MLB General

Full Count for May 5 2006: Brotherly love for Bonds

1. Welcome to Philadelphia, enjoy the boos: Barry Bonds heads into Philly for a three game stay and if the only thing that hits him in that giant noggin of his is an errant baseball, he’ll be relatively lucky. As Ashley Fox puts it in the Philly Inquirer, “No matter what the Phillies do for security, or how many undercover cops are in the stands, or how many uncomplimentary signs are confiscated, someone is going to do something stupid.” Remember, Philly fans, we want clever, not stupid. Calling Bonds a steroided up freak is obvious. Throwing a syringe onto the field was clever. Now, we expect you to step it up and do something even better. May we suggest a huge paper mache Bonds head with planets revolving around it?

2. Can anybody stop these guys?: With their 4-1 win over the Mariners, the White Sox improved to 20-8 on the year. They became the first AL team to reach the 20-win mark, and look even more unstoppable than they were last year, when they won the World Series. Jose Contreras improved to 5-0 on the year, and dating back to last year he has won 13 in a row. Jim Thome’s 3-run homer provided most of the offense for the White Sox, and was his 11th shot of the year.

3. Big Unit gets ripped and still wins: Randy Johnson has probably had the best luck of any pitcher in the majors this year. Despite an ERA over 5, he is 5-2 on the season. On Thursday, he allowed 5 runs to the Devil Rays, but the Yanks still won the game. The Yankees were powered by homers from Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon on offense, and the bullpen was almost perfect in the win. New York remained in first place at 15-11, while the Devil Rays are at 11-18.

4. Winning away from home: The Royals, who have the worst record in the majors at 6-20, came into Thursday’s game against the Twins with an 0-13 road record. This tied them with the 1969 Astros and 1988 Orioles for the worst road record ever to start a season. After they edged the Twins 1-0 in Minnesota, the streak is now over. Four Royals pitchers combined to allow only 5 hits in the game, and Paul Bako hit an RBI single to provide the only score of the night.

5. Not used to being here: The Braves, after 14 straight division titles, are accustomed to being in first place in the NL East. After they lost to the Phillies last night 6-3, they dropped to third place, ahead of only the pitiful Marlins and Nationals. The Phillies completed a sweep of the Braves and won their 5th straight game. At 14-14, they only trail the Mets in the division. Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins had homers for the Phillies on the night.

San Francisco Giants

Going to get a beer every time Bonds is at bat

CBP during Barry’s 715th homer

A few years ago, figuring out when Bonds was going to hit another 2 to 3 homers was pretty easy — just give him about a week. Well, he’s now 2 away from tying Ruth’s record and 3 from breaking it, and there’s a 3 game series at Philly over the weekend. He could do it in Philly or it could take him the rest of this month to jack up another 3. But unless he’s in the friendly confines or Willie Mays Park, there’s no telling the reaction he’ll get.

Philly is probably the last place you’d want to break the record if you were Bonds. Not only would you not get any cheers, you’d get roundly booed. Or, if some people get their way, you could hear a pin drop. Yes, some folks are saying that every time Bonds gets up to bat, the entire stadium should make a concession run. Theoretically, you’d have to start the mass exodus during Steve Finley’s at-bat. But you’re smart folks, you’ll figure it out.

If you truly think Bonds cheated and he doesn’t deserve to beat Ruth on the home run list, a deafening silence is more effective than any vitriol you can hurl Barry’s way. Hell, Barry loves being hated. If the stands were completely empty, Barry just might just curl up in a fetal position and cry. And that makes this potentially the most brilliant idea ever in protest. It would certainly make history.

Or, alternately, just start throwing feces onto the field.

Lidle: Bonds’ chase not ‘legitimate’
[Yahoo]: San Francisco Giants May Schedule

General Sports

Odds and Ends for Thur Apr 27 2006: The most whipped athletes

Maxim has named the 5 most whipped athletes in professional sports. These are the guys whose wives make more headlines than they do for controlling their careers or basically just saying too much in the press. To no one’s surprise, Doug Christie made the top of the list, followed by Kris Benson, Nick Harper, Antonio Davis, and Kurt Warner. The Nick Harper listing is a little harsh. The guy can’t help it if his wife is pyscho, stabbed him in the leg, and cost the Colts a playoff game.

