Barry Bonds returns to AT&T Park; fans cheer, media grumbles

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Barry Bonds just ran out onto the field before the Phillies-Giants game, where he and other past Giants stars threw out the first pitch.  When he appeared: a loud ovation from the crowd.  I looked to the Twitter feed and this is what I see from Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times:

SF Giants make you wonder if they have a clue. Bonds throws out first pitch. You can catch him again in March at his federal perjury trial.

I think the Giants have a perfectly good clue. They’re clued in to the fact that their fans got 15 years of some of the most phenomenal baseball that has ever been played from Barry Bonds. They’re clued in to the fact that, however PED-aided that performance was, the fans still enjoyed it and now remember it fondly. They’re clued in to the fact that hardly any of them give a rat’s kiester about a perjury prosecution that, the longer it drags on, the more it appears to be a persecution. They’re clued in to the fact that even those who disapprove of Bonds for his legal and ethical issues surely can’t be bothered by him throwing out a simple ceremonial first pitch. They’re clued in to the fact that pretending their past stars who have been tainted with PED associations don’t exist is silly, and unlike the Yankees and Cubs, aren’t going to scrub those players from team history. Or at least try to.

Baker is a guy who, though I often disagree with him, certainly never shies from grappling with the big issues in the game. And for that I respect his work. But in this instance, I do wish he’d remember that it is just a game, those big issues notwithstanding.

People enjoyed watching Barry Bonds hit. Who are we to take that away from them? Or even to want to?

2017 Preview: The American League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League East

Boston may have the most talent and, in Mookie Betts, the best player. The Yankees have the best farm system. Baltimore has all the dingers and the best closer. Toronto may have the best collection of heels, at least in the view of fans of the other AL East teams.  The Rays have the best . . . hmm. I’ll get back to you on that.

Anyway, here are our previews for the American League East:

Boston Red Sox
Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays

Steven Matz likely to start season on DL; Zack Wheeler to adhere to innings limit

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Mets manager Terry Collins said on Wednesday, “It’s unlikely that [Steven Matz] will start the season with us.” The final spot in the Mets’ starting rotation will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo, Newsday’s Marc Carig reports.

On Wheeler’s innings limit, assistant GM John Ricco said, “There’s going to be some number but we don’t exactly know what that is.” Wheeler missed the last two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Neither Wheeler nor Lugo have had terrific springs as each carries a 5.11 and 5.56 Grapefruit League ERA, respectively. However, Carig notes that Wheeler has impressed simply by appearing healthy and brandishing a fastball that once again sits in the mid- to high-90’s. Lugo, meanwhile, proved crucial to the Mets last year, posting a 2.67 ERA across eight starts and nine relief appearances.