The San Francisco Chronicle followed up yesterday's Jason Giambi story with the one that sports fans really wanted to know about. Today the paper
reports that Barry Bonds testified before the BALCO grand jury and said that he had used "the clear" and "the cream". He said he had no idea what
these were and did not know they were steroids, which is something we have come to know about these "products" in recent times.
So, the long national period of anguish is finally over and we can move on. Barry Bonds did take steroids. The CBSportsline.com headline this morning
says "Bonds Bombshell". I have no idea what the "bombshell" is here. I suspect that the majority of people would have guessed that Bonds had taken
steroids in the past and that his public statements on the subject were disingenuous at best. Or is the "bombshell" that he did not perpetuate this
weasel-wording under oath to the grand jury? I don't get it.
I expect that there will be a huge debate now focusing on whether or not he really was in the dark about what was in those concoctions he was using
and then another huge debate over whether or not to put asterisks all over his records and then a debate over whether or not any of this controversy
is racially motivated. That should keep columnists and commentators busy for a while.
I still would love to know how the Chronicle reporters have obtained access to this information. It is easy to say that "the government" has been
leaking this information deliberately but I'm not sure how that makes their case against BALCO officials any easier to prove. If this is grand jury
testimony, then my understanding is that it could be used in an open trial against Victor Conte and any other BALCO folks who the government would
contend are malefactors. So, it's not as if the information would never see the light of day. Other than grand conspiracy theories, which I am not
prone to embrace very quickly, I don't know how the reporters got this information and I don't know why it would be in the best interests of the
people who were holding this information in camera to take it public now.
So, there is the next investigative reporting challenge for another newspaper and some enterprising reporters.
The release of this information is not timed to be beneficial to those players who are free agents at the moment. Uncertainty about what other shoes
might be dropping in this whole business may affect the "baseball industry" and uncertainty is not the climate that tends to drive salaries up in a
wild spiral. Irrational exuberance is what drives prices up wildly - with a nod to Alan Greenspan for the use of that phraseology. And if the
reporting that has come out about the demands that Scott Boras is making on behalf of some of his clients is true, then he is looking for a huge and
uncontrolled upward spiral.
Supposedly, Boras is asking for a 5-year and $50M deal for JD Drew. Last year, Drew made just over $4M. Now let me assume for a moment that the
proposed new deal is structured simply and calls for $10M per year for Drew. That would give him the equivalent of a 150% raise for each of the next
five years. Drew hit .305 last year with 31 home runs and 93 RBIs, which is certainly above the norm for outfielders in the NL. I'm sure Boras will
point out that all of these stats are "career highs" for Drew who just turned 29 within the last month. But what he will not point out is that Drew
also had his career high last year in number of games played (145) and that in half of his full seasons in the majors, he has missed 50+ games. And
for that "body of work" someone is supposed to pay $10M per year?
Boras also represents Adrian Beltre who indeed had a monstrously impressive season last year. Beltre is only 25 and his offensive output last year
compares to the best third basemen in baseball history such as Mike Schmidt and Eddie Matthews. So, will the real Adrian Beltre stand up? Because up
until last year, his career batting average was .261 by my calculation and he had never hit more than 25 HRs in a year. The reports say that Boras is
looking for bids in the range of $15M per year for Beltre's services. Even in boom times, that would be a risky contract for a team.
Boras also represents Carlos Beltran whose playoff performances last year made him look like one of the best players in the history of baseball. Boras
has supposedly whispered $20M per year as the financial zip code for the neighborhood of the deal that will earn Beltran's services. Of course, he
will ask GMs not to pay any attention to the man behind the curtain because Beltran's career batting average is only .284 and last season was the
first time he ever hit 30 home runs. Granted he is only 27 at the moment and he is an excellent fielder, but to pay him as one of the great players of
all time might take a bit of irrational exuberance on the part of a GM somewhere.
Shifting gears for a moment, Ricky Williams will not take a suspension this year so that he can return to the NFL next year. OK, that means that he is
now officially a guy who likes to smoke pot who is studying yoga and meditation in order to become a holistic medical healer. There are hundreds -
maybe thousands - of people like that and not a single one of them is interesting in the sporting cosmos. So, can the media please relegate Ricky
Williams to what he has declared himself to be in the sports world - a non-person? Enough about his whereabouts and his activities and his new goals
in life. Wake me up when he is doing tarot card readings in county fairs...
St. Louis Rams' fans are less than fully pleased with Mike Martz as a coach. Here are two letters from fans to St Louis Post-Dispatch columnist, Jeff
The Martz Era is over. We lost to Miami, Dave Wannstedt is gone. We lost to New Orleans, Jim Haslett is going. Need I say more?
The Packers game Monday night was the worst display of heartless football I have ever witnessed. Martz, he looked so clueless and showed no fire and
the team followed suit. As much as I hate to say this, I firmly believe that the Cardinals with Dennis Green have a much brighter future at this point
than the Rams do.
Memo to Mike Martz: It is never flattering to be in a position where your team is thought to have a dimmer future than the Arizona Cardinals.
Finally, I read a blurb somewhere that referred to "heavyweight boxing contender, DaVarryl Williamson". I have no idea who he is and really don't
care. But if as a heavyweight boxer, he loses control of his weight and shows up for a fight one of these days grossly out of shape and weighing
somewhere north of 300 pounds, do you think that people in the audience might break into song with:
"Roll out DaVarryl..."
But don't get me wrong, I love sports...
Copyright The Sports Curmudgeon