Tag Archives: MLB

Put an asterisk next to Bonds’ ‘record’

I detest cheaters; in the context I want to discuss, that would be those who take performance enhancing drugs to boost their athletic prowess.

With that said, I refer to former slugger Barry Bonds, who cheated on his way to hitting a Major League Baseball record 73 home runs in 2001. It occurred during the “steroid era” of MLB. He wasn’t alone, but Bonds’ name has come up as MLB celebrates Aaron Judge’s recent achievement in setting an American League record of 62 home runs in a single season.

MLB had the bad sense after Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth’s single-season mark back in 1961 to put an asterisk next to Maris’ record, citing the fact that it took him more games to get to 61 than it took Ruth to hit 60 in 1927.

Stupid call, man. MLB eventually removed the asterisk and Maris’ record has stood on its own until Judge broke it this past weekend.

So, here’s what I suggest: Major League Baseball should put an asterisk next to Bonds’ big-league mark of 73 home runs set in 2001.

The only reason I am so hard on Bonds and his cheating is that he could have qualified for the Hall of Fame had he not taken a single PED during that period of time. The guy could a baseball with the best of ’em. Instead, he chose to inflate his numbers by juicing up with drugs.

Instead, he has tarnished his legacy as one of the game’s best hitters and has ensured that the first line in his obituary will include mention of the drugs he took to cheat his way into the record book.

Sad, man!


AL crowns new HR king

Aaron Judge came to Arlington, Texas, to play some hardball and along the way Tuesday night he set an American League record for most home runs in a single season.

The New York Yankees slugger hit his 62nd HR of the season against the Texas Rangers. He surpassed the record set by another Yankees slugger, Roger Maris, who did the deed during that wonderful 1961 home run duel he waged with his teammate, the great Mickey Mantle.

I now want to stipulate something. Even though Judge’s 62 homers fall short of Barry Bonds’ major league record of 73 in a season, or Mark McGwire’s 70, or Sammy Sosa’s two 60-plus HR seasons, I consider Judge to be the real deal. The others are cheaters, as their dingers occurred during baseball’s “steroid era.”

Just as I consider the great Hank Aaron to be the all-time home run king, I will never recognize Bonds’ accomplishments because he is so tainted by the scandal that damn near destroyed the Grand Old Game.

We need no asterisks attached to Aaron Judge’s record.

Well done, Aaron.


700 HR Club needs slight revision

OK, I am going to throw a little bit of cool — not cold — water on any mention of an exclusive baseball club that now includes the name of a living baseball legend.

St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols smashed the 700th home run of his legendary career. There likely will be a smattering more before his final regular season comes to an end. Pujols said he plans to retire at the end of the season.

All the baseball pundits, scribes, commentators keep saying Pujols is now the “fourth member” of this club. Two of the preceding members are legendary baseball figures: Babe Ruth and Henry Aaron. The third one gives me trouble: Barry Bonds.

You see, Bonds finished as the No. 1 HR hitter in MLB history after cheating his way through several seasons partaking of performance-enhancing drugs. He hit 762 home runs; Aaron is next with 755; the Bambino finished with 714.

I want to point out something, too, about Aaron and Ruth. Aaron had to face down stark racism and threats against his life when he — as a Black man — chased down the longstanding record held by a white man, Ruth.

As for Ruth, he spent the first several seasons in the big leagues as a pitcher, meaning that he didn’t get to bat every day. It’s been said of Ruth that had he continued to pitch full-time through all those years in a New York Yankees uniform, he’d still be in the Hall of Fame. The Yankees put him in the outfield, though, realizing they needed his bat every day in the lineup.

It worked well for the Yanks.

Barry Bonds isn’t in the Hall of Fame. I don’t know if he’ll ever get in. He’s been tarnished and sullied by his own misdeeds, juicing up his body with PEDs, steroids and assorted other banned chemicals.

Albert Pujols? He has said MLB can “test me every day” for illegal drugs. They won’t find anything in his system. I believe him.

For what it’s worth — and it probably isn’t much — I still consider Henry Aaron to be MLB”s home run king.


Transfers give me pause

I remain steadfast in my athletic fuddy-duddyhood, in that I don’t much like some of the trends I see occurring in college and pro sports.

