Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Even with a 21-10 start and Josh Beckett pitching very well for the moment, there just might be a little trouble in Paradise. And it's brewing over something of marginal importance at best. Curt Schilling and David Ortiz have found themselves on the opposite sides of the Barry Bonds question. The real question is why are they talking about Bonds when they don't play the Giants for weeks?

To be fair, Schilling was responding to a question asked while he was appearing on Dennis and Callahan when he made his comments about Bonds. It probably would have been better had he no commented, though. Why give your opponent bulletin board material? Why take attention away from important stories like Josh Beckett preparing to fall back to Earth any day now?

Schilling is right that this whole thing has nothing to do with race, at least for the vast majority of fans. What people seem to ignore when they try to make this an issue of race raised is the Barry Bonds is an African-American chasing another African-American's career home run record. This is an issue of a guy who spent 20 years alienating people wanting them to embrace him now as he rides off into the sunset.

The real problem with Barry Bonds is that he spent his entire professional life being a douche. He isn't a good guy, he's been abrasive with fans and media. He has not honestly and genuinely addressed the steroid issue. He hasn't even had the good manners to come out and lie to us. At the end of the day, most people think he doesn't deserve his record because one cannot explain why he looks so much different now than he did when he came up with the Pirates.

Roger Clemens came into the league around the same time Bonds did, give or take two years. Clemens is now bigger than he was at twenty, but it doesn't seem unnatural. Who maintains the same weight into their mid-40s as they did when they were twenty? Barry Bonds came up as a leadoff hitter. Life may begin at forty if you're a menopausal baby-boomer, but even with advances in nutrition, weight training and medical care, life doesn't begin at forty for a baseball player.

Far more interesting were the comments made by David Ortiz in support of Barry Bonds. David Ortiz must know that this could be the last mistake he ever makes. You just don't disagree with Schilling. That's how people end up having to pay a clubhouse attendant to start their cars. It's like trying to kill the don in a Godfather movie.

I found it odd that Ortiz admitted that he may have taken steroids unwittingly with very little prodding. It seems like the sign of a guilty conscience. Maybe that and not the inspired tutelage of former hitting coach Ron Jackson is the real secret of how he went from a marginal player on a marginal team in Minnesota to the most feared left handed hitter in New England in the span of a year. Maybe Theo isn't quite the genius we thought. I guess it explains why Jackson was expendable in the purge of the staff following last season's collapse.

Over the course of this blog's history, I have not had many occasions to compliment Schilling very much. But, as the cliche goes there is a first time for everything. So tonight, I think I ought to congratulate Schilling for saying that he won't bean Bonds. After all, I have criticized the team for its penchant for sending messages by beaning opposing hitters.

So I salute Schilling for that particular comment. I like the idea of a pitcher matching his skill against the batter's hitting prowess. It seems to me that when you get right down to it, that's the object of the exercise. I like to see a strong power pitcher throw his best stuff up against the best hitters in the game. Schilling is proud, maybe too proud, but a proud pitcher ought to challenge a guy like Bonds.

Red Sox fans ought to be ashamed if they're afraid to have what they deem to be the best pitching staff in baseball pitch to Bonds. And if they really want to admire the pitchers for whom they cheer, shouldn't they want to see those pitchers deflate Bonds' massive ego? At the very least they ought to think twice before they puff out their chests with pride in a team that has to bean the best hitter on an opposing team to win games.

PS - I don't think that Bonds has actually lied about steroids. I think that nonsense about flaxseed oil and arthitic balm is more a half truth than a lie. I'd have much more respect for him if he came out and said: "Hell no, I never took steroids."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey, do you want Mariotti's job? It is worth $500K per year.


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