In other news…

[Sydney Morning Herald]: Quick! Someone call and tell them Barry Bonds is doping.

[Fox Sports]: USC backup QB suspended after being charged with sexual assault.

[Twin]: Onterrio “Whizzinator” Smith is released by the Vikings

[Yahoo]: This is why the media sucks. Must Favre get credit for everything?

[Off Wing Opinion]: Family who bought the St. Louis Blues in 1999 have lost $200M on their investment.

Real Odd of the Day: 3 to 1 that Colin Finnerty will be found guilty in Duke lacrosse trial.

MLB General

Full Count for Thur Apr 27 2006: Babe-3

Getting ready to roll over

1. 7-11 closes at 11: It looks like Barry Bonds is trying to prove everyone wrong who said that he couldn’t play at a high level anymore. The former MVP (and steroid user) bashed his third homerun of the season on Wednesday, giving him 711 on his career. This was his second round-tripper in his last two games, and it left Bonds only 3 shy of Babe Ruth on the all-time home run list. However, the Giants lost to the Mets in a high-scoring 11 inning game. Carlos Delgado homered for New York in their 9-7 edging of San Francisco.

2. “There’s a first time for everything”: Those were the words of Ben Sheets after the Brewers swept the Braves for their first time in franchise history. Sheets achieved his first win of the season, striking out 9 in six innings of work. Derrick Turnbow picked up his eighth save of the year, and his 3rd of the 3-game series. Jorge Sosa, who was one of the best pitchers on the Braves’ staff last season, lost the game to decrease his record to 0-4. The four losses are more than he had all last season. The Braves dropped to 9-12, five games back of the Mets in the NL East. The Brewers are now 12-10.

3. 6 up, 6 out: Kevin Mench wasn’t expected to carry the Rangers with his bat this season. Mark Teixeria and Hank Blalock were supposed to be the power hitters for the Rangers. But after yesterday, Mench is leading the team in RBIs and is second in homeruns. His 6 game in a row with a homer set a new Texas Rangers record, and all of his 20 RBIs have come in the last 7 days. However, thanks to another blown save by Francisco Cordero, Oakland defeated Texas 6-4 in 10 innings. Cordero’s 5th blown save set a major league record for the month of April, and Cordero’s ERA ballooned to a pitiful 11.70. Both teams trail the LA Angels in the AL West.

4. They are Lackey-ing some runs: Remember when the Detroit Tigers were the hottest offensive team in the majors? Chris Shelton was hailed as the Next Big Thing, and the Tigers were the talk of the major leagues. Shelton and the rest of the team have stumbled recently on offense, and that was showcased in their 4-0 loss to the Angels. John Lackey shut them down, with only 1 hit allowed over 8 innings. His ERA dropped over a point to 3.09, and he recorded 8 strikeouts as well. Vladimir Guerrero provided some offense for LA, with his 5th homerun of the season. Tigers pitcher Mike Maroth came into the game with an unbelievable .49 ERA, but after four earned runs it rose to 1.85.

5. The Royals don’t even have to deal with this: It’s not like the Tampa Bay Devil Rays needed any more problems to deal with. They already had more rebuilding to do than Bill Parcells’ wardrobe designer. But now, one of their top minor league prospects is getting himself into behavioral issues. Delmon Young, a former #1 overall draft selection and minor league player of the year, was ejected for throwing a bat at an umpire after striking out. Behavior like this belongs in Little League, not a professional organization. Young should be fined and further punished for his actions. We almost feel sorry for the Devil Rays.

