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Off Base
The Meaning of 714

May 12, 2006

Barry Bonds is going to pass Babe Ruth. Not in name, but in number.

And it’s just as well that he does it quickly, stopping on 714 for as little as a single turn around the batting order. Better Bonds gets stuck on 716 or 717 than share 714 with the Babe any longer than is absolutely necessary.

Either way, Babe Ruth will always be remembered for the number 714. 714 is Babe Ruth. And so is .343 for that matter. Just like 755 is Henry Aaron, 573 is Harmon Killebrew and 536 is Mickey Mantle. No matter who eclipses them or in what manner they are eclipsed, these are special, beautiful, stand-alone baseball numbers.

The number 2130 is for Lou Gehrig, always. Always. Cal Ripken has his 2632 and that’s great, wonderful; incomprehensible in fact, but 2130 still stands for all history, as Lou Gehrig’s. You might say, Gehrig equals 2130.

Pete Rose managed a few more base hits, but Ty Cobb and 4191 still go together.

Though Nolan Ryan fanned another hitter, Sandy Koufax still has his 382 strikeouts. Shoot, I remember when Ryan, Steve Cartlon and Tom Seaver were jockeying for the first crack at Walter Johnson’s lifetime strikeout mark. Eight men have passed him by, but "The Big Train" and 3509 are still one.

Barry Bonds will be remembered for a lot of things, but the number 714 is not one of them. Not really…

Jackass of the Week: Jeff Borris. He’s Bonds’ agent, which is reason enough most times, but this particular week Borris said of Bonds in Newsday: “I wouldn't rule out DH as a possibility. In fact, if he were a DH, I think 1,000 home runs would be within his grasp.”

Talkback: Your comments are always encouraged.

The Dish on Odalis: There’s nothing going on with Odalis Perez that the Dodgers haven’t seen buckets of balls worth of before. And Jim Tracy can say “I told you so.”

When Perez became a free agent after the 2004 season, Tracy warned Paul DePodesta and Frank McCourt that Perez would surely go on “vacation” at some point during every season of his next contract, adding, “Frank, he's just going to be stealing your money."

Around the club during the 2004 season, the running line on Perez had something to do with his not having the “stones” or the temerity to “sack up” when the going got tough.

The market for starting pitchers “got away” from the Dodgers that winter; DePodesta admitted as much, and the club was stuck with Odalis Perez, at the a price of three years, and $24 million…

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David Blaine? Don’t care. Clippers? Really, don’t care. Angels? Usually don’t care, but as long as they’re sucking this badly, I care enough to get a hearty laugh out of it. It’s too bad the Dodgers put the “LAA” in the pocket schedules instead of the girlie-man “ANA” of 2005. “This is L.A. Baseball” was great…

It pains me to say it, but the San Diego Padres do something better than the Los Angeles Dodgers. No, no, no; not playing baseball. Perish the thought. The Pads replay their telecasts unedited, from pre-game to post-game, immediately following the live show. This thing the Dodgers do, with fast forwarding to the innings where the Dodgers score is weak. It’s 2:00 in the morning. Just show the whole ball game…

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VPL (Visual Player Line) of the Day: Courtesy of Rotoworld.com: “Carl Pavano (back, buttocks) threw a bullpen session Tuesday at Yankee Stadium.” Imagine that. Or not…

Statue for Sandy: The Koufax in bronze campaign continues. Please Vote “Yes on 32.” And tell a friend…

Say Hey: This column came in at exactly 660 words. Fitting indeed…

Remember, glove conquers all….



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