Barry Bonds is a nice guy. Don’t believe me? Well let’s lay forth the evidence.
On Tuesday, the news came out that the all-time home run king had donated $20,000 to a group of journalists. JOURNALISTS!?! That’s like Lex Luthor and the Riddler holding a bake sale in support of the Justice League. It’s just hard to imagine it happening — unless that check was carved in kryptonite.
But wait there’s more. On Wednesday, just after Alex Rodriguez became the seventh member of the 600-homer club and we started talking about him one day becoming the all-time record holder, this messages pops up on Bonds’ web site:
“Congratulations Alex on hitting your 600th home run today, welcome to the club. Stay healthy and focused, you only have 163 to go. I’ll be watching and rooting for you along the way. Good Luck.”
And that’s it. No snarky remarks. No jealousy. No evil cackling accompanied with the promise to “get you if it’s the last thing I do!” The old guy sounds like he’s turning over a new leaf.
Unless, of course, this is all part of the plan …
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We’re not talking the 100 meters here. We’re talking practical baseball sprinting. That’s defined by the StatCast folks at MLB as “feet per second in a player’s fastest one-second window,” while sprinting for the purposes of, you know, winning a baseball game.
StatCast ranked all players who have at least 10 “max effort” runs this year. I won’t give away who is at the top of this list, but given that baseball’s speedsters tend to get a lot of press you will not be at all surprised. As for the bottom of the list, well, the Angels don’t pay Albert Pujols to run even when he’s not suffering from late career chronic foot problems, so they’ll probably let that one go. I will say, however, that I am amused that the third slowest dude in baseball is named “Jett,” however.
Lately people have noticed some odd things about home run distances on StatCast, suggesting that maybe their metrics are wacko. And, of course, their means of gauging this stuff is proprietary and opaque, so we have no way of knowing if their numbers are off the reservation or not. As such, take all of the StatCast stuff you see with a grain of salt.
That said, even if the feet-per-second stuff is wrong here, knowing that Smith is faster than Jones by a factor of X is still interesting.
All-Star voting ends this Thursday night, just before midnight eastern time. The All-Star teams — at least how they’ll appear before the dozen or two substitutions we’ll get before the game — will be unveiled on Sunday at 7pm on ESPN, just before Sunday Night Baseball.
Which means you still have time to alter these standings, which now stand as the final update before things are set in, well, not stone, but at least some Play-Doh which has been left out of the can too long and is kinda hard to mess with.