Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Reason To Celebrate Or To Cry?

Cynicism is not something I find flattering. And it is big news that Barry Bonds broke Henry Aaron’s all-time home run record. But I must say, with all sincerity, I am just glad it is over. It is not something I am going to reflect much on in the future. Well, at least until somebody else - probably Alex Rodriguez - starts closing in on the record. And, hopefully, this is a record that was made to be broken.
I did watch some of Bonds’ chase, but it was forced. I made myself do it because of what I do for a living, and because I feel compelled to comment about it, not for the joy of experiencing such a monumental moment. It was the same when I was in San Francisco for the All Star Game. It was obviously the big national story. I wrote two columns about Bonds. I did get into the media pile around Bonds as he spoke. Yet, I found the entire scene oddly morose.
It’s like when you’re watching the game and they flash into the stands and show his wife and his family. There are trying to show a human side to Bonds, and I salute ESPN for that. And Bonds was nice enough about breaking record, but you just don’t see the human side of him - regardless. Maybe it’s because of his normally sour attitude. Or perhaps it’s because of the steroid issue, but it’s almost like watching a robot instead of a ball player. It’s so cold.
I resent how Bonds, instead of unifying people in this quest, broke them apart. It became a racial issue. If it had been a different personality with no alleged cheating involved, race would have been a moot point - like it is when Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan - or any number of athletes of all different backgrounds - standout. It brought out the worst in Bud Selig. And that’s pretty bad. It put Aaron in an awkward position. It tarnished what was once, and sadly is no more, baseball’s - and perhaps all of sports - most-sacred record.
Yeah. Cynical. That’s how I feel about it. And believe me, I don’t like my baseball that way.

Random Thoughts

- I am very much looking forward to the Lions preseason opener. My whole view on the Lions is simple. I understand the natural optimism that comes from the start of training camp, but I feel it has been over the top this year. There is nothing tangible there. Nothing has been shown on the field. On Thursday, we’ll have a better idea if the Lions are any better because they will be on the field. They will actually be playing. It is only preseason. So it doesn’t mean that much. But it does mean more than what has been essentially meaningless rhetoric coming out of Allen Park.

- I have to admit, my first impressions of new Michigan State football coach Mark Dantonio are good. John L. Smith was off-the-chart goofy. It just wasn’t working. But I am not sure if Dantonio has the type of player personnel to quickly improve the Spartans. Playing the way he wants to play - power football - against Michigan, Ohio State and Notre Dame can be difficult. You need strength in the lines. Doesn’t seem like the Spartans have it. Nor much depth.

- Nate Robertson has shown flashes of really pitching well. He threw the ball exceedingly well against the Devil Rays Tuesday. Jason Grilli has not shown flashes of pitching well. That was ugly - again - Tuesday. But was it Grilli’s fault of Jim Leyland’s for putting him in that spot?

14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was really disappointed for Nate last night, and it is a situation that I believe that Jason Grilli should be able to handle. However even before Grilli gave up his first hit I was astonished and annoyed that Leyland took Nate out so in a way I do blame Leyland. I don't approve of the Tigers-fans booing Grilli though I think that shows little class, and I am ashamed of the so called Tigers fans that did that. You shouldn't boo your own guys, there is plenty of blame to go around for the Tigers recent slump and to put it on him was uncalled for. Not really a question here just a statement I guess.

11:07 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Anonymous,
This is more about statements than questions. And you made some good ones there. Robertson hadn't thrown 100 pitches yet, and pitched very well. I wasn't at the game, so I didn't ask, but I am guessing Leyland took him out to prevent him from losing because he has struggled of late. And they are probably monitoring him because he had those elbow problems earlier in the season. I don't like fans booing players, either. Not for poor performance anyway. Seems like kicking a guy when he is down. Grilli is a good guy, just not much of a pitcher lately. But he is a pro and it does, I suppose, come with the territory. Just why him in that situation? You're right. Leyland did leave himself up to second guessing in a number of ways.
Caputo

11:49 AM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Book,

The one peice of the whole Bonds thing has been Willy Mays - his Godfather - and his loyalty to Bonds.

Its a peice of the puzzle that seems jammed into fit.

I don't mean Mays isn't sincere in his loyalty or devotion, it is just to me anyways the opposite ends of a very broad spectrum.

Mays to me has always been equated with saintliness - deserved or not.

Grilli - last night I felt more bad for Grilli than anger - I guess because we won. I gotta believe he is giving his all out there.

That was a big deal that win, too! Earlier you told me that Raburn was a 4A player - if he is - I hold 4-a players in much higher regard now!

