bonds in att park

No, the Giants don’t need to “do something” about Barry Bonds


In light of the Barry Bonds trial going to the jury as early as today, Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury News has a concern:

Question: If the verdict is not guilty on all charges and Bonds wants to celebrate by making the short trip to AT&T Park for some baseball viewing, what happens? … Even more problematic: What if Bonds is found guilty of perjury and still wants to show up at a Giants home game a few hours later?

Considering that Pete Rose routinely takes in Reds games at the best seat in the park — and where he is always given a standing ovation when he is shown on the big scoreboard screen, which he invariably is — I fail to see the problem. Being found guilty or heck, even not guilty of perjury charges doesn’t make one ineligible to buy a ticket to a ballgame. And, unless Major League Baseball bans Bonds as a result — which it almost certainly won’t do —  nothing could stop Bonds from even suiting up for the A’s to DH or taking a job as the Assistant VP in charge of testicular atrophy policy for any major league team.

But Purdy goes on, noting that a Giants’ attorney has been watching the Bonds trial, and there he has heard the grand jury testimony in which Bonds disparaged Giants team employees. Here’s Purdy again:

None of those facts was contested. None of that testimony was denied by Bonds or anyone else. So tell me again: This is the man you want throwing out a ceremonial first pitch? Don’t think so. Not at my old-timers celebration.

Fact: the testimony Purdy is referring to took place in 2003, was widely reported on and has been public now for several years, as have the Kimberly Bell allegations he mentions, by virtue of her multiple interviews over the years. Fact: despite knowing this, Bonds threw out the first pitch at the NLCS last year and was met with a standing ovation. He has also been the guest at games of the Giants owners on multiple occasions.  If the Giants were cool with Bonds’ testimony for purposes of the playoffs last fall, I fail to see how they wouldn’t be cool with it now for an old-timers celebration.

Purdy acknowledges all of this later in the column, and he also acknowledges the Reds/Pete Rose thing.  What I don’t understand is how he can do that and still take his “what ever will we do?!” stance.  He’s demanding a solution to something that no one besides him thinks is a problem.

Like Pete Rose, Bonds may be a national pariah. But he’s not a local one, and the Giants of all teams — who are playing in a ballpark that likely wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for Bonds — shouldn’t make him into one.

Maybe Alcides Escobar shouldn’t bat leadoff

Alcides Escobar

Alcides Escobar finished with a .292 OBP this year. He came in at .246 in 117 at-bats in August and .257 in 109 at-bats between September and October, so he wasn’t exactly flying high entering the postseason. Still, that didn’t stop Ned Yost from putting him into the leadoff spot for Thursday’s Game 1 against the Astros.

Yost finally did reconsider hitting Escobar first in September. It took Alex Gordon‘s return to health, plus the previous addition of Ben Zobrist to the lineup, in order to make that happen. However, it didn’t stick. Escobar hit ninth in each of his starts from Sept. 7-26, batting .236 with a .276 OBP during that span. With five games left to go, he was suddenly returned to the leadoff spot. The Royals went on to win all five games. Yost saw it as a sign, even though Escobar went 5-for-22 with no walks in those games.

Escobar went 0-for-4 in Thursday’s loss to the Astros. He did not swing at the first pitch of the game, which probably explains the defeat.

It’s been difficult to argue with Yost since last year’s World Series run and this year’s incredible run out of the game. The blind spot with Escobar, though, gets rather infuriating. One can defend hitting him leadoff against the Astros’ lefties. His career OBP against southpaws is .319 (.316 this year). Against righties, he’s the most obvious No. 9 hitter alive, with a career .258/.290/.342 line (.252/.284/.314 this year). He’s not a pace-setter. He’s not a spark plug. He’s a liability.

Astros top Royals in Game 1 of ALDS

Houston Astros' Jose Altuve, left, celebrates with teammate Luis Valbuena after scoring a run during the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

After shutting out the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday, the Astros beat the Royals 5-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium. Road teams are now 4-0 to begin the 2015 postseason.

The Astros grabbed an early 3-0 lead against Yordano Ventura through two innings. Chris Young took over for the Royals after a 47-minute rain delay and was very effective for the most part, allowing just a solo homer to George Springer over four innings while striking out seven batters. Colby Rasmus, who homered in the Wild Card game, took Ryan Madson deep in the eighth inning to give the Astros’ bullpen some extra breathing room.

Collin McHugh stayed in after the rain delay and ended up tossing six innings while allowing just four hits and one walk. Kendrys Morales did all the damage against him with a pair of solo homers. He’s the first Royals player to hit two home runs in a postseason game since George Brett in the 1985 ALCS.

The Royals’ offense showed some signs of life in the bottom of the eighth inning with back-to-back two-out hits against Will Harris, but Oliver Perez got Eric Hosmer to foul out to end the threat. Luke Gregerson tossed a scoreless ninth inning to finish off the victory.

Consistent with their identity during the regular season, the Astros won despite striking out 14 times. The same goes for the Royals, as they struck out just four times. Despite putting the ball into play more often, the Kansas City lineup wasn’t able to muster anything aside from the home runs by Morales.

Game 2 of the ALDS will begin Friday at 3:45 p.m. ET. Scott Kazmir will pitch for the Astros and Johnny Cueto will get the ball for the Royals.

George Springer homers to extend Astros’ lead over Royals

Houston Astros' George Springer (4) celebrates with teammates after scoring a run in the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
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After Kendrys Morales brought the Royals within one run in the bottom of the fourth inning with his second solo home run of the game, George Springer took Chris Young deep in the top of the fifth to extend the Astros’ lead to 4-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS.

According to Statcast, the ball traveled an estimated 422 feet and left Springer’s bat at 109 mph. Royals fans are happy it was just a solo home run. It could have been worse, as Jose Altuve singled to lead off the fifth inning before being thrown out trying to steal second base during Springer’s at-bat.

The Royals will try to answer as we move to the bottom of the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium.