No, the Giants don’t need to “do something” about Barry Bonds

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In light of the Barry Bonds trial going to the jury as early as today, Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury News has a concern:

Question: If the verdict is not guilty on all charges and Bonds wants to celebrate by making the short trip to AT&T Park for some baseball viewing, what happens? … Even more problematic: What if Bonds is found guilty of perjury and still wants to show up at a Giants home game a few hours later?

Considering that Pete Rose routinely takes in Reds games at the best seat in the park — and where he is always given a standing ovation when he is shown on the big scoreboard screen, which he invariably is — I fail to see the problem. Being found guilty or heck, even not guilty of perjury charges doesn’t make one ineligible to buy a ticket to a ballgame. And, unless Major League Baseball bans Bonds as a result — which it almost certainly won’t do —  nothing could stop Bonds from even suiting up for the A’s to DH or taking a job as the Assistant VP in charge of testicular atrophy policy for any major league team.

But Purdy goes on, noting that a Giants’ attorney has been watching the Bonds trial, and there he has heard the grand jury testimony in which Bonds disparaged Giants team employees. Here’s Purdy again:

None of those facts was contested. None of that testimony was denied by Bonds or anyone else. So tell me again: This is the man you want throwing out a ceremonial first pitch? Don’t think so. Not at my old-timers celebration.

Fact: the testimony Purdy is referring to took place in 2003, was widely reported on and has been public now for several years, as have the Kimberly Bell allegations he mentions, by virtue of her multiple interviews over the years. Fact: despite knowing this, Bonds threw out the first pitch at the NLCS last year and was met with a standing ovation. He has also been the guest at games of the Giants owners on multiple occasions.  If the Giants were cool with Bonds’ testimony for purposes of the playoffs last fall, I fail to see how they wouldn’t be cool with it now for an old-timers celebration.

Purdy acknowledges all of this later in the column, and he also acknowledges the Reds/Pete Rose thing.  What I don’t understand is how he can do that and still take his “what ever will we do?!” stance.  He’s demanding a solution to something that no one besides him thinks is a problem.

Like Pete Rose, Bonds may be a national pariah. But he’s not a local one, and the Giants of all teams — who are playing in a ballpark that likely wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for Bonds — shouldn’t make him into one.

Swanson, Olson go deep vs Scherzer, Braves take NL East lead

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ATLANTA — Dansby Swanson and Matt Olson homered off Max Scherzer, lifting the Atlanta Braves to a crucial 4-2 victory Saturday night over the New York Mets and a one-game lead in the NL East.

The defending World Series champions beat aces Jacob deGrom and Scherzer on consecutive nights to take their biggest lead of the season in the division. New York, which held a 10 1/2-game cushion on June 1, faces its biggest deficit of the year with four games remaining.

Atlanta will try for a three-game sweep Sunday night, with the winner earning the season-series tiebreaker between the teams. Even though both teams are headed to the postseason, that’s important because the NL East champion gets a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Swanson’s 24th homer, a go-ahead, two-run shot in the fifth inning, touched off a frenzy among the sold-out crowd at Truist Park, the ball sailing a few rows up into the seats in left-center to make it 3-2. Olson hit his 32nd homer in the sixth, a solo shot into Chop House seats in right to put Atlanta up 4-2.

Austin Riley led off the fourth with a double and scored on Olson’s single to make it 1-all.

Kyle Wright (21-5) gave up two runs and seven hits with one walk and three strikeouts in five innings as he won his eighth straight decision. The Braves have won 16 of his last 17 starts.

New York went up 2-1 in the fifth when Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil hit consecutive two-out singles.

The Mets led 1-0 in the first when Brandon Nimmo singled, advanced on a walk and a single and scored on Eduardo Escobar‘s groundout. Wright, who threw 30 pitches in the first, stranded two runners in scoring position to prevent further damage.

Scherzer (11-5) allowed a first-inning single to Riley and a third-inning infield single to Ronald Acuna Jr., who advanced to third on a fielding error by Lindor at shortstop but was stranded when Michael Harris II lined out to center. Scherzer patted his glove and pumped his fist as he walked off the mound.

Scherzer was charged with nine hits and four runs with no walks and four strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings as the Mets were knocked out of first place for only the third day all season.

The Braves have won five of the last six against New York to tie the season series 9-all, outscoring the Mets 37-16 over that stretch.

Atlanta’s bullpen, which posted a 1.70 ERA in September, got a perfect inning from Dylan Lee in the sixth. Jesse Chavez faced four batters in the seventh, Raisel Iglesias faced the minimum in the eighth and closer Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth for his NL-leading 39th save in 46 chances.

Since the Braves were a season low-tying four games under .500 at 23-27 after play on May 31, they have gone 76-32, tying the Los Angeles Dodgers for the best record in the majors over that span. They were a season-worst 10 1/2 games behind the first-place Mets on June 1.

Wright, the only 20-game winner in baseball this season, hasn’t officially become the first Braves pitcher to lead the league in wins outright since Russ Ortiz had 21 in 2003, but the Dodgers’ Julio Urias has 17 and can’t reach 20 before the regular season ends.

Wright will become the first Braves pitcher since Hall of Famer Tom Glavine in 2000 to lead the majors in wins. Houston ace Justin Verlander also has 17.

Wright began the game 1-4 with a 6.75 ERA in six career starts and one relief appearance against the Mets.

The Braves, who got homers from Riley, Olson and Swanson off deGrom on Friday, lead the NL with 240 homers.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: All-Star RF Starling Marte (right middle finger fracture) has yet to begin swinging or throwing. Manager Buck Showalter said Marte is experiencing less pain but not enough to take the next step in his recovery. Marte has been sidelined since Sept. 7.

Braves: RHP Spencer Strider still has not thrown as he gets treatment on a sore left oblique. Manager Brian Snitker said there is no timetable for the rookie’s return. Strider has been sidelined since Sept. 21.

NICE GLOVE

Harris ran back and jumped to catch Nimmo’s fly against the wall in center field for the first out of the third.

UP NEXT

Mets RHP Chris Bassitt (15-8, 3.27 ERA) will face RHP Charlie Morton (9-6, 4.29) as the teams conclude a three-game series.