Craig Calcaterra

Barry Bonds Giants spring

Before you hit “publish” on your A-Rod/Barry Bonds hot take . . .

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When I saw that Alex Rodriguez was training with Barry Bonds, my heart grew three sizes. Not because two of the best players of all time were working together, really, but because you know — you just know — that someone is gonna rattle off a hot take about it soon.

I’m not sure who it’ll be — maybe Madden, maybe Klapisch, maybe Lupica — but you know there will be some spittle-infused invective thrown about how A-Rod working with Bonds shows that he “just doesn’t get it.” How A-Rod doesn’t understand public relations. How cheaters stick together. How now, at long last, Rodriguez has finally forfeited the right to any benefit of the doubt. Never mind that these people haven’t given him any benefit of the doubt from anywhere between five and fourteen years.

I really can’t wait to read that stuff. But before we read it, a little reminder: Barry Bonds worked with the entire San Francisco Giants team last spring as an instructor and has personally and privately coached multiple other players in the past. The same Giants who just won the World Series. Other players whom no one criticizes for working with the tainted Home Run King.

Maybe the fact that this is no different than that which has happened in the recent past will cause the hot takers to think twice before going after Rodriguez once again. I kind of doubt it, but maybe it will. Either way, I just wanted to throw that out there.

Shockingly, Pete Rose backtracks on something he’s been saying for years

pete rose getty
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Every few months someone gets it into their head to interview Pete Rose and every few months we get a different take from the Hit King. Really, the guy takes the “let’s see if I can say THIS” approach to interviews, saying one thing one time and a completely opposite thing another, apparently believing no one keeps track of the stuff he says over the years.

His most recent subject of hilarious inconsistency is his stance on PED users and the Hall of Fame. For years he has made a point to tell people that, hey, he may have gambled on baseball, but he was no stinkin’ drug cheat. THOSE are the guys with problems and they were way worse. They “altered the statistics” of the game.

He even has a little rehearsed spiel too, in which he says “ask Babe Ruth, ask Roger Maris, ask Hank Aaron” etc., about how they feel that their records were broken by PED users, and how that’s the real ethical problem in baseball. He said this almost word-for-word in 2010 and said it again a little less than a year ago. He specifically calls out Barry Bonds for tainting both the single-season and career home run records.

Now, however, he’s taking a live-and-let-live approach:

A three-time World Series champion with Cincinnati and Philadelphia, Rose thinks some others denied entry in the Hall — due to links to performance enhancing drugs — belong.

“Would I vote for Roger Clemens? You’re damn right I would. Would I vote for Barry Bonds? You’re damn right I would. These guys are seven-time MVPs, seven-time Cy Young Award winner,” said Rose.

Keep hustling, Charlie. Maybe someday you’ll find some magic words that make everyone change their mind about you.

The 19th Greatest GM of all time made the Orioles a winner and picked the Yankees up off the ground

Lee MacPhail
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Mark Armour and Dan Levitt have written a book: In Pursuit of Pennants, which examines how front offices have historically found innovative ways to build winning teams. In support of that, they are counting down the top-25 GMs of all time over at their blog. Since it’s slow season, I’m going to continue linking to the countdown as it’s great stuff we rarely read about in the normal course.

 

The Yankees Dynasty spanned from Ruth and Gehrig, on to DiMaggio and through Mantle. The party ended in 1965 and did not resume again for over a decade. Funny, then, that the 19th best GM of all time ran them from 1966 through 1973. That’s Lee MacPhail, son of Larry, who helped sift through the wreckage of the latter part of that dynasty in the mid-60s and laid the foundation for three pennants and two World Series titles in the 70s.

Before that he built the Orioles up too, departing just as he brokered the deal to bring Frank Robinson to Baltimore. As MacPhail spent a year as the assistant to the commissioner, his Orioles won the 1966 World Series.

Like our last entry — Cedric Tallis — MacPhail didn’t stick around to help his teams hoist the World Series trophy. Unlike Tallis, however, it wasn’t because he was fired. He just moved on to other things. And he always did them well.

Johan Santana is drawing interest from the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Padres and more

Johan Santana
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The “and more” could be up to three additional teams interested in the former Cy Young Award winner’s services. At least if you believe Jon Heyman, who says that as many as a half dozen teams are looking at Johan Santana.

Santana hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 due to shoulder injuries, mostly. He’s 36 now and he’ll likely be in camp on a minor-league contract with the chance to compete for a bullpen job.

Yasiel Puig bought a house and it’s kind of boring and I’m sad

Paul Sancya -- Associated Press
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Yasiel Puig has purchased a house. It costs more than you or I could ever afford, but it’s apparently pretty modest by rich professional athlete standards.

As Variety describes it, it’s a “micro mansion” in Sherman Oaks, California. A lot of beige with relatively middle-brow finishes and flourishes. Upscale, sure, but within the upscale world, pretty cookie cutter in a cookie cutter neighborhood. The sort of place that maybe an executive or an attorney might buy with a jumbo mortgage but which represents a pretty modest and low-profile investment for a star of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Not sure what to think about this. On the one hand I’m glad he didn’t buy something crazy, because you know damn well that would inspire some “what is Puig thinking/this guy is irresponsible” chatter from the people who like to chatter at him. But on the other hand I’m sort of sad that he didn’t get a “Rockford Files”-style trailer on a beach or, say, the Chemosphere House.