San Francisco Giants

Odds and Ends: What if no one signed Bonds next year?

Very nice… how much?

We’re trying to ignore it as much as we can but Barry Bonds is inching closer to Hank Aaron’s homerun record and he’ll likely break it next season if he decides to play. Well, today, the owner of the Giants said that he’s going to delay making a decision on Bonds until the end of the season. Now, it’s unlikely that the Giants won’t resign him if Brett Favre Barry Bonds wants back in but what if… what if the Giants didn’t resign hi and nobody else in the league stepped up. That’s one way to end his home run chase.

In other news…

[ebay]: ebay fun: dress worn by Jose Lima’s wife up for auction. “It is 13” across at the bust. Obviously, there is considerable stretch and give in this material.

[Deadspin]: Remember the SNL skit saying you could hire the Black Eyed Peas for your bar mitzvah? Dead on. Is there anything these guy won’t do for a buck?

[Railbird Central]: Hey look, a record crowd got to see how washed up Brett Favre is. (Yes, we realize that’s the second shot at Favre this post.)

[The Hater Nation]: Holy crap, Brenda Warner doesn’t look like a man anymore… sorta.

[There’s your Karma Ripe as Peaches]: Mrs. Manning is not doing her son Peyteypie any favors

MLB General

The Full Count: No No-No in Ninth

1. Close but not quite: No pitcher has recorded a no-hitter in more than two years, since Randy Johnson was perfect in May 2004. But a very unlikely pitcher came very close to the feat yesterday. It was the Nationals’ Ramon Ortiz, who took a no-no into the ninth inning against the Cardinals. But it was broken up by an Aaron Miles leadoff single, and then by an Albert Pujols homerun (43). So perfection dodged yet another pitcher yesterday, and in the end this is just an insignificant last place over first place win for the Nats.

2. Back and forth: At one point in the season the Minnesota Twins weren’t even near the playoff picture. But now the Twins and the White Sox are trading around the Wild Card lead almost daily. Now the lead is in the hands on the Twins, who defeated the Devil Rays 2-1 yesterday. It was their 13th straight win against Tampa. Chicago is now right behind after a narrow 3-2 loss to the Red Sox, who witnessed the return of many key players yesterday. With Manny Ramirez, Trot Nixon, and Jason Varitek back in the lineup, the Sox defeated the Sox in extras. Chicago did see another great start by Jon Garland, who is 8-1 with a 2.83 ERA since the All Star break. Minnesota and Chicago won’t play each other again until the last series of the season, at the Metrodome.

3. Barry’s back: Barry Bonds had yet to catch his usual form this year, which could be his last as a Giant. But now he is in the groove like he was from 2001-2004, and he is hitting homeruns like there’s no tomorrow. Bonds went deep for the third straight game yesterday, helping the Giants to a 5-4 win in Cincy. In his last six games Bonds has 5 homers, 7 RBIs, and is slugging a preposterous 1.412. He’s only 25 back of Aaron now with 730 career homeruns. When will he catch him? Sometime next summer, if he plays.

4. Pitching=success: The Los Angeles Angels have remained in the playoff hunt, and it’s not because of their offense. It’s their pitching staff that’s carried them this season, like yesterday when they defeated the Orioles 1-0. Jered Weaver returned to form after two straight losses with 7 shutout innings. Then Francisco Rodriguez, also known as K-Rod, shut the door for his 39th save of the season. That ties him with Bobby Jenks for the major-league lead, and Rodriguez remains the most underrated closer in baseball. At age 24 he has 98 career saves and a 2.32 career ERA, including a 1.82 mark this year. The Angels are now 6.5 back of the A’s in the AL West even though they have won 3 straight. Their staff will need to carry them if they want to make the postseason again.

5. To return or not to return: The Twins, already leading the WC as mentioned before, could get a boost by the middle of the month. Francisco Liriano threw 78 pitches in a bullpen session yesterday, and said that he felt great. He will throw in batting practice on Wednesday and could return before mid-September. With their other injured starter, Brad Radke, there is more questions. Radke, who hasn’t thrown since August 25, has a stress fracture in his right shoulder. The doctors have told him not to pitch for a few weeks as he recovers, though no specific return date has been announced.

