphill battle to reach 756 if he misses part or all of this season. History is not on his side.

Not too many players reach Bonds’ age and remain active. Even fewer – in fact, none – have reached Bonds’ age and remained as productive as he’s been since 2001. Take Hammerin’ Hank. The sport’s greatest home run hitter only hit 42 home runs from age 40 and beyond. Twenty of those came the year he turned 40. Forty-two more home runs would leave Bonds at 745. No small beans, but still, no record.

Only three players in baseball history have hit more than 53 home runs after (and including) the age of 40. Carlton Fisk slammed 72, largely because he played until he was 45; Darrell Evans slugged 67; and Dave Winfield hit 59. The record, by the way, for home runs hit by a 40-year-old is 34, and that record belongs to Evans.

Of course, these players all have one thing in common: They aren’t Barry Bonds. None of them can boast anywhere near a career slugging mark of .611. Winfield comes closest with a .475 mark. Remember, Bonds slugged .812 last year. That’s off the charts. Ted Williams, with a .540 mark, holds the record for highest slugging percentage by someone 40 and over. If anyone could break the mark despite missing their 40-year-old season to a knee injury, it would be Barry Bonds.

Now, to mix sports metaphors, the ball is in Bonds’ court. The slugger lashed out at the media for the pressure. The media wants Bonds to retire because if he were to break Aaron’s record, the integrity of the record would be in doubt as long as Bonds’ name continues to be linked to steroid use. One of the game’s most honorable records would be tarnished, and those covering the game are well aware how this could affect public perception of baseball.

Would Bonds want to deal with that pressure? Could he mentally deal with that pressure? Only Barry Bonds can answer that. If he wants to face the pressure, he has a great shot at breaking the record even if he misses 80 or 90 games this year. But if he’s fed up, it’s certainly his right to throw in the towel. The adversity is overwhelming with the BALCO cloud hanging over his head.

So as the Giants turn to Pedro Felix to fill in their left-field hole, the media frenzy over the home run chase will be on hold as baseball awaits to hear the fate of Barry Bonds. The truth is that the steroid scandal may just answer the questions that Bonds has left hanging.


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