The Mockingbird

J.P. Pours Acid on Decaying Corpse of Bonds Rumours

with 22 comments

Another day, another one-run loss…The way they’ve been “swinging” the bats so far this year I thought the Jays would get a hit or two and about 10 walks against Matsuzaka, but he didn’t walk (2) or strike out (3) that many batters, and instead just induced a ton of weak contact over 7 innings from the predictably punchless Jays offense by pounding the zone and getting groundballs low and away:

After the game, J.P. was talking to blissfully uninformed callers on Wilners show. The first time Bonds Bonds was mentioned, he sort of danced around the issue by saying he might not help anyway and implying that management might be holding him back. But then someone implied that he had to sign him in order to save his job, and he dropped his usual “I respect your frustration” veneer and spat some venom:

I will never do anything out of fear. I’m going to trade my integrity to bring people here that don’t stand for what we stand for. It’s almost laughable that the fans are willing to sell their soul. For a guy we don’t even know if he has anything left. We think he is because we haven’t seen him, but…I don’t know. I don’t even want to talk about it any more.

I find it odd that this is probably the first time I have ever heard the “selling your soul” argument against signing Bonds. It usually stops at whether he’s enough of an “distraction” (read: asshole) to counteract what is probably a still potent bat. And eventually the conclusion comes around to the bottom line that he would have to stalk and kill about one key bullpen member a month (in stat circles, this is known as his Reliever Runs Murdered per Nine Innings, or RRM/9) in order for signing him to be a bad baseball decision.

But is it really so ridiculous to choose character on your team for some other reason than the intangible effects it supposedly has on your ballclub? It may sound preachy by J.P. to bring it up, but I guarantee the casual fan is more likely to feel this way. I ambivalently sympathize- we constantly hear the old chestnut “baseball is a business”, but I like to feel good about the band of millionaires I have chosen to support. I like that there are other things about Roy Halladay I admire other than his cut fastball. I’m glad Scott Rolen is on the team even if Troy Glaus marginally outplays him this season because he’s @#$@#$ hilarious. No matter how much you like his OPS, there’s not one thing to like about Barry Bonds other than his OPS.

It’s not even that Bonds took steroids, it’s that I’ve watched him lie and snarl and be an unbelievably arrogant jerk over the issue (and in general) for years, and recently received a good deal of Schadenfreude over the fall and eventual indictment of such a terrible human being. There’s just no way I could turn that around and wholeheartedly cheer for him. I mean, if Roger Clemens announced tomorrow that he’d put his doping, lying, entrapping, statutory raping days behind him, found his Cy Young stuff, and was ready to come back to Toronto and lead the team into the playoffs, would you really want him on the team? Really? Are we that desperate?

Ok, in the middle of an unbelievable drought at the plate might not be the best time to pose this particular hypothetical, because there’s also something to be said for watching good baseball. But I’d rather watch these losers try to figure out how to hit than try to feel good about hoping Barry can silence the Fenway crowd that is quite rightly throwing syringes and waving asterisks at him- because naive or not, that used to be me…

Written by halejon

May 1, 2008 at 1:43 am

Posted in Seriousness

22 Responses

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  1. nice post, man. i haven’t given the opposite side much thought, like you have tonight. you make some damn good points. i hate bonds, but i’ve been open to him becoming a blue jay. why? it’s a question that deserves some thought. fuck bonds. we’re not that desperate. you’re right, i’d rather watch these guys, the team i was excited about a month ago, try and figure this shit out.

    oh, and fuck clemens too.

    navin vaswani

    May 1, 2008 at 2:25 am

  2. Thanks. I’m not even sure I wouldn’t want him on the team if it was actually going to happen. I’m just surprised that nobody ever brings this up, or gets called ignorant if they do…I know my dad would stop watching the Jays forever, and he is neither particularly morally uptight or uninformed of the history of steroids in baseball.

