Where to begin today…?
According to a report in the LA Times, Barry Bonds said that he is “proud” of Mark McGwire for admitting his (McGwire’s) use of performance enhancing drugs. That statement and the concept that underlies that statement demands a moment of silence just so you can try to let it sink into your consciousness…
OK, now that you have that scene and that statement squared in your mind, please tell me how Mark McGwire might welcome this statement any more than:
Your run-of-the-mill candidate for President of the United States who just received the public endorsement of Charles Manson.
Barry Bonds was at the ballpark in SF last Sunday for a 10th year reunion of the Giants’ team from the year 2000. Why that Giants’ team needs/deserves a 10th year reunion is not clear to me, but the Giants held the reunion and Bonds attended – - as he ought to have. Clarifying his remarks about Mark McGwire – - as if McGwire truly wanted any more verbiage on the record here – - Bonds said:
“I have a really good friendship with Mark McGwire. I’m proud of him. We’ve had a great relationship throughout our entire lives and throughout our career. I’m proud of what he did. I’m happy for him.”
Bonds is in his third year of MLB inactivity – - but no one should call that retirement. Bonds addressed the retirement issue as directly as one might expect Bonds to address any issue more controversial than the positive value of a cure for cancer:
“It’s not necessary. Retirement isn’t that important.”
I wonder if the Hall of Fame issued a statement that so long as he does not announce his retirement, they will not start the 5-year clock for his inclusion on the HoF ballot if Bonds might reconsider the importance of retirement. I guess we will never get to know the answer to that one…
The other revelation from Barry Bonds at this team/media event is that he went to Florida this year at the invitation of the Phillies’ Ryan Howard to work with Howard on hitting technique and philosophy. Said Bonds:
“He’s doing very, very well (hitting .357 with 3 HRs and 10 RBIs through 4/12/10) and hasn’t said one thing about me yet, but I love him and I’m glad he’s doing well.”
I don’t doubt for a minute that Barry Bonds – - and Pete Rose for that matter – - could offer significant insights to the art of hitting a baseball to any and all players at the major or minor league levels that would be willing to work with either or both of these hitting machines. Rose is forbidden to do that by MLB for reasons that are just plain stupid; Bonds can continue to assist hitters so long as they understand the stigma they may bear based on their association with Bonds. But in either or both cases, batters would probably benefit from such tutelage – - just as current and previous generations of hitters benefited from the oversight of Ted Williams, Tony Gwinn and other “students” of the art of hitting a baseball.
The Houston Astros are 0-7 to start the season and the first 6 of those losses came at home. This is an ominous start to the season and one has to wonder if the Astros intend to evict the Pittsburgh Pirates from the cellar in the NL Central. Who thinks that is a noble objective…?
And, speaking obliquely of the Pirates, let me stay in Pittsburgh for a moment and comment on the NFL trade the Steelers made with the NY Jets sending Santonio Holmes to the Jets in return for a 5th round draft pick. Please recall; Santonio Holmes carries with him the honor of an MVP in a Super Bowl.
Having said that, Holmes faced a suspension from the league for violation of the banned substance policy at the time of the trade – - and subsequently he is looking at a 4 game suspension at the start of the 2010 season. Holmes has “off-field baggage” to say the least plus he is in the final year of his contract. Add all of that together and the market price for a very talented wide receiver comes out to be a 5th round pick.
The most surprising thing to me is that Danny Boy Snyder did not pony up a 4th round pick to acquire Holmes. Perhaps that indicates that Danny Boy is actually going to let his new GM and coach (to whom he has committed about $50M in salaries) make the football-germane decisions for the club. At the very least, it seems to mean they are making those decisions this week; will that situation continue to obtain? We shall see…
Bob Smizk writes a blog on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette website. Here is what he had to say about the “Holmes-to-the Jets” deal:
“Sure, there have been other players break rules for the Steelers. But no Steelers oozed trouble the way Holmes did …Plaxico Burress was perceived by many as a troublemaker in his years with the Steelers. Burress was a good teammate and compared to Holmes a great teammate.”
Professor Smizk went on to say:
“Are the Steelers a better team today than they were yesterday? Probably not.
But they have a better chance of being a better team in the future by ridding themselves of a player who seemed married to trouble and who did not have the respect of his teammates.”
Allow me to translate that last comment for you:
“Mr. Holmes, do not allow the door to hit you on your sorry ass on your way out. Thank you very much.”
Granted this is pure speculation but the Jets have been having difficulty selling their PSLs for their new stadium – - and the sale of those PSLs is an important foundation in the financing of that new stadium. Could the acquisition of Holmes – - and other players with marquee names – - be in response to the lagging sales of these PSLs?
Taking the concept of “blame the victim” to an entirely new plane of existence, actor Jim Carrey mused in defense of Tiger Woods’ bimbo dalliances that Woods’ wife (Elin Nordegren) had to know about these infidelities and therefore was “a willing participant” in those activities. [Pause here and exhale. Breathe normally; you actually read that last sentence correctly and there is no need to try to bring it into your normal human realm of understanding.] I do not read minds – - as Jim Carrey seems to assert he is able to do – - but I wonder how what fraction of married women in the US would agree with his position here.
Let me be clear. Were I to engage – - or have engaged – - in behaviors such as the ones Tiger Woods engaged in and my long-suffering wife “knew about them”, I am confident that I would have wound up with a fire ax buried between my eyebrows as opposed to whatever “willing participation” she might have exhibited.
Memo to Jim Carrey’s Spouse: You might want to consider hiring a private investigator to follow Messr. Carrey around for the next few months to find out just how he is spending his time away from the homestead…
Finally, here is an observation of the state of American culture from Bernie Lincicome:
“Reality TV ought to require testing, both drug and IQ.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…