For example, the designated hitter rule in baseball is for the birds. Nor do I like playing football or baseball under a roof. I dislike “artificial turf” and I believe baseball players need not suit up with body armor befitting a combat soldier when they are hitting. Instant replay? Let the refs and umps call the game and stop the endless “reviews” on the field! They get damn near all the calls right as it is.

There. Now let’s turn to these “transfers” I keep reading about in college football. They generally are young men who have graduated already from one university, but with “football eligibility” remaining, they transfer through some sort of “portal” to another school.

Again, call me old-fashioned but I prefer to see a college football player play for the school where he enrolls, then after four years he is done; he either can turn pro or pursue another line of work, presumably in a profession related to the degree he is supposed to have earned at the college of his choice.

These “transfer athletes” seem to carry a bit of a mercenary aura about them. I guess they want to burnish their college career stats enough to make a pro team want to draft them higher and presumably offer them more money.


This stuff makes my head hurt.


Does Pujols come back once more?

I don’t follow Major League Baseball the way I did as a kid, but I am enjoying watching one of the game’s all-time greats having a fabulous “final season” to a legendary career.

Albert Pujols is back in St. Louis and is bashing the hell out of baseballs on his way to the Hall of Fame in five years — or maybe six.

He says this is the final year of a 22-season career. He has hit 694 home runs. He has more than 3,300 base hits. He struggled the past couple of seasons, but he has found his swing again.

He wants to hit 700 dingers. Here’s my thought.

What, though, might he do if he gets to, say, 699 home runs when the season ends? Does he walk away? Or does he talk to Cardinals’ head office about coming back for one more go ’round.

Think of it, he could maintain his part-time playing status but get enough at bats to go after Babe Ruth’s record of 714. He won’t catch Henry Aaron (the real home-run king) or the imposter, Barry Bonds. But the Bambino’s mark might be worth chasing.

But … if he hits the 700-HR mark when the season ends, we’ll all say goodbye to one of the all-time greats of an all-time great game.


Tell the whole story, Sen. Cotton

There you go. This well might be the most compelling rebuke of Republican opposition to the teaching an element of our national history that I have seen so far.

It comes to me from a good friend who share it on social media. The “Tom Cotton” referenced in the top passage is the GOP senator from Arkansas. Cotton has been opposing what he and other congressional Rs refer to as “critical race theory.”

Of course, Sen. Cotton is quite correct to salute the accomplishments of Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play Major League Baseball. He smashed through that barrier 75 years ago this season. “Today we honor him and his lasting legacy,” Cotton wrote via Twitter.

Yes! We do!

But hold on! What about the 50 years of MLB’s existence prior to Robinson joining the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947? Dare we also discuss in our public school classrooms the reasons why Robinson and other African Americans were denied the opportunity to play big league ball with white players? Do we ignore the inherent racism in MLB’s policy banning black players? Do we also ignore the epithets that fans hurled at him as he sought to play baseball in big league ballparks?

There’s a wonderful back story that needs a brief telling. One of Robinson’s closest friends on the Dodgers was a shortstop from Kentucky, Peewee Reese. When the Dodgers took the field in Cincinnati in 1947, the fans heckled Robinson mercilessly, calling him every vile name you can imagine. Reese walked over and stood next to his friend, threw his arm around his shoulders and stared down the crowd until the noise stopped. That act cemented their friendship.

Do well tell our children about that event? Of course we should!

Yet the likes of Tom Cotton would have us ignore that element in our great nation’s otherwise storied history.

No nation in the history of our planet has come of age without suffering through painful chapters. The United States of America has a few of ’em. Racism is a story that needs to be told to our children … and no, it won’t make them “hate America.”

So, if we’re going to salute and honor Jackie Robinson, we need to tell the whole story of what this great man was able to accomplish. Some of it is painful. Still, let’s tell it … and teach it to our children.


Sign-stealing: part of the game

Don’t hate me for what I am about to say … but in my ever-so-humble view, stealing of signs in baseball is, shall we say, part of the game and is the most overrated story of Major League Baseball in the past 50 years.

MLB now is going to outfit players with electronic devices designed to prevent sign-stealing. Are you kidding me?