MLB General

The Full Count: the Red Sox’s instant replay

1. Two days, two identical wins: The Boston Red Sox have won two games in a row in eerily similar fashions. Both yesterday’s and Tuesday’s game resulted in 1-0 wins over the Kansas City Royals. Jonathan Papelbon came on to save both games, and a Sox starter went 8 strong in each. The only difference was that the Royals collected four times the amount of hits in last night’s game than the previous one. Of course, that’s still just 4 hits. Josh Beckett won his 12th game of the year to move him into a tie with Roy Halladay for most in the majors. Despite his excellent record Beckett has somewhat struggled this year with a 4.78 ERA. He is consistently inconsistent; the type of player who will follow up 5 straight quality starts with 7 earned runs. For the signing of Beckett to pay off, he’ll have to pitch like he did last night more often.

2. 325-game winner, meet 342-game winner: It was a pitching matchup for the ages when Roger Clemens met Greg Maddux yesterday. And I mean this literally. They are a combined 83 years old. Anyway, they are two of the greatest pitchers of all time, and they are the two active leaders on the career wins list. Clemens got the better of this historic duel, winning his 343rd career game with 6 shutout innings. Maddux, who only has two wins since April, took the loss with 3 earned runs in 7 innings. Craig Biggio homered for the visiting Astros, who are still three games under .500. The Cubs would love to trade places, however, as they are 16.5 games back of the division-leading Cardinals and are in serious danger of being passed by the lowly Pirates.

3. Stop streaking, Part I: The pathetic Indians, who are 10 games under .500 despite having outscored their opponents by 34 runs on the year, had apparently had enough of two Angels streaks. They stopped John Lackey’s scoreless streak at 30.2 innings, and they also managed to stop the Angels’ win streak at 8. Lackey allowed a run for the first time in 4 starts. He had lowered his ERA to 2.69 (good for second in the AL), but allowed 5 runs to the Indians. Ben Broussard and Aaron Boone (remember him?) homered for Cleveland, who snapped a 5-game losing streak of their own. In the chaotic AL West, the Angels’ loss moved them from almost in first to third place. They are still only 1.5 back.

4. Stop streaking, Part II: The Braves were going for an all-time record, 6 games in a row with a double-digit run total. The record was 76 years old and held by a classic Yankee team, and the underachieving-until-now Braves offense was looking to break it. But the Cardinals’ best pitcher, Chris Carpenter, managed to cool off the Braves as St. Louis won 8-3. Carpenter pitched 7 innings to earn his ninth win of the season, as first-time Braves starter Jason Shiell took the loss. But the Cardinals couldn’t stop every Brave. Brian McCann homered for the 5th straight game, and red-hot Andruw Jones and Adam LaRoche both drove in runs. The Cardinals are 3.5 games ahead of the Reds in their division, while the Braves are 5 games back of the Reds for the Wild Card.

5. Bonds’ trainer to be set free: The personal trainer who was sent to jail earlier this month for refusing to testify for a grand jury is expected to be released today. Greg Anderson is the key to the perjury charges against Bonds so his lack of cooperation could mean that Bonds will only be indicted on tax evasion charges.

San Francisco Giants

Bonds could get suspended

According to the Washington Post, Bud Selig is considering suspending Barry Bonds should he get indicted next week by the federal grand jury for tax evasion, money laundering and perjury charges.

Being indicted doesn’t mean you’re guilty but come on.. this is Bonds. The whole third stage of his career practically reeks of guilty. Steroids? Guilty. Tax evasion? Probably guilty. Money laundering? Probably guilty. Perjury charges? Guilty. Being an asshole? Guilty.

There’s no precedent for Bud Selig suspending Bonds for an indictment and former commissioner Fay Vincent doesn’t think any suspension would stick. However, some say this might just be a ploy by the league office to get Bonds to leave the game on his own accord. If Bonds says he won’t be back next season (and therefore not threaten Hank Aaron’s record), the talk of suspending him will just magically disappear.

