Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron’s home run record five years ago today. Recently he sat down with Barry Bloom of MLB.com to talk about that, the end of his career, the Hall of Fame, his status as a felon and his good friend Roger Clemens.
It’s a pretty b.s.-free interview in which he offers the following:
- He wishes he was better with the media during his career, but he just isn’t wired that way;
- He thinks his career ended too soon — he wanted to play one more year — but was happy for the 22 years he did get and is glad he finished as a San Francisco Giant;
- He respects the Hall of Fame and believes he belongs (“There’s no doubt in my mind”) but he’s not going to be upset if the writers keep him out, saying that if they want to apply their moral standards to make it their Hall of Fame, that’s their business;
- He was happy Roger Clemens was acquitted and thinks everyone needs to lay off him. Personally, Bonds said he “will go to the end of the earth for that man.”;
- He wants to win his appeal, but if he loses he accepts that he’s been judged a felon, will do his sentence and move on; and
- He doesn’t want to be a uniformed, regular coach, but he does want to teach hitting for the Giants, saying “it would be a shame for what I know, to what I can give, to what I can offer, to let it go to waste.”
Lots of good stuff in there. It’d be different if he was deluded about his standing among the fans and the media, but he seems pretty realistic about it. It’s hard to disagree with anything he says.
As for the Hall, Bonds is going to be a lot of fun come voting time. Unlike all of the other PEDs dudes so far, there is no rational argument that he wouldn’t be a shoe-in absent PEDs. As Bill James once said about Rickey Henderson, cut him and half and you have two Hall of Famers. Dock him 300 homers and all of his post-1999 awards and he’s still a Hall of Famer.
So basically, if one doesn’t vote for Bonds, one is saying only one thing: any player who uses PEDs is morally unfit for the Hall.
Last night the Detroit Lions played the New York Giants. During the game Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford called an audible. The call itself referenced Stafford’s childhood friend and high school baseball teammate, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. From the Freep:
Matthew Stafford stepped to the line of scrimmage late in the third quarter and surveyed the Giants defense.
With five pass rushers across the front and three Giants cornerbacks showing a press-man look, Stafford looked at his two receivers to the left and invoked the name of his childhood friend, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw.
“Give me Kershaw here, Kershaw,” Stafford said, repeating his friend’s name two more times as he spun around at the line of scrimmage.
The audible did not result in a pick-4 to Aaron Altherr. It called for a run up the middle. And it worked nicely, gaining eight yards.
You may suggest the results of other starting pitcher-themed audibles in the comments. I’ll start: “Harvey! Harvey!” is where the QB fakes a handoff, drops back, looks deep and then his arm falls completely off. Damndest thing.
Matt Harvey‘s season was mostly a loss due to extended time on the disabled list. He’s been given a chance, however, to end the season strong and make a case for himself in the Mets’ future plans. Unfortunately, he has been unable to make that case. He was shelled again last night, and his late season opportunity has been a disaster.
Last night Harvey gave up seven runs on 12 hits and struck out only two batters in four innings against a Marlins team that, until facing him anyway, had been reeling. It was his fourth start since going on the shelf in mid-June and in those four starts he’s allowed 21 runs, all earned, on 32 hits in 14.2 innings, for an ERA of 13.19. In that time he’s struck out only eight batters while walking seven. His average fastball velocity, while ticking up slightly in each of his past four starts, is still below 95. Back when he was an ace he was consistently above that. His command has been terrible.
Injury is clearly the culprit. He had Tommy John surgery just as he was reaching his maximum level of dominance in 2013. While he came back strong in 2015, he was used pretty heavily for a guy with a brand new ligament. Last year he was felled by thoracic outlet syndrome and this year a stress injury to his shoulder. Any one of those ailments have ended pitchers’ careers and even among those who bounce back from them, many are diminished. To go through all three and remain dominant is practically unheard of.
Yet this is where Matt Harvey is. He’s 28. He’s still arbitration eligible, for a team that is, to put it politely, sensitive to large financial outlays. While his 4-5 start opportunity to end the year may very well have been seen as a chance to shop Harvey to another team, his trade value is at an all-time low. It would not be shocking if, on the basis of his recent ineffectiveness, the Mets considered non-tendering him this offseason, making him a free agent.
Someone would probably take a chance on him because famous names who once showed tremendous promise are often given multiple chances in the big leagues (See, Willis, Dontrelle). But at the moment, there is nothing in Harvey’s game to suggest that he is capable of taking advantage of such a chance. All one can hope is that an offseason of rest and conditioning will allow Harvey to reclaim at least a portion of his old form.