The reconsideration of Barry Bonds has begun

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In the past two days we’ve seen two columns from New York newspapers arguing that it’s time to reconsider Barry Bonds and get him in the Hall of Fame:

There’s not a lot of new ground gone over here. Mostly the idea that, now that the federal perjury and obstruction of justice charges against him have been formally dropped, there’s no reason to keep him out of Cooperstown. Color me less-than-impressed, both in terms of the arguments and the idea that it will change anything.

The idea that dropping the charges against Bonds makes a difference requires one to have considered them consequential to begin with. As we’ve argued many, many times around here, the charges were legally meritless, even if Bonds did lie under oath. They certainly had no bearing on his baseball credentials — which are beyond considerable — and little if any bearing on his actual history of PED use, which has been well-documented for at least eight years, mostly in the “Game of Shadows” book. If the PED stuff mattered to you before, the charges being dropped shouldn’t matter now. And of course if they didn’t matter to you before there is no way you didn’t support him for the Hall of Fame in the first place.

As for the prospects: it won’t make a difference. I seriously doubt his support exceeds 40% in the Hall of Fame vote in the next few years. And now that the time on the ballot has been reduced to 10 years from 15 there is even less time in which people can change their minds. I suspect that the anti-Bonds rump which will never change its mind is at least 50% and maybe even more. And of course you need 75% support for induction.

So, it’s a nice idea and one can hope that the best player in baseball in the past 40 years would make the Hall of Fame one day. I just don’t see how anything changed that would make that possible any time soon.

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

Minnesota Twis v Kansas City Royals
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.