They really should have called his reality show “Everybody Hates Barry”.

[MSNBC]: MLB might suspend Bonds if he’s indicted

[International Herald Tribune]: Bonds snaps back as legal case nears

NBA General

Odds and Ends (07.13.06): the 720 degree dunk video

Enough people have sent us the 720 degree dunk link that we kinda feel we should post it even though it’s a little late. So here you go. Enjoy as you go “ooooooh”.

In other news…

[New York Times]: The real story here is that Barry Bonds had any friends to begin with

[Steeler Blog]: Roethlisberger was Seconds from Death

[NY Post]: This is why everyone hates the NY Media

[Baltimore Sun]: Barbaro’s chances for recovery from ‘catastrophic’ laminitis slim

[SF Gate]: Materazzi says that son of a dirty terrorist whore deserved Golden Ball

[TrojanWire]: Brian Cushing: lay off the damn twinkees

MLB General

Pedro Gomez is free!

Lost in all the Barry Bonds 715 hoopla is the fact that the long suffering Pedro Gomez has been freed by his corporate dark lord ESPN from his daily Bonds beat. For two years, Pedro has been forced to cover the biggest jerk in sports. But now that Bonds on Bonds is a complete failure and ESPN is no longer following Bonds’ every at bat with as much fervor, Pedro has been set free.

Gomez, who’s had to stick to Bonds closer than the stench of skank does to Paris Hilton, said his relationship with Bonds was “very hot and cold” and that Bonds has “a prickly personality”.

Was Bonds openly disrespectful toward him? “I think so,” Gomez said. “At Dodger Stadium this year, I asked, `Are you not speaking because you don’t want to, or your lawyer has advised you not to?’

To which Bonds responded: “Pedro, you’re weird. You have issues.”

Recalling the exchange, Gomez said, “I had to bite my tongue. The thing I wanted to say was, `I have issues?!?’ But you can’t become the story.”

All this week, we’ve been told that Barry Bonds is a new guy and he’s starting to enjoy the game much more and appreciates what God has given him. Good ol’ smiling Barry. He loves the fans, he really does. Don’t you believe it for a second. “Prickly personality?” We would just go with prick.

[Miami Herald]: On Sports Media

MLB General

Full Count for Thurs May 25 2006: Bonds on Bonds cancelled

1. Bailed on by his best friends: Barry Bonds is probably more widely hated than any other athlete. But even he didn’t know it could get this bad–his best friend, ESPN, cancelled his reality show “Bonds on Bonds.” Producer Mike Tolin said it’s about performance. “If Barry was hitting homeruns at Albert Pujols’ pace, then we would continue. Also, there is some fan fatigue.” The latter has been caused by more Bonds-related material on ESPN than any human being could possibly handle. Every Bonds at-bat is aired live on the network, and on nearly every edition of “Sportscenter” there is talk about Barry. By the way, for the few people out there who actually watch the show, it might come back during the All-Star break or for a regular season wrap-up.

2. Fading in May: Greg Maddux was magnificent in his first five starts, starting out the year 5-0 with 1.35 ERA. But in his last five starts he has looked like the 40-year-old he is, going 0-4 and increasing his ERA to a pedestrian 4.28. One of those poor starts came last night against the Marlins, when Maddux allowed 6 runs in as many innings. Miguel Cabrera did most of the damage, going 2-2 with a 3-run homer and RBI double. The 9-3 victory by the Marlins completed a sweep of the Cubs, who should definitely be embarrassed. By the way, last night’s game drew only 7720 people to Dolphin Stadium. Please move this team or build a new stadium, Marlins owners. This is as bad as the Devil Rays a couple years back.

3. C stands for Complete: CC Sabathia started out the year on the DL, but Indians fans are clearly glad to have him back. Last night the ace won again in complete game fashion over the reeling Twins. It was his second straight complete game, and he is 4-1 with a 1.52 ERA. The Indians offense also excelled against Minnesota, crushing 11 runs off of Brad Radke and others. Travis Hafner and Victor Martinez each drove in 2 runs, and Casey Blake led them all with 4 RBIs. Though the Indians are way out of the AL Central lead, at least they are back to .500 on the year.

