Barry Bonds: "I don't lift as heavy weights anymore to be bulky"

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I suppose that’s low-hanging fruit. Alas.  Point is that Barry Bonds was back in San Francisco yesterday for the reunion of the Giants 2000 team/celebration of ten years of that nice ballpark they have. He hasn’t done much media lately because someone who is indicted on perjury charges is well-advised to never say anything to anyone, but he did give the press six minutes of his time. Highlights, such as they were:

  • Bonds had some nice words for Mark McGwire: “I’m proud of what he did. I’m happy for him.” From the video of the interview you can tell he”s talking about becoming a hitting coach, but you just know people are going to take that as Bonds saying he was proud of McGwire for confessing to using roids. 
  • Indeed, the next question from a reporter was asking Bonds if he could see himself “doing what Mark did,” and then quickly appending ” . . . becoming a coach” in a way that made it seem clear that the reporter was aware of the ambiguity between apologizing/coaching.  Bonds winced a bit until that “becoming a coach” part was added. You can tell he thought he was being asked if he was going to apologize.  Just kind of interesting to watch.
  • Bonds said that he wasn’t retired yet and wasn’t sure what he’d do in the unlikely event that a team called him. Seems to be that he was just being PR mindful about the subject, however. Rich Aurilia had just announced his retirement at the same event, Bonds probably knew it, so there’s no way that he was going to stomp on that with some announcement, formal or otherwise, of his own. Bonds can be a jerk, but he’s not so big a jerk that he’s going to rain on a former teammates’s parade.  My guess is that he just ends up doing it Rickey-style and never saying he’s retired because, really, what’s the point?
  • The quote in the headline came when it was noted that he was in shape. The full quote is fun for any of you who love to hate Bonds:  “I’ve just been working out a lot, that’s all. I work
    out all the time. It’s been in my genes my whole life. I
    just don’t work out as hard anymore. I don’t lift as heavy weights
    anymore to be bulky. I don’t know, I’ve got that Hollywood look.”

Fire away.

Astros push ALCS to Game 7 with 7-1 stunner against Yankees

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There’s just something about playing in your home ballpark. The Astros decimated the Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Friday, riding seven scoreless innings from Justin Verlander and a pair of big runs from Jose Altuve to win 7-1 and force a Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

Through the first four innings, however, the teams looked equally matched. Luis Severino no-hit the Astros through 3 2/3 innings, losing his bid on Carlos Correa‘s line drive single in the fourth. The Astros returned in the fifth to do some real damage, drawing two walks and plating the first run of the night with Brian McCann‘s ground-rule double off of the right field wall. Things didn’t get any easier for Severino. Jose Altuve lined a two-RBI base hit into left field, upping Houston’s advantage to three runs.

Verlander, meanwhile, muted the Yankees’ offense with seven innings of five-hit, eight-strikeout ball. While he didn’t come close to matching his complete game effort in Game 2, he was still plenty dominant against a struggling New York lineup. No player reached past first base until the sixth inning, when a pair of base hits from Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius gave the Yankees their first runner in scoring position. That didn’t last long, though, as Gary Sanchez grounded out on a 3-0 slider to end the inning.

In the seventh, Houston’s ace got into another spot of trouble. He walked Greg Bird on six pitches to start the inning, then plunked Starlin Castro on the wrist. Aaron Hicks struck out, in part thanks to a questionable call by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds, but it was Todd Frazier who presented the biggest threat after returning an 0-1 fastball for a 403-foot fly out to left field. Luckily for Verlander, George Springer was there to bail him out with a leaping catch at the wall.

The Yankees kept things exciting in the eighth, too. Aaron Judge ripped his third postseason home run off of Brad Peacock, taking a 425-footer out to the train in left field to spoil the Astros’ shutout. That was the only real break the Yankees got, however, as Altuve, Alex Bregman and Evan Gattis returned in the bottom of the inning to tack on another four runs, including Altuve’s solo shot off of David Robertson:

Ken Giles handled the ninth, expending 23 pitches and giving up a base hit and a walk before retiring Frazier and Headley to end the game. Thanks to Houston’s winning efforts, the two teams will compete in their first seven-game Championship Series since 2004 — and this time, at least one of them is guaranteed to come away with a win.

Game 7 of the ALCS is set for Saturday at 8:00 PM ET. Houston right-hander Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to face southpaw CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA).