Where Bad Sports Journalism Came To Die

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Tuesday, August 02, 2005


Oh My God.

What is wrong with Mike Celizic?

There are literally one hundred billion negative things you can say about Barry Bonds, but this has to be one of the dumbest.

"[I]n saying that he’s not coming back until next year, he’s finally told the truth about himself and his priorities.

There no longer can be any doubt. For Bonds, it’s about the record.

If it were about the team and a shot at the playoffs this year, he’d volunteer for pinch-hitting duty. He’s not doing that."

All right, Mike Celizic, let's take a look at Barry's team and their "shot at the playoffs." This season, the San Francisco Giants are a complete mess. They are 14 games under .500, 5.5 games out of first in the NL West, a division where the Padres and D-Backs are tied for first with losing records. Their pitching has been awful (14th in the NL in ERA and WHIP, 12th in OPS). Their offense hasn't been much better (13th in runs, OPS, and TB). Are you seriously claiming that Barry Bonds and his maximum of one pinch hitting appearance per game will somehow magically make their entire offense and pitching staff reverse course and stop being awful? What's more, in this crazy universe where you live, if they did somehow make the playoffs, do you honestly think they'd have a chance against the Cards, Braves, or whoever wins the wild card?

"Bonds told that his doctors have recommended that he not try to play this year. His right knee, which underwent three arthroscopic procedures in the first five months of the year and was attacked by a severe infection, is still swollen. Get it completely healthy, the doctors told him, and come back strong next year."

Okay, well, that seems like as good a reason as any for sitting out.

"Bonds is not known for taking advice, but he’s going with the doctors on this one."

What? You're criticizing Barry Bonds for taking the advice of doctors? Are you some kind of Christian Scientist or something? "Hey, Lou Gehrig. Sack up, guy. I don't care how rare that disease is. The least you can do is pinch hit every few days. Take one for the team." "Dave Dravecky, you incredible pussy. Stop whining about your amputated left arm. You still got the right one don't you? Pick up a friggin' bat."

"If the Giants can throw a few wins together, they could have a shot at the playoff position nobody seems to want. And if they could creep within a couple games of first in the next three weeks, Bonds could be the difference maker the rest of the way."

Fine. I will grant you that 5.5 games at the beginning of August is not an insurmountable lead. But please explain how Barry Bonds would be "the difference maker." And please make your answer as weird and indefensible as possible.

"He wouldn’t have to do much. Just sit on the bench and make opposing managers wonder if and when he’s going to go into the game to pinch hit. If he went to the plate just ten times over three or four weeks, hit a home run or two and worked a few walks, it changes everything, because the other guys have to juggle their pitching to protect against him. He wouldn’t even have to run. Send him up with orders: “Don’t run out ground balls or flies; let them throw you out. You’re not here to run, just to scare the bejabbers out of the guys in the other dugout.""

Oh dear lord. Mike Celizic, are you okay? Because you just claimed that with 10 PA over three weeks, Barry Bonds could cause the Giants to gain 6 games in the standings. I can just imagine opposing managers looking across the field, spotting Barry Bonds on his crutches and being absolutely paralyzed with fear, causing them to leave their pitcher in just long enough for Jason Ellison to rock his 5th homer of the year. And what the fuck is "bejabbers?"

"If it’s about the team, he waits and sees what happens [with the injury]. If it’s about the record, he says, “No way.”"

Not to quibble, but I would argue that what Barry is doing kind of is about the team. If the Giants were 10 games over .500, looking like they had a chance of going far in the playoffs, I don't think he would have packed it in. The fact is, the Giants don't have a legitimate shot this year. They may next year. If I'm Barry Bonds, I would be thinking "Why jeopardize my entire career for two months of trying to get a shitty team to the playoffs, where we'll get creamed?"

Yes, Barry Bonds is 12 homers from passing Ruth, and that is probably one of the reasons why he made this decision. And a lot of people are going to make a lot of speculations about other reasons. But it's pretty tough to argue that his decision is in any way dooming the Giants' season.

And I'm serious when I ask you, Mike Celizic. Are you okay?

posted by Murbles  # 3:30 PM
Wouldn't pinch-hit ABs allow him to continue to chase the record, if that were indeed his sole motivation?

Or is the theory that he's afraid he'll incur some irreparable damage to his body if he goes into bejabbers-scaring mode?
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