    halejon

    May 1, 2008 at 9:38 am

  3. But didn’t we already decide to sign Zombie Hitler and his .480 OBP, or was it Vodou Lenin and his 1.100 OPS?!?

    This whole Bonds thing was put to bed ages ago……

    mulliniks

    May 1, 2008 at 10:18 am

  4. Hey! What did Lenin ever do to you?? If you’re looking for an evil Russian archetype, stick to Stalin. Safe bet.

    I thought it was too, but seriously…the cry goes up louder and louder after every loss on every message board, call-in show, water-cooler discussion, random bum rambling, etc.

    halejon

    May 1, 2008 at 11:50 am

  5. This crap about “selling the soul of the team” is bull. Gregg Zaun was named in the Mitchell Report. Nobody gives a shit. Nobody is boycotting the club. People continue to watch baseball in Houston (Tejada) and tons of other cities across the league without comment. The Bonds thing is personel, pure and simple. Which is fine, but don’t try to dress it up as some sort of moral stand…

    Craig

    May 1, 2008 at 12:56 pm

  6. I don’t think I dressed it up at all. Never have I said there’s a moral issue that everybody who took steroids should never be signed again. I just think this particular steroid user is a terrible, terrible, asshole that I would rather not have to cheer for. Sure it’s personal, but I don’t think it’s bullshit.

    In fact, I find it very odd that considering anything other than bottom line in who you want on your team is considered some sort of radical, idiotic, hypocritical statement. Not to go all capitalist ranty here, but that’s a sign of the times…

    halejon

    May 1, 2008 at 1:20 pm

  7. I was actually referring to JP’s comments above with regard to dressing it up as a moral stand, not you. I found JP’s comments insufferable in that respect. The notion that signing Bonds would be “selling his soul”, yet keeping Gregg “I was only paying gambling debts” Zaun around is A-OK is a curious one.

    As for not being able to root for Bonds, well, that’s your perogative. You are certainly entitled to choose who you will or won’t support. For me, I don’t know Barry Bonds personally, and can’t claim to know the depths of his assholedom. I simply view him as one of many steroid users in baseball, albeit a high profile one. Although I certainly don’t like the idea of the Jays condoning steroid use, I will not be making the same Bonds “exception” that others are making with regard to threatening to boycott games if he is signed.

    Craig

    May 1, 2008 at 1:48 pm

  8. Ok, fair enough. I may be a little sensitive about people not understand the finer points of my argument since some wanker at baseball primer said I obviously didn’t care about baseball.

    J.P did say though that if the Mitchell report came out before Zaun’s contract they probably would not have signed him. I don’t think it’s totally ridiculous to say you’re not going to purge the (probable) ‘roider you’ve got, but you’d rather not take on King of the ‘roiders.

    It’s true that Bonds has got an excessive amount of vilification since he was the first (and the king) of steroid users. But he also handled it particularly badly. I don’t know him personally, but I don’t need to see someone treat other people like shit in person to build up some pretty harsh dislike.

    halejon

    May 1, 2008 at 2:11 pm

  9. It’s certainly a fine line in dealing with that kind of cognitive dissonance as a fan; do you want to support a winning team or do you want to support a team you respect AND one that wins (obviously winning is always a priority). One of my proudest achievements as a fan (if that makes sense) is that I hated Jose Canseco as a Blue Jay from Day 1. I called that he was on steroids and I never wanted him. Even when he hit 46 homers, I didn’t care because it wasn’t helping us win for one, and he also hit like .230. Same goes for Mike Stanley, Tony Batista and his .299 OBP, Benito Santiago, etc. I hated all those guys. So yea, I’d rather support a winning team that I respect more than a winning team with a-holes even if the latter wins a lot more.

    Shawn

    May 1, 2008 at 3:36 pm

  10. I saw a couple of my favourite Jays from the early nineties treat people like shit in person. And these were guys who were fawned over by the media as “nice guys”. Kiry Puckett was supposed to be a prince of a guy and turned out to have some very serious moral failings. Steve Garvey, some thing, and countless other ballplayers.

    The truth is, it is difficult/impossible to know what type of guys these players are from what the media prints or reports. I’m not interested in gauging player personalities because it is impossible to do so without spending some quality time with them. Which I won’t do.

    So if you want to choose your baseball team based on appealing personalities, go ahead. Just admit that it is a pretty inexact science from a fan’s perspective. And that you are likely rooting for several rampant assholes who are merely better at concealing their assholishness from the fans than Bonds.

