January 12, 2007

I'm Not Here To Talk About The Past... Well, Maybe Just A Little

So I never commented on the Mark McGwire Hall of Fame issue. Simple reason: I honestly don't know if he should be in or not. It's unfair to single him out when so many other juicers will get away with it, and he had a huge impact on the game; but it's also wrong to put him in at the expense of clean players, and without some sort of asterisk. The truth is, I think the Steroid Era may mark the end of the Hall of Fame as a relevant institution... to the extent that it ever was relevant, anyway.

As for Barry Bonds, I am utterly unsurprised that he tested positive for amphetamines last year (whether or not he also tried to blame it on a teammate is less clear). As far as I can tell, greenies were basically like aspirin for players throughout the 20th century; I don't think this even cracks the top ten list of off-putting, criminal things Bonds has done. I am curious to see, however, whether the Giants seize this deus-ex-machina of an opportunity to get out of their terrible tentative contract with him for next year. For just $16 million, an expensive lounge chair, and an entourage of 20 hangers-on, you too can procure the services of a gimpy, angry, juiced-up sleazeball! Man, if I were a Giants fan, I'd be beside myself.

I'm even more curious to know who leaked the test results. Someone at the Giants, hoping to do just what I suggested? Someone at Major League Baseball trying to drag Bonds into retirement? Or some lab technician or official who doesn't want to see Aaron's record go down? I will say this: I always thought the guy was just paranoid, but it turns out Bonds does have a lot of enemies.

Meanwhile, all's quiet on the New York baseball front. The Yankees signed Jeff Nelson to a minor-league deal, but only so that he could retire as a Yankee. That's actually kind of touching, and surprising, because Nelson seemed like a rather irritable guy in his time here -- I remember a lot of complaining and grousing about various managerial decisions. I never found him very likable; maybe his creepy mustache just rubbed me the wrong way. On the other hand, I also remember a lot of exceedingly competent late-inning pitching. The Yankees still haven't found a duo to set up Mo as reliable as Mike Stanton and Nelson were during those years. Their talent was certainly recognized at the time but, looking back, maybe under-appreciated.

Finally, on a genuinely serious note, I'll join the many thousands of people who are keeping Bobby Murcer in their thoughts.

No comments: