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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For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: