Whither Barry Bonds? Whither Frank Thomas? Whither…

Ray Ratto suggested in a column on cbs.sportsline that the Yankees should sign Frank Thomas and Barry Bonds. He thought that would create enough of a distraction for Hank Steinbrenner that “Yammering Hank” would stop trying to manage the Yankees’ starting rotation.

Scott Ostler in a column in the SF Chronicle wondered if the Oakland A’s fast start might convince the A’s front office to forget about any rebuilding program and make a run at the playoffs this year. In that case, might they sign the tandem of Bonds and Thomas?

The problems associated with signing Bonds are well known. The “problem” with Frank Thomas is that his contract in Toronto had a clause in it guaranteeing him $10M next year if he played a certain amount this year. And the way he started off the season, it looked as if he is out of gas. So, any team thinking of signing this pair of aging sluggers is thinking outside the box; and in that spirit, let me suggest to any such general manager that he take the next logical step:

    Sign Thomas and sign Bonds and sign Sammy Sosa.

Of course, the field manager of that squad may need a whip and a chair to keep order in that clubhouse…

Yankees’ reliever, Kyle Farnsworth, was suspended for three games for throwing a big time fastball behind Manny Ramirez’ head. It’s a good thing for Ramirez that he didn’t get hit in the head; it also makes me wonder how long the suspension might have been had Farnsworth hit him. But the strangest part of all this was the reaction of some of the Yankees and some of the people who cover the Yankees. They didn’t think it was that big a deal. They thought it should have been handled as a “no harm no foul” situation. I wonder if they would think the same way if Derek Jeter had a 95 mph fastball come within two inches of his cranium. Somehow, I doubt it…

Supposedly, Doris Day and Mickey Mantle got to know each other in the Biblical sense back in 1962. Greg Drinnan of the Kamloops Daily News put that entire story in perspective:

“The Mick played in only 123 games that season, meaning he spent a lot of the season listed as Day-to-Day.”

A high school baseball game in Japan ended with one out in the second inning and the score of 66-0. The manager of the team on the short end of that score asked the umpires to stop the game earlier than the standard four innings when the “slaughter rule” would kick in. One reason he did that was that his starting pitcher – who was still in the game – had already thrown 250 pitches and had only managed to get four batters out. And in the second inning, the opposing team had already scored 40 runs with only one out… Is there anyone else on that team who might be able to pitch as well as that starting pitcher? If not, maybe canceling the entire season based on a “mercy rule” might be in order for that squad.

In addition to offering wagering opportunities on all NBA playoff games, some of the Internet sportsbooks also have some proposition bets on those playoffs. At bodoglife.com, you can wager on who will be the MVP of the NBA Finals, which is interesting because that will also make you project at least one of the teams in that final series. Kevin Garnett (at 3-1) and Kobe Bryant (at 4-1) were the shortest odds offered. Shaquille O’Neal, who has won that award three times in the past, was at 50-1.

The Denver Nuggets play the LA Lakers in the opening round of the NBA Playoffs. With Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson the Nuggets try to outscore opponents because the team’s defense is virtually nonexistent; they gave up almost 107 points per game this year. Against a team like the Lakers who can score in a lot of ways, this is not a series where you want to try to keep score in your head.

By the way, the last time the Nuggets played a Los Angeles team in the playoffs, they made history. In that previous encounter, the Nuggets became the only team in NBA history to lose a playoff series to a team owned by Donald Sterling. Since the Clippers are not in the playoffs this year, the Nuggets’ place in history remains safe for the time being.

The following data comes courtesy of Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe. You really do need to pay attention to the exploits of LeBron James because they are prodigious ones indeed. Because he has no one of all-star caliber around him, that makes his Cavaliers less than a “team for the ages”; nonetheless, LeBron James is special. Consider:

    LeBron is already the leading scorer in Cavaliers’ history.

    LeBron has already scored more than 10,000 points.

    LeBron is only 23 years old – younger now than Larry Bird was as a rookie.

The Duke lacrosse affair is not yet over. The lacrosse players who were never even indicted in that whole fiasco have filed a suit against Duke University and the city of Durham NC. I don’t pretend to understand the legal theory behind that suit, but it exists. Those players have set up a website – Dukelawsuit.com – where there is discussion of the case and progress made and all that sort of stuff. The lawyers for Duke and for Durham recently tried to get the judge to close the site and to apply sanctions to the lawyers for the players for violating the North Carolina Code of Professional Responsibility. The judge refused to do that. That attempt and the judge’s ruling raise a couple of interesting points:

    1. If there is no “gag order” in place for the trial, then how can Duke and Durham justify abridging the plaintiffs’ right of free expression by asking for this website to be closed?

    2. It seems to me that the reason there are any lawsuits involved in this matter at all is based on the fact that someone violated the North Carolina Code of Professional Responsibility – - and it wasn’t the lawyers for the players.

Finally, here is an item from Dwight Perry’s column, Sideline Chatter, in the Seattle Times:

The annual Rindhovda Rundt ski race in Gudbrandsdalen, Norway, won’t be crowning a 2008 champion, the Oslo Aftenposten reported, after organizers canceled this year’s event because of a moose infestation on the groomed trails.

In other words, somebody’s reign just got called on account of game.

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…

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