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.

Clay Buchholz apologized to the Phillies for getting injured

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MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports that starter Clay Buchholz is at Citizens Bank Park for Wednesday night’s game against the Marlins. The right-hander recently underwent surgery to repair a partial tear of his flexor pronator mass. The timetable for his recovery is three to five months, but most are expecting him to miss the rest of the season since the Phillies aren’t legitimate contenders.

According to Zolecki, Buchholz apologized to GM Matt Klentak “and others” — presumably other front office staff and/or his teammates — for getting injured. Buchholz hopes to return to pitch in September.

It’s saddening to me, and indicative of the general anti-labor culture in sports, that a player feels obligated to apologize for getting injured on the job. Injuries are nothing new for Buchholz, which might have factored into his decision to apologize. Red Sox fans got on his case quite a bit over the years for his propensity to land on the disabled list. But it wasn’t like Buchholz was taking unnecessary risks; he simply did his job, which entails doing a lot of unhealthy movement with his arm. Buchholz owes no one an apology.

Buchholz isn’t the only player to have apologized for getting injured. Outfielder Hideki Matsui apologized to the Yankees in 2006. Starter Masahiro Tanaka apologized in 2014. Twins reliever Glen Perkins apologized last year. Even Madison Bumgarner sort of apologized for suffering injuries riding a dirt bike on an off-day, saying “It’s definitely not the most responsible decision I’ve made.” Because god forbid an athlete has interests and hobbies outside of his vocation.

Players are brought up in a sports culture that allows exorbitantly wealthy owners to bilk the players — laborers — at every possible turn. They’re mostly underpaid and poorly taken care of in the minors. If and when they reach the major leagues, their salaries are intentionally depressed for six years and their service time is toyed with (just ask Kris Bryant). Buchholz endured that and then endured the criticism that comes with having been a hyped prospect who mostly failed to live up to expectations. He’s gone above and beyond what he needed to do to have a successful career as a professional baseball player, even if it wasn’t as much as fans or front office personnel would have liked.

Eric Thames leaves game with apparent injury

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Update (5:22 PM ET): Thames is dealing with left hamstring tightness. Manager Craig Counsell says it’s “not a big deal,” Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

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Brewers first baseman Eric Thames left Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Reds in the top of the eighth inning with an apparent injury. Thames took his position to start the inning, but was replaced by Jesus Aguilar. Thames had flied out weakly to center field to end the previous inning, so perhaps something happened while he ran that out.

The Brewers should provide an update shortly on the exact nature of Thames’ early exit. Needless to say, losing Thames to the disabled list would be a huge blow to the 11-11 Brewers, as he entered Wednesday leading all of baseball in runs (25), home runs (11), slugging percentage (.929), and OPS (1.411). Thames was 1-for-3 with a single, a pair of walks, and two runs scored before leaving.