MLB General

Full Count for April 26 2006: Barry inches closer

1. Bonds on Babe: Barry Bonds is now only 4 homeruns behind the one and only Babe Ruth after his shot Tuesday night. Bonds took a pitch from Steve Trachsel into left field and even received chants of “Barry! Barry!” from the home crowd. His second home run on the season turned out to be the only San Francisco run in their 4-1 loss against the Mets. Xavier Nady and Cliff Floyd both homered for the 13-7 Mets, and Floyd’s shot reached McCovey Cove.

2. 14 innings, 14 wins: The Astros NL-leading 14th win of the season was much harder to obtain than their previous 13. Though they lead through 8 innings thanks to Preston Wilson’s run and RBI, Brad Lidge blew his second straight save for Houston, sending the game into extras. Of course, extra innings are nothing unusual at Minute Maid Park, as two playoff games there last year went at least 14 innings. Anyway, Preston Wilson proved to be the hero, with a 14th-inning sacrifice fly to end the game. The game lasted 4:41.

3. A new trend has started: On Monday night, Nomar Garciaparra hit a game winning grand slam in his second game off the DL. Last night, in his first game off the DL, Atlanta’s Chipper Jones hit a 2-run homer against the Brewers. However, those proved to be the Braves only runs of the night in a 4-2 loss. Geoff Jenkins homered for the host Brewers, and Prince Fielder hit a go-ahead RBI in the 6th inning. The Braves fell to 9-11, four games behind the division-leading Mets. The two teams will play at Turner Field over the weekend.

4. A baseball shootout: In a matchup of two of the best offenses in the majors, the Red Sox prevailed over the Indians by a score of 8-6. The Indians had a 4-2 lead after 3 innings thanks to Travis Hafner’s RBI double. But the Red Sox big bats proved to be too much, as both David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez homered. Ramirez’s 3-run blast in the 8th gave Boston a lead they wouldn’t give up. Curt Shilling was hit with his first non-win of the season, with 5 allowed in 6 innings. Keith Foulke was the one who picked up the win, and Jonathan Papelbon got the save.

5. Show us the money!: Minor league umpires have begun a strike, and major league umpires are protesting with them. These umpires are upset because AAA umps only make around $15,000 a year, while major league umpires make from $92,000 to $375,000, according to USA The strike, which began March 24, has resulted in college and some high school umpires calling minor league games.

San Francisco Giants

Barry will pass Ruth but not Hank Aaron

Steroids give you psychic abilities

It seems that Barry is giving Bud Selig and George Mitchell’s “independent” investigation a way to save face. In an interview with on Sunday, Bonds said that doesn’t think he can catch Hank Aaron because of his deteriorating knees.

Bonds will posture that he’s chasing Aaron and not Ruth but it is clear that Ruth is his target. By passing Babe Ruth but not Hank Aaron, there won’t be as much of an uproar over Bonds’ place on the all time HR list because he won’t be at the top of it. Over the weekend, Bonds hit his first HR of the season, putting him just 6 shy of breaking the Babe’s mark. Most people have already assumed he would pass Ruth’s record at some point this season so that 715th jack will get plenty of time on Sportscenter but register a collective shrug from baseball fans. Yes, there will be plenty of boos but there won’t be the protests and petitions to put an asterisk next to Bonds’ name like there would be if he got to 756.

Perhaps Barry can’t take the abuse anymore. We wonder how he could have put up with this much. This year, he’s already had a syringe (sans needle) and a tube of Icy Hot thrown at him, not to mention the banners and signs at every game. He knows he has to get through this year so that the hecklers won’t get the satisfaction of driving him from the game but there is no real incentive to go through another off season of speculation and another season of knee pain, ridicule and scrutiny just to be on top of a list that, if he were to get to reach the pinnacle of, might very well render the list inconsequential.

Plus, getting out of baseball and disappearing from view (anyone see Mark McGwire lately?) might just get the feds off his back about that pesky perjury charge.

[]: Bonds: Passing Aaron not likely
[SFGate]: Jeers, not cheers for man who would be king of swat
[Cincinnati Post]: Bonds pays for sins of baseball