In 2011, right after Bonds was convicted of obstruction of justice, Jon Heyman had this to say about Barry Bonds:
While I do believe Bonds took steroids, I don’t believe all steroid users should be excluded from the Hall of Fame. I’m not here to sit in moral judgment of another human being.
I was rather surprised at that when it happened, but was quite pleased too, lauding him for his sensible take.
Heyman did not cast a ballot for Barry Bonds in this year’s election, however, saying he “didn’t want to reward the cheats.” He went on Twitter last night to congratulate his colleagues for taking a stand against the steroid guys too, quite proud of barring the doors to the Hall of Fame to the likes of Barry Bonds.
Everyone is entitled to change their mind, of course. Indeed, the worst thing is for someone to make up their mind once about something and never reconsider it again. Facts on the ground change, people mature and their opinions change. We should always revisit or conclusions and test our convictions about things lest we turn into stubborn, calcified stumps.
But I’m not sure what happened in the past 21 months to change Heyman’s so thoroughly about Barry Bonds, and he has done nothing to explain why, in April 2011 Bonds was a Hall of Famer in his eyes and in December 2012 he couldn’t abide the thought.
According to STATS, INC., the average game in 2015 was 2 hours, 56 minutes. That’s six minutes faster than games in 2014.
The gains came in the first half, when games averaged 2:53. Second half games averaged three hours even. One can probably thank the expanded rosters in September for that, as games then see many more pitching changes. Of course, it’s likely that second half games were faster in 2015 than 2014 as well given the rules changes.
Those changes: agreement to enforce the rule requiring a hitter to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box and the installation of clocks timing pitching changes and between-inning breaks in ever ballpark.
It remains to be seen if MLB stays satisfied with that modest improvement or if chooses to go the way Triple-A and Double-A leagues did. They installed 20-second pitch clocks and started penalizing violators with balls and strikes. Triple-A’s two leagues, the International and Pacific Leagues, saw game-time decreases by 13 and 16 minutes, respectively.
I’m so old I remember when general managers used to run baseball operations departments. Now they’re basically assistants.
The latest example: the Oakland Athletics have promoted Billy Beane to vice president of baseball operations and have named David Forst general manager. Forst has been with the A’s for 16 years and has been Beane’s assistant for 12 years, so it’s not exactly a situation in which Forst will be making the final calls. The official move came today, though the move has been in the works for some time, it seems.
Someone with a lot of good front office access is going to write a good story this winter about the title inflation going on in Major League Baseball over the past year. And it’s gonna be great when one of his or her sources breaks the pattern of saying “well, baseball transactions are so much more complex these days . . . ” and admits “hey, if Theo gets a fancy title and La Russa gets a fancy title I WANT A FANCY TITLE TOO.”
Not that it’s much of a secret as it is.