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Off Base
This is No Time to Panic

April 8, 2006

Now is really not the time to panic. Panic might be appropriate at some time in the not too distant future, but this really isn’t the time. I promise to give you a heads up when it’s time to panic.

No, I’m not talking about Eric Gagne going under the knife again. You can panic about that if you want to. By all means, panic away.

I’m talking about Barry Bonds usurping the home run throne from Henry Aaron, the prospect of which horrifies baseball purists more than wild cards, designated hitters and interleague play piled one on top of the other. Like, maybe even scarier than the giant, enemy of James Whitmore ants in “Them.”

At this writing, Barry Bonds has exactly zero home runs in 2006. That’s zero, as in zip, zilch, nada. Maybe by the time you read this column, he’ll have one, two at the outside. BFD. Can we all just get a grip here, please?

Sure, Bonds will probably nudge his eight little balls over the fence and pass Babe Ruth at 715, and yes, it’s a crying shame. It’s a sham, in fact. It’s a mockery. It’s a mockery of a sham. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

But look, you can live with 715, OK. You can. 715 is a record held by Henry Aaron for what, about a week? Barry Bonds at 715 is not the end of civilization as we know it. Babe Ruth will not roll over in his grave and neither will you.

755 is the magic number. 755. Beautiful, remarkable 755. And it’s no gimme.

It’s assumed that Bonds has 48 long balls left in him, like 48 is a thimble full of homers or something. 48 isn’t a thimble full of homers. 48 is a lot of homers. It’s two years worth of homers for a 42 year-old guy, playing part time, on bad knees, in cold weather, who gets intentionally passed twice a night. It’s two years, a new contract, maybe a new league, a bleepload of Ace bandages, probably some quality DL time, and perhaps a court date or two.

Plus, remember, if you believe his most recent press clippings, which you do, for at least six years, Bonds was racking up his most ungodly numbers the old fashioned way…by not earning it. Now he has to.

755 is no gimme. Let’s all just take a deep breath. OK, hold it, now exhale. The world won’t end. Baseball won’t sink into the sea or be eaten by giant ants. Let’s not panic. Let’s at least not panic until I give the order to panic. In the case of a genuine reason to panic, the order to panic will be preceded by an order to prepare to panic, so look for an order to prepare to panic first…

Listening to a recollection of the Carlton Fisk-Deion Sanders 1990 affair on Jim Rome the other day, I remembered reading Roger Angell’s employment of the term, “Ibsenian,” to describe the confrontation in a New Yorker piece that summer.

So I’m thinking, “OK, Ibsenian, Ibsen, Ebsen, probably a typo, has something to do with Barnaby Jones.” Rather than go with that, I asked my multi-degreed mother, who dusted off an old book of plays by Henrik Ibsen for me to check out, two of which I actually read. “A Doll’s House” and “The Master Builder.” And I got it. Makes complete sense. Carlton Fisk and Deion Sanders had a discussion at home plate, which as everyone now knows, was evocative of Ibsen…

Did You Know: Sanders’ career high in RBIs was 28, and he accomplished the feat four times. Not only that, Deion was a double-figures RBI man five other times in his career, and finished with 168. “Deion Sanders Numbers.” I believe that’s what they call it. When Fisk’s lifetime RBI total stood at 168, he had 21 years of career left to play…

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It is me or is the Masters a thousand times better with the sound turned down?

Minutes after news of Nomar Garciaparra’s skin tag accident broke, Dodgers Yahoo groups were jammed with chants of “Hee Seop Choi, Hee Seop Choi, Hee Seop Choi!!!” You know what it is? I think I’ve finally put my finger on the Hee Seop Choi phenomenon.

It’s like, Choi’s followers are so hypnotized by the VORP, OPS, Paul DePodesta line of BS, it’s gotten to the point where it almost doesn’t matter that if you actually watch the man play, I mean, actually watch him play, instead of focusing on interpretations of numbers which have no basis in reality, you really can’t help but notice that the guy isn’t a very good baseball player. Choi’s fans think of him sort of like he’s their pet, and they simply must love him even if the rest of the world won’t...

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Statue for Sandy Reset: If you’re new to this publication, here’s the deal. BaseballSavvy.com and renowned sports sculptor Malcolm B.DeMille co-sponsor the “Statue for Sandy Koufax” e-petition, a public proclamation to encourage the commissioning of a monument to Mr. Koufax at Dodger Stadium. A “Sandy in Bronze,” if you will.

We started collecting names about a week after the McCourts purchased the club from Fox, which seemed like the right time, since we weren’t sure Fox had heard of Sandy Koufax.

The campaign includes what we believe is a rather unique way to involve Sandy’s fans and the community in the effort, while at the same time raising funds for both the statue and charity. We’ll lay the plan on the Dodgers whenever they’re up for listening.

Dodger Stadium is in the midst of a very public, several-year upgrade. We think a statue of Sandy Koufax is as natural to any Dodger Blueprint as palm trees and “purple mountains majesty,” as Vinny would say.

This is the year. We’re going for it. We’re going to create a serious buzz. Please Vote Yes on 32 .” And please tell a friend…

Talkback: Your comments are always encouraged.

Uh Oh: Former Giants Dave Burba and Michael Tucker have been recently released by their respective clubs and are now free to join Ned Colletti in Los Angeles…

Remember, glove conquers all….



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