    Craig

    May 1, 2008 at 3:52 pm

  11. Haha, I would wear that as a badge of honor. I pretty much fell for Canseco and his upper deck shots. But then I was a stupid little kid back then.

    My favorite examples of cognitive dissonance are Jack Morris and Ricky Henderson. Not that a had a particular hate on for them, but one year they’re singlehandedly destroying us in the playoffs and sworn enemies, and the next they’re hometown boys. Would I have traded a world series title for not having them on the team? Probably not, but it was very weird.

    halejon

    May 1, 2008 at 4:04 pm

  12. BJ is my version of full on hate to full on love. I remember thinking “Who the hell is this bubba closing for the Orioles? I hate him.” Well, now that bubba is my bubba. And he didn’t even destroy us in the playoffs. Ah, playoffs…

    Would you a pitching analysis on Papelbon, s’il vous plait? Is it my imagination, or is he not as in the zone as he was last year? He made outs, which is important obviously, but he also got some really nice gifts from the ump.

    Joanna

    May 1, 2008 at 4:12 pm

  13. Sure, I totally accept that. (Except for the part about “choose your baseball team based on appealing personalities”, which is setting up a straw man (I OWNED logical fallacies before they started showing up on DJF)). It’s hard to know what the truth is, and most baseball players aren’t guys I’d let my fictional daughter date, anyway.

    But jeez…I don’t think my fan instincts are deceiving me about Barry. He’s said some amazing things to reporters, he went out of his way to call out Hank Aaron – there may be some wolves in sheep’s clothing out there, but Barry doesn’t even try to hide his fangs.

    halejon

    May 1, 2008 at 4:27 pm

  14. Shore thing, I’ll check him out tonight. I was thinking the same thing- I’m going to guess a bunch of grooved fastballs.

    halejon

    May 1, 2008 at 4:30 pm

  15. Barry Bonds has not been convicted of anything. He has not been accused of betting on games or throwing games. Barry Bonds has not been accused of assaulting anyone. Barry Bonds has been accused of not being a nice guy by the media, but is that a crime?

    Barry Bonds has been accused of not telling the truth to a grand jury investigating BALCO. Barry Bonds does not own BALCO and does not distribute steroids on behalf of BALCO.

    Why was the grand jury investigating Barry Bonds? Weren’t they supposed to be investigating BALCO? How did that “investigation” of BALCO turn into a witch hunt directed against MLB players? Clearly, BALCO wasn’t the real target in the campaign against Barry Bonds.

    What “immediate danger” to Major League Baseball does Barry Bonds pose, that requires Barry Bonds’ suspension prior to a decision in Bonds’ upcoming trial?

    In fact, wouldn’t the presence of Barry Bonds on a Major League Baseball team roster – the Baltimore Orioles, for instance – be an immediate big boost to that team’s attendance as well as a big boost to their chances of winning?

    In effect, MLB teams are willing to lose money rather than hire Barry Bonds. Isn’t that the definition of a “blacklist”? The actors, singers, directors etc. who were “blacklisted” during the McCarthy era witch hunt were money makers for the entertainment industry, yet no owner would hire them! Isn’t that exactly what is happening with Barry Bonds?

    Weren’t many of these talented performers indicted and some convicted for refusing to cooperate with grand juries and dragged before government staged hearings in front of hundreds of cameras and reporters?

    Years later many of those “blacklisted” were apologized to, but did that apology make up for the destruction of their livelihoods and their personal lives during the McCarthy “blacklisting”? Of course not!

    I have a special disgust for the owners of the San Francisco Giants. They made millions off of Barry Bonds. They were able to build a money making stadium based, to a great extent, on Barry Bonds. Where is their gratitude? Nowhere!

    He was their star player who was loved by the fans in the Bay area, yet the SF Giants team owners shamefully released Barry Bonds after the 2007 season so as to do their part in the “blacklisting”! They deserve a Hall of Shame of their own!

    Years from now, when Major League Baseball is forced to apologize to Barry Bonds for their actions, that apology will never make up for the crime that Major League Baseball is inflicting today on Barry Bonds and on the many fans who admire the athletic greatness that Barry Bonds has been as a player.