The Houston Astros got caught stealing signs after they won the 2017 World Series. You’da thought they were guilty of grand theft or some such actual crime. They were caught doing what teams have been doing since the invention of the Grand Old Game.

I make no apologies for the old-fashioned outlook I continue to have for baseball. I hate the designated hitter rule, indoor stadiums, fake grass, batters’ body armor, instant replay.

Now they want to eliminate the practice of stealing signs.

Does anyone out there realize that when a hitter steps into the batter’s box, peers down at the third base coach and receives all those hand signals that 99% percent of them are meaningless? They disguise the signs to prevent the other team from interpreting what they mean.

Sign-stealing has been called “cheating.” Good grief! Teams have been cheating, therefore, since the turn of the 20th century.

I know I will get some blowback for this brief blog post. I don’t mind. Someone will have to persuade me that this is an actual scandal. It isn’t. It’s part of the game.


MLB needs to settle … now!

Major League Baseball, with its standing as America’s Pastime already in jeopardy, is about to possibly do irreparable damage to a game that many of us still love to watch.

I say that understanding that I have stated already that my love affair with the Grand Old Game isn’t what it used to be.

MLB has canceled opening day. The first series of games set for the end of March has been canceled. The players and the league owners are locked in negotiations. The team owners have locked the players out. The players are demanding more money — even though they say it’s “not about the money.” Spoiler alert: When they say it’s not about the money … it’s about the money!

Remember when a player strike canceled the 1994 World Series? I thought at the time that MLB had inflicted a moral wound on itself. I was wrong, which is no surprise, given that I am wrong far more often than I am right.

Still, I don’t feel good about the future of Major League Baseball if the two sides don’t reach an agreement quickly and get this preparation period for the upcoming season under way.

While we’re at it, we baseball fans need a long-term solution that lasts, say … forever!



Ready for baseball

OK, let me be clear about something. My baseball-loving days are behind me. I don’t follow the Grand Old Game with nearly the fervor I did as a youngster.

However, I am kinda getting ready for teams to report for spring training. I say that as we’re still enduring a winter blast in North Texas and as I read about the chilled bones among my many friends in the Texas Panhandle.

My many friends who are devotees of the Amarillo Sod Poodles no doubt are waiting, too, for the first pitch of the season. I don’t blame ’em. Not one single bit.

The Sod Poodles were unable to defend their Double A league pennant last season, having been shelved for the 2020 season by the COVID-19 virus. No worries this year. I’ll cheer for them from afar. I hope to get back to Amarillo one day next season to see a game at Hodgetown. Or … I might yell for the Soddies when they venture to nearby Frisco to play the Roughriders.

But … that will occur in due course.

The Big League season will commence, too. I have one favorite player. Albert Pujols wants to play one more season. The future first-ballot Hall of Famer finished last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers. No word if he’s returning or if he’ll shop himself around for a final fling with someone else.

Still, the football season is almost over; they’re going to play that big game soon in LA. I cannot say I am all that dialed into the pro basketball season, nor with the college hoops players.

Baseball is still out there, waiting to commence. Bring it!


PETA wants to do what?

Are you … kidding me?

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has weighed in with what I believe qualifies as the most preposterous request ever made … by anyone, ever, in the history of the world.

PETA wants Major League Baseball to rename the “bullpen “– the place where relief pitchers warm up before entering a game — to “arm barn.” PETA wants to be “sensitive” to, um, bulls.

USA Today reported: “Words matter, and baseball ‘bullpens’ devalue talented players and mock the misery of sensitive animals,” PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said in the release. “PETA encourages Major League Baseball coaches, announcers, players, and fans to changeup their language and embrace the ‘arm barn’ instead.”

PETA calls for the MLB to change term ‘bullpen’ to the ‘arm barn’ to be sensitive to cows (msn.com)

What in the name of social activist idiocy is going on here?

It’s not like MLB pens up actual livestock in these places, for ever-lovin’ sake. Yet here we have PETA seeking to replace a commonly used place with something that is more animal friendly!

I saw the story and thought momentarily that it must be a satire published by The Onion. It isn’t. It’s for real.

It’s also just plain idiotic.