The Barry Bonds trial has a jury and now Greg Anderson is on deck

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Twelve people have been picked to sit in judgment of Barry Bonds. A couple of them are baseball fans, but not serious ones. They haven’t heard of BALCO or, if they have, they don’t know anything about it, really. I sometimes find myself surprised that someone could not know anything about this stuff but then I remember that I do nothing but read about baseball all day. If you asked me the first thing about any off-the-ice hockey news, for example, I couldn’t tell you a damn thing and I’m nominally a member of the sports media. It doesn’t shock me at all that you can find 12 people who are largely ignorant of the Barry Bonds case in a single day of jury selection. Guys like this tend to get left off juries.

According to the Daily News, one of the jurors is a young woman who graduated college Phi Beta Kappa, which makes me wonder who actually puts that down on official forms of any kind even if they are Phi Beta Kappa. Another flew choppers in Vietnam. One is always tempted to stereotype jurors based on this sort of information, but you almost always find yourself surprised by how they vote and what they thought about the trial when you interview them after a case. Everyone has jury horror stories, but for the most part people take the job seriously. They’re not perfect, but my experiences with juries are one of the things that allow me to maintain confidence in the system.

With a jury seated, today is the day that Greg Anderson gets called before Judge Ilston again, will refuse to testify again and, unless Judge Ilston is just sick of the guy, she will likely send him back to jail again.  One has to marvel at a person who is so committed to a course of action that has no apparent upside for him. A lot of commenters around here have said in the past that Bonds has to be paying the guy off or something, but if there’s one thing the government is outrageously good at doing it’s tracing money. If Anderson shows any amount of financial largess in the next decade — and I mean even if he buy premium gas or super-sizes his value meal — he’ll likely have IRS agents tracing his accounts back to his grade school paper route and monitoring them until his dying day, eager to see if they can find anything with which to bring new charges against Bonds and Anderson.  The upshot: I’m skeptical that Anderson’s refusal to testify is premised on some kind of payoff, be it promised, assumed or merely wished for.

Of final note was Judge Ilston’s order to the jurors, as reported in the Mercury News:

The judge and lawyers stressed in jury selection that the case, despite its dramatic connection to steroids and baseball, centers on allegations about lying under oath to a grand jury. “You must decide the case on the evidence presented at trial,” Illston told the potential jurors. “You will not be asked to decide whether you like or don’t like steroids.”

And with their theory blown out of the water, the government likely frantically re-wrote their opening statements and direct examinations.

Onward into the trial. Ray Ratto of CSN Bay Area has a most excellent scene-setter for us. This story needs someone with Ray’s sense of humor covering it.  Stick with him throughout and this will all seen less depressing.

Ron Darling rips Mets trainers after yet another player goes down with an injury

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Last night starter Robert Gsellman became the latest Mets player to go down with an injury when he strained his hamstring while running out a ground ball. He’s certain to go on the disabled list, making him the sixth Mets starter to go down this year. He’ll join Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Juan Lagares, Neil Walker, Matt Harvey, David Wright, Jeurys Familia and many, many other Mets on the DL.

Mets broadcaster Ron Darling is fed up with it. Last night, after Gsellman went down, he went off on the Mets trainers, who he believes to be enabling all of this:

“[These] trainers, get them in a room with some of the old trainers and people that took care of baseball players and how to keep them healthy. And get them in a room and try to tap into their knowledge on how you train baseball players — not weightlifters, not six-pack wearers — baseball players. They’re doing a disservice to their million-dollar athletes that they’re paying. It’s a joke to watch this happen each and every night.”

Here’s video of his rant:

Darling is certainly tapping into a frustration a lot of Mets fans feel. For years the Mets injury issues have vexed the fanbase, less so for the sheer number of them — other teams have had more DL trips for their players — than for the manner in which they were handled and/or discussed by the team. They’ve often been loathe to use the disabled list even when it makes sense to and have, at times, run guys out to play despite there being serious red flags which would counsel most teams from doing so.

But is he right about why the players are getting injured? It’s a commonly held bit of conventional wisdom that players using weight training and being muscular makes them more brittle, but I’m unaware of any science that backs that up (if you have some, please pass it along, I’d genuinely be interested in reading it). Maybe it’s true, maybe it isn’t, but Darling seems so certain about it.

He could be right. But I also suspect that Darling may be falling prey to some back-in-my-dayism that retired players often exhibit. Are players getting injured more or are they merely being diagnosed better? Are they getting more seriously injured, or are they just taken out of action more quickly rather than be left to play through injuries like so many old timers have claimed they had to back in the 50s, 60s and 70s? Fireballers used to try to hang on as junkballers after suffering elbow injuries that today would send a guy to surgery. There was a much greater tolerance for lumbering slow dudes who might take it easy with a bad hammy as opposed to getting shut down now.

None of which is to say that Darling is wrong, necessarily. Like I said, maybe there is something to the idea that weight training and musculature makes a player more brittle. But I am always loathe to nod along with an old player who says the science and medicine surrounding sports has regressed compared to where it was back in his day. It may be true, but it’s counterintuitive given how science and medicine usually work. And when you offer a counterintuitive take like that, I think you need more evidence than your frustration at an injury occurring in front of you in real time.

Bryce Harper is pretty clearly messing with people

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Not too long ago some rumors popped up about Bryce Harper wanting to sign with the Cubs when he hits free agency following the 2018 season. Such rumors are sort of silly this far out — and they almost always tend to be non-predictive of where the player eventually goes — but they tend to get folks excited or concerned, depending on who they root for.

With the Cubs in town to face the Nationals, Harper was asked about those rumors again. He wisely dismissed them, saying he had no idea where that stuff comes from. Which is what someone in his position should say.

Not that he’s not going to have some fun with it. Check out his Instagram post with friend Kris Bryant. Specifically, check out the hashtag:

#Back2BackOneDay is, of course, an implication that he’d be hitting behind Bryant in the same batting order.

Harper is no idiot. He’s not going to use social media, in the middle of a season, two seasons before he could even potentially play elsewhere, to send genuine signals about wanting to leave the Nationals and join the Cubs. He’s just messing with the rumormongers. As he TOTALLY SHOULD by the way, because rumormongers deserve to be messed with.

Not that the rumormongers won’t take this a genuine evidence of his intent. The rumormongers aren’t big on subtle humor.