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.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.
Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.
It’s not known yet what kind of contract the two sides are negotiating. It could be a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, a non-guaranteed major league contract, or a guaranteed major league contract.
The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.
Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.
President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.