Bonds Trial Update: What’s an orchidometer?

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If you haven’t come up with a good name for fantasy team yet, it may be helpful for you to know what an orchidometer is.  According to testimony in the Barry Bonds trial yesterday, it’s a medical instrument used to measure testicles. Yes, that’s a picture of one.

You’re welcome.

The existence of orchidometers was explained to the jury by Larry Bowers of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency as a means of creating a medical foundation for Kimberly Bell — Bonds’ ex-girlfriend — who will testify next week about Bonds’ alleged shriveling berries. I would not be at all shocked if Bell was handed one of these things on the stand next week. It could very well be the “if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit” moment of the Bonds trial.  Or at least I’m hoping against hope it is because that post and three dozen others afterwards would write themselves.

Anyway, Bowers explained other steroids side effects too in anticipation of hat size and shoe size testimony. Not that he was unscathed on these topics: under cross examination he admitted that there really are hardly any controlled scientific studies of these things — doctors have ethical problems with doping otherwise healthy people to find out the side effects — but that tests on baboons and anecdotal evidence of East German athletes bear it out. Oh, and of course we have a good decade’s worth of “just look at the size of his head!” baloney from sportswriters pretending that they know the first thing about performance enhancing drugs.

I still don’t understand why Bonds’ lawyers didn’t — on Day One — say “yes, Barry Bonds took steroids. He was unaware of it at the time, but by the time the BALCO investigation made the news, he got a clue.”  Doing so would be wholly consistent with his grand jury testimony as I read it. It would also preempt and make irrelevant all of this talk of his hat size, shoe size and — most importantly — his testicles.  It just seems to me that if the defense is trying to make the case that no, Barry Bonds didn’t ever take steroids, they’re going lose on that point. I read “Game of Shadows.” To deny that Bonds took steroids is to live in fantasy land. They should keep this a case about lying under oath, not drug use.

But then again, if they did that, we wouldn’t have learned what an orchidometer is. And now that I have that knowledge, I really don’t want to go back to a world in which I didn’t.

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).