Off Base
Barry Bonds and Terrell Owens: Compare and Contrast

September 27 , 2006

Yeah, because discourse regarding prima donnas, irrelevant to September, is exactly what you want taking up space in your brain, right about now.

I hear you, so we’ll make this fast. Barry Bonds and Terrell Owens. What about the two of them?

Well, one gets caught red-handed with drugs, which he’s self-administering orally. The other, not particularly shy, takes his other end up, with a helper.

Despite all evidence to the contrary, neither says he’s doing what all the world thinks he’s doing.

Owens played in San Francisco, California, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Bonds played in San Francisco, California, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Owens played in four straight Pro Bowls, the last one in 2004. Bonds played in four straight All-Star Games, the last one in 2004.

Owens uses a Sharpie; Bonds, a Bic. Owens is fast; Bonds is slow. Owens catches the ball one-handed; so does Bonds. Owens plays well with others; so does Bonds. Not ball players, but others.

Owens puts himself ahead of the team. Bonds does too. Owens holds management hostage. Bonds does too.

With one exception, Bonds’ postseason failings, as much as anything, were responsible for his team’s not reaching the grand stage, year after year. Owens, not so much.

Owens is the proud owner of two National Football Conference championship rings. Bonds’ best piece of jewelry is a National League championship ring.

One is being investigated by local authorities; the other, the Feds.

One has a swelled head, figuratively; the other, literally.

That’s all I’ve got. Talk amongst yourselves. And send me your suggestions

A Shorter and More Pleasant Comparison: Kirk Gibson and Nomar Garciaparra. Beside the obvious, let’s remember this: Gibby was the man in 1988, the Dodgers paid him a lot of money for limited play in 1989 and 1990, and he walked off into the setting sun the conquering hero.

So what if Garciaparra is disabled list bound in 2007 and/or 2008? Who knows? Who cares? Nomar is that kind of player. He is Kirk Gibson already.

Given the chance to do it all over again, wouldn’t the Dodgers sign Gibson for three years? It’s been 18 seasons, and the memory hasn’t faded one bit. The same might be true with Nomar. Moreover, Nomar is a native-son, a true Los Angelino. And his agent isn’t Scott Boras, so there’s really nothing standing in the way…

New Rules: A suspension of criticism of the National League West must start today. Three trips to Colorado per year ought to be excuse enough for anything occurring in the division. Reporters who cover the other 25 clubs simply have no idea…

Award Time? Nope, not yet. The entire 162 and possibly 163-game season matters, so I’m holding off until it’s completed.

But, and it’s a big but, we’re talking Cecil Fielder’s butt; this idea that a guy who manages his club into a pennant race deserves a Manager of the Year Award, regardless of his team’s final position, is just plain lame. Sorry, but there is not at present a “Tony Pena Award,” so Joe Girardi doesn’t get a trophy for finishing with the ninth best record in the National League…

More Comparisons: While Grady Little isn’t necessarily the NL’s top skipper, he’s done a fine job generally, and represents a substantial upgrade over last season. And while he may be forever despised in Boston for his Pedro Martinez moment, no one will ever care in Los Angeles. Bill Buckner is admired here too. We're funny that way.

Quick, name Tommy Lasorda’s biggest career gaffe. Did you say, Jack Clark? Well, you are wrong, spaghetti-breath. Try starting Dave Goltz over September call-up, Fernando Valenzuela, in the one-game playoff with Houston.

The Dodgers, three out with three to play, swept the Astros in Los Angeles, the highlight being a walk-off homer by Joe Ferguson on Sunday. Incredible stuff; very much comparable to the present.

Goltz’ 4.31 ERA might look OK by today’s standards (see Brad Penny), but in 1980, when the club posted a 3.25 team mark, 4.31 was a ton, and the formerly successful American Leaguer was by far the weakest link in the rotation. 19-year-old Fernando, on the other hand, finished four pennant race games, winning two and saving one, struck out 16 in 17 innings, and boasted an ERA precisely 4.31 points lower than did the other guy. It was, in essence, Fernandomania six months early…

Look-Alikes: Jim Leyland and Jack Palance…

Swallow Carefully: Tell me; of all the guys it could possibly be, wouldn’t Tony La Russa’s managing the greatest choke in baseball history be the coolest thing imaginable. Because being the most overrated skipper of a generation is one thing, the pitcher batting eighth another, but this is something truly special…

Media Savvy: From Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle:

"The year's most ridiculous story had to be the one coming out of New York this week, claiming that neither the Yankees nor Mets have any interest in Barry Zito...Equally absurd: the rumor suggesting Zito would go to San Diego because former A's employees Sandy Alderson, Grady Fuson and Paul DePodesta work there. What does that have to do with anything? Zito is about the big time, night life, cosmopolitan living, high celebrity. It's either New York or L.A. for him, with four very nice options to consider."

Actually, no. No, no, no, no, no! New York or L.A. is not “four very nice options.” It’s three very nice options. Count em. Not four; three.

Anaheim is not Los Angeles. Anaheim is not now, never was, never will be, doesn’t want to be, and is not welcome to be Los Angeles. Not in any way, shape or form. How many times do we have to say it? Enough already…

Dig This: Forget Whitney Houston. The best rendition of the national anthem is this one, bar none...

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

Remember, glove conquers all….








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