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Friday, August 24, 2007

Are the O's Reading My Little Blog?

Guess what? Not two days after I commit space to it here, the Orioles announce Radhames Liz will make his major league debut Saturday night.

No corresponding move has been announced as Manager Trembley has to get through tonight's game. My guess: Rob Bell's back on the bus to Norfolk.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Really? 30-3? That's not a typo?

So I'm sitting in the Irish Times last night celebrating the Bottomfeeders second consecutive softball championship, when I glanced up at the tv on the wall and the ticket said: TEX 30 BAL 3 Final. "That can't be right" I said to everyone and no one and went to my cell phone to see what the real score was. Needless to say, my phone said the same thing. Absolutely incredible.

I'll give D-Cab and Brian Burress (B-Burr?) a pass as they have shown previous bouts of adequacy, although Burress is tenuous at best and D-Cab maddening. But what more evidence do the geniuses in the warehouse need that Rob Bell and Paul Shuey don't belong in the bigs anymore? Bell was cut by Tampa, for crying out loud, and Shuey's era now stands at 9.49 in 24.2 innings.

They gave Dave Trembley the extension for next year, an obvious tryout for a good baseball soldier. Good for him and good them. But with 5 1/2 weeks to go, dump Bell and Shuey and bring up Liz and newly signed Fernando Cabrera and let them learn how to get major leaguers out.

Monday, August 13, 2007

O's Take Two of Three at Fenway South

Over on Camden Chat, we've been having an exhaustive discussion about the embarrassing display at Camden Yards this weekend, amplified by Saturday's game being on national tv. If you happened to miss it, the O's set a three-game attendance record over the weekend, and the large majority of fannies in the seats belonged to the chowdah-loving, red and blue clad members of Red Sox Nation.

Don't get me wrong, I don't begrudge anyone from travelling and seeing their team on the road, or for wearing their colors in the opposing team's stadium. I'm the guy that wore my Caps jersey inside the old Spectrum for crying out loud. It's just that when the majority of those in attendance are for the other team, and the "Yous" for Kevin Youkilis are louder that the "Oh" in "Oh Say Can You See", you gotta draw the line.

So I guess this is my open letter to Orioles fans. If you still care about the Orioles, go to these games. Don't bother with Kansas City or Tampa Bay, but go to the games against Boston and New York. I know it's hard. I stopped going. But I was wrong. We were wrong.

Look, Angelos is going to get his money either way since these games sell out. So that excuse doesn't wash. If you want to hurt his pocketbook, don't eat or drink at the games. But still go. You heard Brian Roberts in the newspaper say it was embarrassing. You think that doesn't play on the mind of every potential free agent out there, and for that matter, the guys who will be free agents currently playing?

It's too late this year, but next year, when the tickets go on sale, that VERY FIRST DAY, buy tickets. Buy as many as you can afford. And then use them. Or give them to another O's fan. Or give them to a local school or church. But make sure they wear Orange.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

More Thoughts About the Home Run King

All we know about Barry Bonds is that he's hit 756 home runs in his career and is a seven time MVP. Well, that and the other statistics in the record books.

I might get skewered for saying this, but alot of what we "know" about Bonds' PED use is from an alleged leaked grand testimony transcript (anyone seen a copy?), hearsay, rumors and innuendo from a fired clubhouse attendant (his shoe size grew three sizes!), and comments about illegal money from a jilted alleged former lover who is now posing in nude in Playboy for a handsome sum of money.

I've never met the guy, but from what you can read and see of him on tv, Bonds appears to be a Class A jerk. He was a jerk when he was a skinny 23 year old and now when he's a bloated 40-something too gimpy to play the OF more than five innings. And we all can infer all we want from the "evidence" that has been presented in the media about his use of PEDs. Everyone is entitled to an OPINION of him, his accomplishments and his career.

But to say we know he did this and we know he did that is simply foolhardy. The only people that truly know are Bonds and whoever did whatever to him. And there is absolutely no hard evidence of that in the public record.

He has never tested positive under the MLB testing procedure. He hasn't been arrested or indicted for any of the allegations that have been bandied about. No one has come forward for a payday to say "I gave/sold Barry Bonds steroids." Nothing.

So please don't say "we know what he did", because we don't. We can only form opinions based on the evidence available publicly.

For the record, my opinion is that he's a cheat, a liar and a jerk. I just don't know that for a fact.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Bonds is Home Run Champ (for now)

Well, he finally did it. Bonds hit number 755 Saturday evening while much of the east coast was either asleep or out at a late movie, such as myself.

How does that make YOU feel? Personally, it makes me sad. Not that an alleged cheater is tied for the most beloved record in all of sport. Only Barry knows what he did, and he's the one that was to live with that. If he's clean or dirty, it's all on him.

What's sad to me is that there are probably hundreds of other players that have taken performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) in the hope of becoming the next Barry Bonds only to not succeed. And it's also sad that there are so many that wish it never happened, or won't acknowledge that it did.

Let's start by looking at the guys who have been caught so far under the MLB testing policy.

Rafael Palmeiro: He is clearly the most prolific of the players suspended for PEDs. He enjoyed a long and prosperous career. He posted 3000+ hits and 500+ home runs, one of only four players in history to do so, certain Hall of Fame numbers. He tested positive for a PED in the final year of his career, just weeks before gathering his 3000th hit. According to reports, the amount of stanozolol in his system when tested was just a trace. It should be noted that all of his previous tests were negative, and a test he took just three weeks after his positive test was also negative. Regardless, he remains the only All-Star player to test positive under MLB's steroids testing policy. Is this the type of player they wanted to catch? A multiple All-Star and future Hall of Famer? It would still not surprise me to learn there's more to this story that we simply haven't heard yet.

Alex Sanchez, Matt Lawton, Michael Morse and Jorge Piedra: Lawton was an All-Star twice in his 12 year career. Sanchez played with four team in five seasons, despite stealing 122 bases in those five years. Morse has played 93 games spread over two seasons and Piedra 142 games over three seasons. Morse and Piedra are AAAA players, jsut the type someone would theorize would benefit most from PEDs. They have talent enough to succeed in the minors, but not quite in the bigs. Unfortunately, the extra "effort" they took will cost them that opportunity, neither have an at bat in the bigs in 2007.

Juan Rincon, Rafael Betancourt, Ryan Franklin, Felix Heredia and Yusaku Iriki: Notice something similar about all these pitchers? They're all middle relievers, those guys on the fringe who didn't make it as starters and don't have that special thing that could make them closers. Again, if you think about it, exactly the type of guy that PEDs might be an attractive solution for. Heredia and Iriki aren't in the bigs, but Rincon, Betancourt and Franklin are all enjoying success this season after serving their time.

We all know Barry Bonds did steroids. We all know Gary Sheffield did them too. So did Jason and Jeremy Giambi. Jose Canseco. Ken Caminiti. Even Wally Joyner, who in July was hired to be San Diego's hitting coach. And lots of others. What bothers me, I guess, is some folks decrying the stats of these players, demanding asterisks and wiping out record books, etc., like they never happened. Well, they did happen. Bonds hit his homers against lefties and righties, all types of ethnicities, curveballs and screwballs, drunks and god-guys, spitballers and doctors, and steroids users and non-steroids users. Hit them all. Nobody has to like it. But it has to be acknowledged. He wasn't the only one cheating out there. A simple look at the list says as many pitchers have tested positive as hitters. That's all the evidence we have, and it's enough for me.