Fehr and Loathing
The scumbags are back for more talk and no
action. Just like last year. And don't hold your breath waiting for the
players to tell them who they really work for either.
Curse of the Bondsino
What to do now? For starters, Barry Bonds*
needs to retire to protect the records of Aaron and Ruth. Then MLB needs to
adopt the minor league steroid testing program pronto. Then add the
asterisks to Mr. Flaxseed Oil*, Giambi*, Sosa*, and the rest of those who cheated
Hank Aaron, the Real Home Run King, Rips Bonds* for Cheating, Steroid Abuse
‘Take One for the Team?’
12.6.04: Scandal isn’t new to baseball, with the history of the Black Sox, the spitter and the Vaseline ball. Catchers and pitchers deface the baseball with belt buckles, mud, nail files, and sandpaper. Baseball gave us Pete Rose, corked bats, and high tech spying. But baseball has a unique language ‘authorizing’ subterfuge.
Maybe if the ball and the players aren’t juiced, then teams will take more interest in stealing. As Martha Stewart might say about stealing, “that is a very good thing.” Infielders are certainly aware of holding runners close to the bag, as they cheat over to take that extra step away.
Pitchers know they must protect not only the strike zone, but their science and discipline. One of the key elements to pitching is deception and pitchers regularly attempt to fool batters, keeping them off balance with the curveball. We all want our pitchers to pick off enemy runners. Some pitchers who pitch inside become known as headhunters.
A fielder makes a great play by robbing a batter of a hit. Fielders limit baserunning justice through
obstruction. A strong-armed fielder guns down a runner. Sometimes to complete a closely contested double play, middle infielders
give up their body with a runner bearing down on them, trying to take them out. Of course, a well-executed double play, also known as a
twin-killing, ends or kills a rally. An exceptional rarity occurs with the
hidden ball trick.
Hitters seem to be getting the short end of the stick with all this talk about performance-enhancing drugs. The most fundamental offensive play in baseball is
a hit. The Yankees 1927 lineup bore the moniker ‘Murderer’s Row’. Pundits dubbed Twins slugger Harmon Killebrew
‘Killer’. Juan Marichal gave new meaning to batter John Roseboro in 1965. In baseball terms, hitters regularly lay down a
sacrifice, hit behind the runner to give themselves up, or rarely employ
‘the suicide’. And we want to criticize the MLB players’ union, nearly two-thirds of them batsmen for that altruism?
Even the grounds crew gets involved with game play. Teams
doctor the baselines to keep bunts fair or foul, water down the base paths to slow down the opposition, or tailor the grass to accelerate or decelerate ground balls through the infield. Some even accused the Minnesota Twins of trying to affect fly balls by manipulating the air conditioning. Who can imagine such homer hanky-panky?
Sabermetricians talk about pitcher abuse. Writers talk about managers
abusing the bullpen and we know the best coaches steal signs.’ The Atlanta Braves fans do the
‘Tomahawk Chop’. Amateur baseball has the ‘slaughter rule’.
Sometimes an expression gathers new meaning through usage or experience. The recent revelations (who could have guessed) surely give new meaning to
‘take one for the team’.
-- Ron Sen, Boston Dirt Dogs