Bonds Trial Update: What’s an orchidometer?

16 Comments

If you haven’t come up with a good name for fantasy team yet, it may be helpful for you to know what an orchidometer is.  According to testimony in the Barry Bonds trial yesterday, it’s a medical instrument used to measure testicles. Yes, that’s a picture of one.

You’re welcome.

The existence of orchidometers was explained to the jury by Larry Bowers of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency as a means of creating a medical foundation for Kimberly Bell — Bonds’ ex-girlfriend — who will testify next week about Bonds’ alleged shriveling berries. I would not be at all shocked if Bell was handed one of these things on the stand next week. It could very well be the “if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit” moment of the Bonds trial.  Or at least I’m hoping against hope it is because that post and three dozen others afterwards would write themselves.

Anyway, Bowers explained other steroids side effects too in anticipation of hat size and shoe size testimony. Not that he was unscathed on these topics: under cross examination he admitted that there really are hardly any controlled scientific studies of these things — doctors have ethical problems with doping otherwise healthy people to find out the side effects — but that tests on baboons and anecdotal evidence of East German athletes bear it out. Oh, and of course we have a good decade’s worth of “just look at the size of his head!” baloney from sportswriters pretending that they know the first thing about performance enhancing drugs.

I still don’t understand why Bonds’ lawyers didn’t — on Day One — say “yes, Barry Bonds took steroids. He was unaware of it at the time, but by the time the BALCO investigation made the news, he got a clue.”  Doing so would be wholly consistent with his grand jury testimony as I read it. It would also preempt and make irrelevant all of this talk of his hat size, shoe size and — most importantly — his testicles.  It just seems to me that if the defense is trying to make the case that no, Barry Bonds didn’t ever take steroids, they’re going lose on that point. I read “Game of Shadows.” To deny that Bonds took steroids is to live in fantasy land. They should keep this a case about lying under oath, not drug use.

But then again, if they did that, we wouldn’t have learned what an orchidometer is. And now that I have that knowledge, I really don’t want to go back to a world in which I didn’t.

Yasmani Grandal signs a four-year, $73 million deal with the White Sox

Getty Images
7 Comments

The first truly big free agent signing of the offseason has gone down: the Chicago White Sox just announced that they have signed catcher Yasmani Grandal to a four-year, $73 million deal.

Grandal, 31, was the best catcher available in free agency. He is coming off a fine year with the Milwaukee Brewers, with whom he had to settle for a one-year pact in 2019. He hit .246/.380/.468 with 28 homers and 77 driven in. It was his fourth straight season with 20+ homers. While his catching has been criticized due to some high-profile mistakes in the postseason, the two-time All-Star once again proved himself to be one of the best pitch-framers in the game if not the best. Between the bat and the glove he has a claim to being one of the best all-around catchers in baseball.

The signing leaves open the question of what happens to James McCann, who was himself an All-Star this year. It’s not that hard a question, of course, as Grandal is a far superior catcher to McCann in every respect. The Sox could make McCann a backup. Alternatively, they could try to trade him to fill other holes on the roster.

The White Sox finished 72-89 in 2019 but are showing signs of coming out of rebuilding mode and into contention mode. This signing pushes them a big step into that direction.