11:55 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
You're right about Raburn. He has done well and he is athletic. But a word of caution here: Remember Chris Shelton and Brent Clevlen. A couple solid weeks in the major leagues doesn't make a career. It's a start, but one that could fall apart. As for Willie Mays, he was really close to the Bonds family. So his support of Bonds is unyielding - and understandable.
Caputo

1:06 PM 
Anonymous Marty said...

Pat,

I am surprised that you call Raburn a 4A player. I could see calling Thames that, but not Raburn. Thames always tore up AAA, and never could hit consistently in the majors, but Raburn isn't really old enough to tab him in that category yet.

-Marty

p.s. Thames has shown that he can hit in the Majors over the last two years though. At least in spot duty, which is better than he had ever done before.

2:19 PM 
Anonymous Tony B said...

I don't blame the manager. Two outs, man on first, up 6-2 is hardly a tough situation to put a pitcher. You can't just run down your starters every time they have a decent game and we all know Leyland manages for the whole season. The problem is he keeps summoning Grilli '06 and then Grilli '07 takes the mound. For whatever reason it's just not the same. I keep waiting for Dombrowski to come out and get him instead of Leyland.

3:36 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Tony b,
Hey, I am with you on that one. You'd think Grilli would be just fine in that situation. But he hasn't been. It's happened a lot. That's why I don't blame him as much as Leyland for putting him out there.
Caputo

5:51 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Marty,
Time will tell on that. A plus for Raburn is he does have some decent tools. He also has a history, in the minor leagues, of flashing those tools and then not being consistent. And he's not a young kid. He's been at this awhile. Sometimes, though, players are late bloomers. The jury is still out on whether Raburn is.
Caputo

5:53 PM 
Anonymous Andrew Winkle said...

Pat the Book,

Watched the Wednesday night Grilli and the Tuesday night Grilli. All I can think to write is that I would trade Grilli, Seay, McBride, and even throw in Brydak for one Jamie Walker. Preferrably vintage '06. Maybe the Tigers should of ponied up for that good ol' boy.

Book, you keep throwing around this 4A term and somebody might revoke your HOF voting credentials. And we all know how serious you take that responsibility.

Don't forget to check your AL Wild Card race standings today. Whom do I read is tied with the Tigers? Is it the Yankees? No! Is it the Twins or Blue Jays? Nyet and Nada. Shazam, it is none other the Seattle Mariners.

Those "Left Coast" teams must be feeling like dear departed Rodney Dangerfield. They get "no respect".

12:21 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Andrew Winkle,
The Mariners lost seven games in a row at one point and it appeared they were falling by the wayside, but they have hung in there since. Grilli is fine if you use him when you are trailing, not protecting any kind of lead. The Mariners have a solid lineup, a couple very good starting pitchers and an excellent closer. They might be there at the end.
Caputo

1:50 AM 
Anonymous chief said...

Book, The Tigers are done I think. Majority of this game is starting pitching and it has been awful for a month. Have Bonderman and Verlander hit a wall? I think so.

7:17 PM 
Blogger maddog52 said...

I am very sorry book i can't be no where near as excited about the tigers as you are right now. I think it is an utter joke they lost 2 out of 4 from the sorry crap team Devil Rays. Bonderman has been awful. I understand he is young, but the dude needs to finally put it together. If we are going to pay him like an ace he needs to pitch like one. I think Leyland needs to get kicked in the rear a bit himself. Why in the hell do you keep starting Monroe. The guy isn't getting it done and we need some wins here. The tigers still have a chance, but there not looking good at all. Leylands adjustments have been bad. No I am not calling him a bad manager. I think the guy is the best manager we could have. I am just saying collectively now their should be some concern. It is rediculous to lose to the D-Rays. Robertson pitched well against the D-Rays lets see him do that against the Indians or Yankees. Then I might be impressed. He has been garbage all year. I am not buring the tigers nor am I jumping off the band wagon but I think everything I am stating is just the obvious.

As for the LIons I am interested more so then excited. I gave up being excited years ago. I will be intereste to see how the players are responding to Marinelli and Martz.

8:15 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Maddog52,
I don't think youth is much of an excuse for Bonderman anymore. He is experienced and well-paid. He has all the talent in the world. He just isn't getting it done. Period. And it's difficult to understand why.
Caputo

1:50 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Chief,
There is still much of the season left. The Tigers still aren't far behind. So done? That's premature. But it isn't looking good.
Caputo

1:52 AM 

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