Thursday, February 26, 2009

Why The Continuing Steroid Issue

It's too late for baseball to have an immediate effect with banning steroids. They have left this issue untouched, yet with complete knowledge for two decades now. I would like to propose that many players are faced with the following difficult position consisting of three possible scenarios from which to choose:

Scenario #1 - I'm using steroids. If I stop using, my production will fall off, my career will be over, and I will be out of baseball.

Scenario #2 - I'm using steroids. If I keep using them and get caught, my career will be over, and I will be out of baseball.

Scenario #3 - I'm using steroids. If I keep using them, and somehow manage to avoid detection, either by inside information or just luck of the drug testing draw, my career will continue, I will have success, and baseball will still be part of my life.

This is not an argument for or against steroid use, but it shows why the problem continues and why players who continue to use steroids, even in the current climate and environment, are not as "stupid" as most people would like to believe. Does anybody see a similarity between the first two scenarios, and a difference for the third?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Baseball On The Radio!

Today is a wonderful day on the calendar. It was the first game of the cactus league season for the Giants (spring training) and the first game broadcast on the radio. After an entire winter of silence, simply hearing a baseball game on the radio is the best music I can think of. I am a fan, and an avid fan at that.

But, my fandom does not mean that I hang on every pitch of a game and ignore all else. For me, listening to games on the radio is a daily event during baseball season, but I enjoy it at least as much as background music as I do paying attention to every pitch. It is soothing to the soul and easy upon the mind. That we are completely spoiled here in the Bay Area with wonderful announcers that communicate the game so beautifully makes me want to live here forever.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Clinching Games

I've been to three games that were the deciding games of the World Series. Game 5 in 1988, Game 4 in 1989 and game 4 in 1990. In each game, the winning team celebrated. I've also been to three games that decided a pennant. Game 5 of the 1989 NLCS, game 4 of the 1990 ALCS and game 5 of the 2002 NLCS (walk-off win). I've also been to game 3 of the 1981 ALDS western division (strike forced) series.

I've also seen Giants division clinches in 1997 and 2000. I'm not sure about others, as I may have seen an A's division clinch in the '88-'92 period.

Not only have I never been to a game 7, I've never been to a game 6. Maybe someday...

Monday, February 16, 2009

A's Disregard Their Own History

I'm often struck at the difference between the A's and Giants in how they treat their respective histories. Both teams started out as original teams in their respective leagues, the Giants in New York (moving to San Francisco in 1958) and the A's in Philadelphia (moving to Kansas City in 1955 and again to Oakland in 1968). The Giants celebrate their history, flaunt their history, relive their history. The A's seem to neglect - sometimes on purpose - much of theirs.

The Giants fully embrace their history in New York. With the A's, one would hardly know they played in Philly or KC. The Giants have retired uniform numbers for New York players, the A's don't for Philly or KC players. The Haas family, when they owned the A's in the 80's and 90's, seemed to shun the Charlie Finley years almost fully. They recognized hall of fame players and retired their numbers, but didn't greatly celebrate even their 3 consecutive World Series championships of the early 70's.

I wish the A's would embrace their entire history and teach their fans about it. While their history might not be quite as rich as the Giants or Yankees, it's still pretty good.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

NL West Oddities

The last time the Dodgers played in a World Series was 1988. Every team in the NL West -- from either alignment, pre-'94 or post-'94 -- has won a pennant since then. The Giants ('89 and '02), Reds ('90), Braves ('91, '92, '95, '96, '99), Padres ('98), Diamondbacks ('01), Astros ('05) and Rockies ('07).

Since the last time the Giants won the NL West in 2003, every current NL West team has made the playoffs. Dodgers ('04, '06, '08), Padres ('05, '06), Diamondbacks ('07) and Rockies ('07).

Time to get that old rivalry into another pennant race. I'd love to see a Giants/Dodgers NLCS.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A-Roid Shocker?

I've never understood the argument that goes like this: Bonds put up such ridiculous numbers in obtaining his records; numbers that could have only been put up by using steroids. But now, there's a new breed of player in Rodriguez and Pujols that don't use steroids. I can't wait for them to shatter Bonds' records just to spite him and his cheating.

Uhhm, numbers that could only be reached by using steroids will be surpassed by even more astronomical numbers by players who never used steroids at all? This doesn't make sense. But now the "truth" is out, and nobody should be surprised in the least.

What concerns me far more than A-Rod using steroids is the trust that was broken in breaking a promise of privacy concerning test results. That's the real crime. Baseball and its weasel leaders (read: Bud Selig) completely allowed this problem to go on for decades now, profiting from it all the way. Now they are more than happy to see all the blame go onto the players.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Bud Selig is alone in holding the dubious distinction of having a steroids scandal take place right under his nose; both as an owner and as a commissioner. He wouldn't even stand up out of his seat to acknowledge Bonds' tying of Aaron's record, yet he acts like the whole thing is a tragedy.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Pee-Wee Red Sox

Okay, our four year old was drafted by the pee-wee Red Sox team. He had his first practice today, and it was muddy. He was intimidated by the format and group of other kids, and didn't think he was good. But, I think he'll do okay after a while. He loves all the peripheral things about baseball, like shopping for cleats, wearing his batting gloves and baseball jersey.