The Week That Was in Baseball: December 12-18, 2011
Barry Bonds' Pricey Sentence • Angry Birds in St. Louis, Happy Angels in Anaheim
Is Ryan Braun Doping Out on Denial? • Derek Jeter's Parting Gifts
Can I be Barry's Cellmate?
This is not a defense of Bonds, who very obviously took steroids and said so on the grand jury back in 2003. (His pleading of ignorance on the subjectthat he unknowingly was given the drugs from trainer Greg Andersonremains utterly laughable to those who know Bonds as a highly controlling individual.) But it is an indictment of the Federal Government that basically tried to blast a bug with a bazooka. Yes, obstruction of justice under any circumstance is a potential crime, but this isn’t Watergate.
Still, Bonds has a lot to answer for. He remains defiant, refusing to make a statement before judge Susan Illston handed down her sentence this past Friday; some had hoped that he would have taken the opportunity to express contrition for his actions, but instead he zipped his lip while his lawyers pledged to overturn the conviction and keep him from having to serve his penalty. Because as you know, being holed up in a 15,000-square foot home on a two-acre chunk of Beverly Hills for a month is tough penance.As the Black Sox cabal found out in 1920, baseball often administers the final judgment. For Bonds, the denouement will come from Hall of Fame voters a year from now, when his name pops up on the ballot for the first time; they’ll likely convict him in their own minds by leaving the box next to his name unchecked.
Is Ryan Lyin'?
But Gary Wadler, a former chairman for the World Anti-Doping Agency and baseball’s unauthorized fact-checking expert on performance enhancement, doesn’t see a mistake in testing as likelyciting that Braun not only failed one test, but a second that was administered by baseball just to be sure. Wadler pointed out that the results yielded highly increased levels of testosterone that were proven to be synthetic. “The fact that there’s two different tests raising two separate questions creates a significant hurdle and starts to be problematic for (Braun),” he told the New York Times.
The positive on Braun shook up baseball, which was beginning to feel good about itself in regards to cleaning up the game. That it happened to a “good guy” like Braunas opposed to a pariah-type like Manny Ramirezmade the finding all the more painful.
In the wake of all of this, many in the media are calling for Braun to be stripped of his MVP award; the Los Angeles Times did a partial sampling of voters and found that if the tally was to be retaken today, post-positive test, the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp would win. We’re going to assume that Braun will skip the BWAA dinner that honors the 2011 award winners on January 21 in New York.
Thanks For Coming, Now Here's Your Goodie Bag
Under the Influence of Sleep?
He Said What?
Now Playing at TGG
The Comebacker’s Greatest Hits
From the Arch to the Big A
All throughout 2011, baseball experts had asserted that Pujols’ next contract would surpass the annual wages of Alex Rodriguez and perhaps make him the first $30 million-a-year player. Until the Angels came along, Pujols wasn’t anywhere near that threshold, with the Cardinals and Miami Marlins both reportedly offering packages closer to $20 million a season over ten years, tops. In the end, Los Angeles of Anaheim gave him $254 million over the next decademeaning Pujols will still be paid through the age of 41.
While Pujols felt the love in Anaheimdrawing 4,200 fans to his introductory appearance at Angel Stadium (did you really think they were there for C.J. Wilson?), the mood back in St. Louis predictably hit the opposite end of the emotional spectrum. Nobody’s fools, Camp Pujols hired a security guard to look after the ten-foot sculpture the star hitter erected for himself outside his St. Louis restaurantwhere fans, like Pujols, can have their Angel cake and eat it, too.
We expected a public lynching upon Pujols from the cruel keyboards of the St. Louis media, but instead we got this collection of journalistic sighs:
“Albert Pujols is an Angel now, and it doesn’t make him the devil. Sorry, but I don’t have it in me to rage and rant against Pujols, the Angels or the Cardinals….We should have seen this coming, and not because Pujols is a bad guy. It’s just the reality of the business. With most athletes, it’s always about the money. And that’s fine. We should have stopped taking this stuff personally a long time ago.”Bernie Miklasz, St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
“This entire episode feels too much like a long, dragged-out bogus courtship. Imagine (Cardinal team chairman Bill) DeWitt, using his best inside voice and whispering in a windstormHey Albert…come…back’then shrugging his shoulders with a sheepish grin and telling us ‘I guess he didn’t hear me.’”Bryan Burwell, St. Louis Post-Dispatch.“(DeWitt) barely budged once the negotiations intensified at the Winter Meetings in Dallas. He knew his franchise could roll on without Albert, as painful as that concept is to many fans. Albert was never going to play forever. And in the nearer termfour, five, six years into his next contracthe wasn’t going to play like the Albert we saw during the first ten years of his career. He is a man, not the The Machine.” Jeff Gordon, St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The Devil's in the Details, Among Other Places
Turning His Back on Legacy
Where I Can Find Vern's Agent?
Welcome Mr. Santo, Wherever You Are
Santo’s case for Cooperstown has been one of the more argumentative in recent times. The less open-minded among usthose who go by the mantra that if you have to think whether a guy should be in the Hall of Fame, then he shouldn’tnever saw Santo as a no-doubt-about-it superstar worthy of the Hall without hesitation. But he did produce strong if not sensational numbers in a time (the 1960s) when they were hard to come by, and his glovework at third base was outstanding. We personally never would have given him the vote, but he’s in and we congratulate him. If only if he was alive to receive the thanks.
Also receiving recognition from the Hall was veteran TV analyst (and former catcher) Tim McCarver, selected into the broadcaster’s wing. His election guarantees one thing: In a year with a very weak ballot of candidates for the general Hall election, we’re assured of at least one good speech when McCarver steps atop the Cooperstown soapbox in July.
A Warning From Pittsburgh
TGG Goes to CafePress
Next Week on the Comebacker
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