    I also admire him for his unbending, “in your face” attitude during constant attacks from the big business media, especially the sports talk radio and cable channels that have to fill 24-hour-a-day air time by creating controversy and scandal where there would have been little or none before those media outlets were created.

    I appeal to the fans of Major League Baseball to bombard their team owners with letters and emails and petitions demanding that their team hire Barry Bonds.

    Imagine, for instance, Barry Bonds added to the roster of the woeful offense of the Baltimore Orioles.

    Imagine the magical confrontations in the American League East with David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez at Fenway Park and Camden Yards and with Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter at Yankee Stadium and Camden Yards.

    Wouldn’t that do wonders for attendance for a Baltimore Orioles franchise that has been down in the dumps for so long?

    An historic wrong is being committed by the owners. Do we want to have a posthumous apology to Barry Bonds, as was done for Jim Thorpe, or do we correct this wrong NOW? Barry Bonds is this era’s Babe Ruth.

    He’s the biggest star in our national pastime.

    I appeal to the fans to help us right this wrong. I want to see Barry Bonds playing baseball in 2008!

    To all concerned fans: Perhaps you could use the above as a petition circulated at stadiums or handed out at stadium gates. I know that millions of you will still be in attendance at MLB games.

    While there, couldn’t you also do your part in fighting against the shameful “blacklisting” of Barry Bonds, the greatest hitter in Major League Baseball history?

    wr

    May 1, 2008 at 6:10 pm

  16. Equating not signing Barry Bonds to McCarthy era blacklisting is the funniest thing I have seen in print in a loooooong time.

    halejon

    May 2, 2008 at 1:08 am

  17. While it is extreme, let’s look at his real point, not the subject he chooses to make his point with.

    The agruement should be as follows: Would signing Barry Bonds make your team better?

    If the answer is yes and you don’t have a better option in place then you need to really ask yourself, why are we not going after Bonds?

    Is it because we think he’s done? He’s old, no doubt. But keep in mind – he’s Barry FREAKING BONDS! Before steroids he was one of the games greatest players ever. In the previous 3 seasons he’s posted OPS of 1.000 or better (I’m adding 1 to his .999 two years ago). So the only reason teams that could use his services aren’t signing him is because they think he is done.

    Right?

    … Right? Do we really think that? Do all the teams that could use him really think that?

    You can hate the man that he is, but you could still choose to cheer for the player that he is. Provided, of course, that he’s batting 4th for YOUR team!

    He’s a guy who I think let down the whole world – more talent then agruably anybody, and was on pace to go down as one of the best outfielders in the history of the game (3 MVP’s, 8 GG’s, 9 all star games before pre-steroids. I’m approximating his use of steroids beginning around the age of 34) – and yet he still decided that wasn’t enough for him and he wanted to use steroids. I hate him for doing that and will always hate him for doing that. It’s a shame, it really, really is.

    However, he’s not the only guy, not by a long shot, who made these bad decisions. In light of that, I could support him on the Jays.

    Just for one year.

    And buddy makes another good point: the things Bonds has done, aren’t as bad as some of the things other players have done and haven’t been vilified to the same degree that Bonds has, not by a long shot. It’s time to move on to something else, and let the man finish out his career.

    HalifaxJaysFan

    May 2, 2008 at 10:47 am

  18. “The agruement should be as follows: Would signing Barry Bonds make your team better?”

    Well, that’s one way of looking at it. My point was that maybe that’s not the only way of looking at it for everyone.

    “So the only reason teams that could use his services aren’t signing him is because they think he is done.”

    I highly doubt it…teams aren’t that stupid. They have scouting reports from last year that say his eye and batspeed are still fine. It’s a combination of the hassle and bad P/R and maybe a tad of implied collusion thrown in.

    “You can hate the man that he is, but you could still choose to cheer for the player that he is.”

    Well, evidently everyone else is capable of doing that with no qualms. But don’t you get even the slightest bit of repulsion at the idea? Mental game:

    -Take Joe Carter’s heartwarming shot to win world series.
    -Replace Joe with Albert Belle.
    -Reevaluate how warm and fuzzy a memory this is.