4. Back in action: Last year Andruw Jones was the MLB home run champion with 51, though this year he has semi-struggled in that department. In fact, Jones hadn’t homered since May 3 until last night, when he hit two blasts off of Padres starter Chris Young. Edgar Renteria also went yard for Atlanta, who beat the Padres 10-6 to move into a tie for second in the NL East. San Diego, though their record (24-23) is identical to Atlanta’s, is tied for last in the surprisingly tough NL West.

5. The Wright Stuff: David Wright is on a tear for the New York Mets, who beat the struggling Phillies 5-4 last night. Wright homered for his third straight game and drove in two. Carlos Beltran also hit it out, for his 13th time of the season. First time Mets pitcher Alay Soler allowed three first-inning runs but then settled down, shutting out the Phils over the next five innings. The Mets improved to 28-17 on the year, five games ahead of both the Phillies and Braves.

MLB General

Full Count for Tues May 16 2006: Half Empty or Half Full

Property of Boston Red Sox

1. It’s not that bad: The Braves’ situation isn’t as bad as it was a few weeks ago. After defeating the Marlins last night, they improved to 18-20 on the season. They are 6-2 in May, and are only 5.5 games out of the division lead. Last night, they put on an offensive showcase in a 11-8 win over the Marlins. Brian McCann, the Braves’ vastly underrated catcher, drove in five runs and hit his 5th homer. McCann is leading the NL in batting average with .352 on the season. Andruw Jones also was excellent, going 4-4 with 4 RBIs. The Braves are taking advantage of a 10 game stretch against lowly Washington and Florida.

2. It is that bad: The Orioles, expected by many to finish last in the AL East, have surprised many this season by going 18-21 so far. Actually, their record would be a lot better had they not played the Red Sox so many times. They have lost all of their 7 games against the Sox this year, and dating back to last year the streak is 12 games. Nothing changed last night, as Boston soared to a 11-1 romp. Josh Beckett pitched excellently, with a 2-hitter through 7 innings on his 26th birthday. Jason Varitek scored a career-high 4 runs, and Willy Mo Pena homered and drove in 3. The Sox, at 22-14, have a one-game lead in the East.

3. Stuck on you: We haven’t written about Barry Bonds in a while here at Full Count, and that’s because he hasn’t done anything. Last night, he continued his homerless streak in the Giants’ 10-1 blowout over the Astros. Bonds did hit an RBI double, but he failed to go yard for his seventh straight game. The pressure of getting the next one (and another) homers is weighing on Barry. Before, Bonds spoke of the “ghost of Babe Ruth” hovering around.

4. Inner City Rivalries: Interleague play starts this week for some teams, and there are definitely some interesting matchups to look forward to. The Yankees and Mets play at Shea, which could prove to be one of the more intense series of the regular season. The White Sox host the Cubs, which might look intriguing on paper but will likely be a blowout. On Sunday, Carlos Zambrano and Jose Contreras face off in a guaranteed pitcher’s duel. And, in what is inferably considered an inter-town rivalry based on the name change, the Dodgers and Angels play. There are also multiple interstate rivalries which are less interesting. St. Louis travels to Kansas City, San Francisco to Oakland, Texas to Houston, Baltimore to Washington, and Florida vs. Tampa Bay (which will easily be the least-attended series of all time). Atlanta and Arizona are the teams left out of interleague play this time around, though the Hudson vs. Webb matchup on Sunday could be worth watching.

5. This is where the pot goes: Freddie Garcia’s tokin’ in the offseason hasn’t affected his game. Last night, he won his sixth game in a row, allowing 3 runs on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings. That’s good enough to lead the league in wins. Let’s hope little leaguers don’t take notice of his training habits.

