Usually I don’t get to dissect articles from my hometown St. Louis Post-Dispatch, because they usually do a good job, especially online. So this column by Jeff Gordon was like a diamond of stupidity in the rough of competent sports journalism:
Is unemployed outfielder Barry Bonds the victim of collusion among Major League Baseball owners? Has Bonds been blackballed because of all those steroid allegations?
I sure don’t know! Why don’t you tell me?
Of course not. Only a blithering idiot would believe such nonsense.
Oh. Well you seem pretty sure, so I’ll trust you.
Bonds isn’t in the big leagues because GMs believe his minuses outweigh his pluses in 2008.
Hmm. So baseball teams don’t want to deal with his “minuses,” yet those have nothing to do with the fact that Bonds is the mascot of steroid use forevermore?
Can he still hit? Probably.
Now that we have that over with . . .
[L]et’s walk through all the negatives:
* Bonds will turn 44 years old in July. How many other 44-year-old outfielders are flourishing in the big leagues this season?
If Bonds gets to play, the answer would be one, I imagine. How many other 44-year-old outfielders are the best player in the history of their sport?
* The former Gold Glove outfielder is now a defensive liability, due to his bad wheels.
Fair enough. If only there were some position that allowed a player to take at-bats and run the bases but didn’t require him to play the field . . . like awndunwnufnerth base or something.
* His salary expectations are out of whack with his diminished baseball value. At this point in his career, Bonds would put up Chris Duncan power numbers -– maybe a little better, perhaps a little worse. (Duncan had slugging percentages of .589 and .480 the last two seasons. Bonds came in at .545 and .565.)
Hmm. That seems like a pretty good reason. Chris Duncan is getting league-minimum, so why should Bonds’ get more?
Wait. My dog just told me that there is another statistic called on-base percentage, of which Bonds is pretty much the undisputed, all-time champion; and that this ability to get on base is the most important aspect of the game and the major part of Bonds’ value as a player.
Why is my dog talking? I really need to stop with the peyote.
* Bonds is, by all accounts, a truly horrendous teammate. He has been a disruptive clubhouse presence dating back to his Pirates days.
*Keesup shakes his head in disappointment*
* His unresolved legal issues would create distractions anywhere he went. With Bonds comes a media circus, an army of reporters poking and prodding at his combative and defiant persona.
Athletes dealing with the media? What’s next, a Negro running for President?!
Given all those factors, big league GMs opted to look elsewhere for offensive help: younger free agents, prime-age trade targets or home-grown players.
Transactions that technically qualify as “younger free agents, prime-age trade targets or home-grown players”: A-Rod’s biggest contract ever, Longoria’s deal after about five days in the majors, the Johan Santana trade, and Cabrera & Dontrelle for the Tigers’ Triple-A affiliate.
The Cardinals are a great example. Manager Tony La Russa floated the idea of bringing Bonds aboard to protect Albert Pujols. Bill DeWitt, John Mozeliak and the rest of the braintrust swatted aside the idea for all the reasons above.
I don’t know what could’ve happened without those guys. How would the simple, delicate sensibilities of St. Louis baseball fans hold up with the media frenzy of a home run chase or the scandal of steroid accusations?
Instead, the Cards relied on home-grown talent (Rick Ankiel, Chris Duncan, Skip Schumaker), bargain signing Ryan Ludwick and Rule 5 addition Brian Barton to man the outfield. The results have been spectacular.
M peyote-fueled talking dog just chimed in again to tell me the outfielders are playing at about the 230th percentile of their aggregate PECOTA projection. Don’t know what the hell he’s talking about.
What would Bonds have done? Hit some homers, probably, but otherwise he would have dragged down the group with his egocentric behavior. Imagine how Bonds would have poisoned the clubhouse, honing in on Pujols and offering advice on how to handle his superstar status. One shudders at the thought of that relationship.
Yeah, but you have to admit, the idea of Bonds hitting behind Pujols is enticing.
So enticing that I’m now prepared to say you’re an idiot for not wanting to see it happen. What is wrong with you? Even if Bonds was suddenly implicated in revealing Anne Frank’s annex to the Nazis, why wouldn’t you want the best hitter in history to protect the best current player?
The Cards are better off without him. And so is every other team.
If this Players’ Association investigation does turn up any signs of collusion, I hope this guy understands that it’s people like him that were giving the teams cover to break the rules.