    “And buddy makes another good point: the things Bonds has done, aren’t as bad as some of the things other players have done and haven’t been vilified to the same degree that Bonds has, not by a long shot.”

    Verrrrry good point. Steroids have been taken hugely seriously and then there are other real crimes (like beating/threatening your wife) that people just shake their heads at, and the guy is starting the next day. I don’t think that “other players are just as bad” totally invalidates the jerk angle, though.

    halejon

    May 2, 2008 at 11:07 am

  19. You’re right. Two wrongs definitely don’t make a right.

    Accardo said in an interview last week when he was a new player on the Giants, that Bonds took him out for a steak dinner to talk to him about getting into the bigs and that he thought he was a great teammate.

    Clearly, Accardo isn’t going to say “man, I can’t EFFING STAND that guy”. But I’m willing to bet Barry is a decent enough guy to be around as a teammate. He’s so good, you’re constantly giving him a high five (for driving you in). And who doesn’t like high fives?

    And you’re absolutely right. This is a team we cheer for, and do we really want to be forced to cheer for him? It’s a major grey area.

    It’s not a cut and dry argument.

    If Lind, Overbay, and Wells started swinging the bats again, we wouldn’t need to have this conversation.

    HalifaxJaysFan

    May 2, 2008 at 11:27 am

  20. “It’s not a cut and dry argument.”

    Tell me about it! Even in my head, it’s a pretty decent debate…

    Are you serious about that Accardo steak thing?? I said as a joke that Bonds must have bought him a steak when he was a rookie or something because I saw him on TV say that he had nothing bad to say about Bonds as a teammate. That’s amazing.

    Yah, I’m sure he’d be a tolerable teammate. Wilner says he would probably just stick to himself and do his job. None of the players seemed to have a problem with him as a person (maybe Vernon). And it’s amazing what a few bombs can do for a man’s charisma…

    halejon

    May 2, 2008 at 12:00 pm

  21. I’m wondering if it was the same interview we saw with Accardo.

    I’m not positive that Accardo said it was steak, but I am positive Accardo said that Bonds took him out for dinner early in his rookie season. Either way, that’s an awesome coincidence.

    It might just be me, but I’m guessing they didn’t go to a sushi restaurant…

    I think, what makes this team so damn frustrating, is that you can see it every time they play – they are a team that should be winning a lot more games. You don’t assemble a pitching staff this good very often. It hasn’t been since 1998/1999 that the Jays had 5 guys you actually believed would give them a good chance to win every time out, and I’d still rather have this rotation then the 1998 staff.

    … for fun, that 1998 staff was Clemens, Williams, Hengten, Carpenter, Guzman. Escobar and Hanson got 18 starts that year, along with two guys who started 5 games total who were at opposite points in their careers and who are pretty much undoubtedly the two best pitchers the Jays have ever had for a significant length of time. / end digression

    This 2008 team SHOULD be good!

    Either way: I’ll just put this out there. Would you for the league minimum, sign Bonds for the remainder of this year?

    Yes or no. There’s a lot to consider, but if someone put that on your plate, and you had to decide now, what would you say?

    I’d say yes, then go down and find an empty confessional booth, and hope for the best…

    HalifaxJaysFan

    May 2, 2008 at 2:23 pm

  22. Ugh…hypotheticals turned right back on me. I was going back and forth along exactly those lines when it looked like there might be something to the rumours. I think I can honestly say no. Even if it worked out perfectly, it would just be embarrassing. Barry Bonds and the Toronto Blue Jays forever linked in the annals of World Series history…pass.

    Of course that also has something to do with the fact I can’t wait to see Lind once he gets rolling.

    I honestly think eventually they’ll go on a ridiculous tear, and then everyone will be going on and on about how they’ve “gelled” as a team, and are riding the momentum and gained character from their April struggles, blah blah blah…And it will really just be the RISP and 1-run fortunes swinging back the other way. Unless someone (*knock on A.J.*) blows out their arm, it’s just not possible to throw this rotation out there and not win 90 games. Of course the final 5 or so to make it into the playoffs is another question…

    halejon

    May 2, 2008 at 3:21 pm


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