MLB General

Odds and Ends for Wed May 10 2006: Game of Shadows authors could face jail time

Lucky Jake

The two guys who wrote Game of Shadows, Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada, could face jail time if they don’t fess up to their sources. Of course, this is a time honored tradition of journalists refusing to name sources and courts threatening them with contempt… blah blah blah. In the end, the journalists and first amendment rights usually win out.

In other news…

[SignOnSanDiego]: Pink bats for mothers day. How sweet.

[US Weekly]: Another snowboarding medalist lands a celeb. This time, Gretchen Bleiler and Jessica Alba. Oh wait, that’s just a fantasy. It’s Gretchen and that Brokeback guy.

[Screwballs!]: Billy Wagner makes more friends in Philly

[The Hater Nation]: Phil Mickelson really should be the spokesperson for Victoria’s Secret sports bras

[Lakers Blog]: Kobe vs Sir Charles in text message wars

MLB General

Full Count for Mon May 8 2006: Babe hears you knocking


1. Bonds blasts no. 713: Barry Bonds always has a knack for hitting homeruns in dramatic situations. So it wasn’t surprising when he hit his 713th career homerun on Sunday Night Baseball against the Phillies. His round tripper–in the sixth inning off Jon Leiber–traveled an estimated 450 feet to left and nearly went into the upper deck at Citizens Bank Park. This was one of many Bonds shots when you could tell it was gone the moment it left his bat, and it left him only one homerun away from tying Ruth on the all-time list. Of course, Bonds being Bonds, refused to sign the ball for the Air Force serviceman who caught it. Number 714 could come on the Giants’ upcoming homestand, in which they play Houston, Chicago, and Los Angeles over the next week.

2. Just what they needed: The Atlanta Braves have been struggling lately to say the least. After losing divisional series to New York and Philadelphia last week, they fell to nine games off the Mets’ pace coming into Sunday. But in their last game in the series against the Mets, they ran over the first place team like an 18-wheeler crushing a Kia. Mets pitchers Jose Lima and Bartolome Fortunato combined to allow all 13 of the Braves runs in the loss, including Fortunato’s 8 in only 1.1 innings. Every player in the Braves lineup contributed, with Jeff Francoeur and Brian Jordan hitting homers and John Smoltz even knocking in 2 runs. Smoltz pitched well too, striking out 8 in 6 innings. The Braves’ 13-3 domination proved that they could still defeat the Mets (many have been doubting), but they are still 8 games back of their heated rivals. While the Mets play Philadelphia next week, the Braves play the divisional weaklings in Washington and Florida.

3. Back in form: Johan Santana, after struggling through his first three starts, now appears to be in his top form. The ace won for his third start in a row against the Tigers, and even took a no-hitter into the 7th inning. He eventually allowed four hits–and two runs–but Santana proved that he can still be the dominating starter that he was in ’04 and ’05. Mike Maroth, the Tigers’ surprising new ace, was hit with the loss after allowing four runs through five innings. The Twins won the series over the second-place Tigers, but they are still 9 games back from the White Sox for the division lead.

4. THE Yankees win (for the 1,000th time): The Yanks completed a series sweep of the Rangers on Sunday, and gave Joe Torre his 1,000th win as manager of the Bronx Bombers. This places Torre fourth on the list of all-time Yankees managers, and it pushes him closer to 2,000 overall wins as a manger (combined with stints in Atlanta, St. Louis, and the Mets, Torre has 1894 wins). Torre’s team breezed through the Rangers 8-5 behind Hideki Matsui’s fifth homer of the year and Chien-Ming Wang’s excellent pitching. They are tied with the Red Sox for first place at 18-11.

5. Pitching problems: Many pitchers were injured over the weekend. The Mets’ Victor Zambrano is out for the season after tearing a tendon in his elbow. This led to bringing up Jose Lima from minors, who didn’t do too well in his first start. Elsewhere, Cardinals pitcher Sidney Ponson left the game against Florida because of problems in his elbow. The Cards still completed a sweep of the Marlins. Also, Ben Sheets, Milwaukee’s ace, missed his scheduled start against LA because of shoulder stiffness. Man, what is going on with these pitchers?