August 20, 2006
Quick. What’s the most significant Barry Bonds statistic at this exact moment in time?
Nope, it’s not Barry’s 724 home runs lifetime, nor his 16 big flies, five months into the 2006 season. And it’s not the .235 batting average, as striking as that is, nor the amount of days old pal Greg Anderson will sit in jail to protect him.
The telling number is six. Six. As in six plate appearances. As in, the biggest series of the season, Dodgers vs. Giants, late August, in San Francisco. And immediately following the Giants’ sweep of the Padres, to lift them threatenly close to being back in the race. And Bonds picked up a bat six times in three games.
Blame it on the bad left knee, the bad right knee, or the bad back. Call it the presence of Todd Linden, or the presence of youngsters Moises Alou and Steve Finley. Or of George Mitchell. Call it father time, or just plain justice.
I call it a mix of all of the above and just plain baseball. Look, you don’t take a year off from baseball and come back like it’s nothing. Frozen veterans of foreign wars notwithstanding, ball players don’t come back from a year on the shelf and just pick up where they left off. And certainly not at 42, with the all that Barry Bonds’ world has become.
So Bonds goes 0-5 and the Dodgers take the series in Frisco. For a Dodger fan, there’s not a whole lot better than beating S.F. in S.F. Except maybe for beating S.F. in Candlestick.
I mean, isn’t Pac Bell/SBC/A.T.&T. a bit too sweet for the that club, in an "It's a Small World" kind of way? Isn’t the scene just a little too pretty, and the crowd a little too well-behaved? Wasn't the smell rising high from the grandstand in Hunter's Point just a wee bit more appropriate than garlic fries?
I don’t know about you, but I miss Candlestick. That place and the Giants was a perfect match. Just perfect...
Talkback: Your comments are always encouraged…
Thanks to Tom Hoffarth over at the Daily News for sticking up for the folks over at BaseballSavvy.com (see Farther Off the Wall). I didn’t really suspect anything sinister (or plagiaristic) in Bill Plashke’s statue for Sandy Koufax suggestion, but Tom’s the coolest, and we appreciate his watching our back...
Weak Quote of the Week: Yes, I’ve made a clean break from Jim Rome to Dan Patrick, but I couldn’t let this one go by without taking a hack: "There's a lot of baseball to be played in these last five weeks." Five weeks' worth, I imagine, Dan.
But since he followed that up with a comment about Jackie Robinson being the "greatest athlete of all time," the man gets a partial pass.
Of course, when within seconds, Patrick said, "Lead the Pac-10 in scoring as a point guard [at UCLA]," the pass was revoked. Most of us remember the Bruin's conference as the Pac 8, but when Jackie played, and for four decades, it was the Pacific Coast Conference. The Athletic Association of Western Universities conference name was used for some time as well.
Whatever. Patrick’s hours-long segment to pick one athlete as the greatest was pretty inane. Between Patrick, Reggie Miller and Michael Irvin, the best they could come up with was Jackie, Magic and Carl Lewis. Clearly, Mark Hendrickson is the guy…
Jackass of the Week: O.J. Simpson. If it wasn’t for that jackass Simpson’s criminal activity of 12 years ago, not a single one of the annoying “justice” programs that grace our airwaves would exist today, and we wouldn’t have the JonBenet Ramsey BS in our face right now…
Statue for Sandy: The Koufax in bronze campaign continues. Please Vote “Yes on 32.” And tell a friend. Not Bill Plashke, but tell a friend...
Remember, glove conquers all….
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