Bonds's agent termed that conclusion the most irresponsible story in the history of journalism. As
far as I'm concerned, if sullen, swollen Barry Bonds trudges through a lobby at Disney World,
reporters have a free pass to imagine him bearing a tin cup, mooching for nickels.
The man with the outsized mandible has left himself open to such flights of fancy by consorting with
seedy types like the boys from Balco and a personal trainer-supplier. Major League Baseball, which
raked in the shekels from the steroid-driven home run frolics, is not about to bust Bonds or take
back a percentage of his home runs. But we all pretty much know what happened when Bonds used those
drugs and cream that people just kept giving him.
As it happens, Bonds agreed to a one-year, $16 million contract with the Giants, so he can collect
his 22 home runs to pass Henry Aaron's career record of 755, a chase that figures to be mostly
The steroid years -- if they are indeed over -- keep ticking, with the duration of Chernobyl. Mark
McGwire, the bulked-up behemoth who briefly held the single-season home run record, is on the ballot
for the Baseball Hall of Fame, but he is likely to be shunned by a significant percentage of the
voting baseball writers.
The New York Times does not allow its employees to vote for awards -- a sensible policy, since the
paper wants us to report news and comment on news rather than make news. So here's my opinion.
There are plenty of worthy candidates for the Hall this year -- Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr., both
no-brainers, and also Rich Gossage (more fearsome than Bruce Sutter) and Jim Rice (comparable to
Billy Williams and Tony Perez). Let McGwire wait a decade or two, by which time he may be growing a
second head from the androstenedione and whatever else he might have been using.
-- The New York Times
Dan Shaughnessy: "Hits or errors for GM?"
Hot stove? It's a scalding griddle for young Theo Epstein. He could get burned.
This past week was yet another demonstration of why ours is the best baseball town in America.
Certainly there are places where fans love their team unconditionally (remember St. Louis, Edgar
Renteria?), which makes for a cushy environment for players -- but there is no baseball region where
the team matters as much as the Red Sox matter here.
It is Dec. 10 and the local football team is possibly bound for its fourth Super Bowl in six years.
The Bruins are on the rise, the Boston College football coach bolted with a bowl game still on the
calendar (Chuck Fairbanks-like), UMass is playing for a national championship in football ... and
we're still wall-to-wall Red Sox. 24/7. Matsuzaka film at 11.
In our town, baseball news and non-news is breathlessly reported every day. Stuff happens so fast
your head spins around like the little girl in "The Exorcist." Manny going? Roger coming? Seventy
million dollars for J.D. Drew? Why Lugo over Gonzalez? Who is the closer? Can they sign Matsuzaka by
Thursday? When did Theo decide to go all Duquette on us? Whom does Curt have on speed dial? Oh, and
thanks for that championship, Keith Foulke, but don't let the door hit you in the butt on the way
Did we mention that Friday's New York Times featured a column by Hall of Famer Murray Chass that
indicated the Dodgers might file tampering charges against Boston (they haven't yet) and stated,
"People in baseball now seem to view the Red Sox as a team that feels it can operate outside the
rules ... the team seems to be the subject of resentment."
There have been a lot of Sox-centric winters through the years, but the dollar numbers keep rising
and so does the level of interest in the local nine.
Theo is the man in the middle. And he's newly vulnerable -- like a skinny small forward planted in
the paint, closing his eyes, and waiting to take a charge from Karl Malone.
-- The Boston Globe
Paul Sullivan: "GM out of hospital, but Cubs
Jim Hendry was released from an Orlando hospital Friday and was feeling better after a health scare
at baseball's winter meetings. But the Cubs may ask him to scale back his duties in the coming weeks
while he recovers from Thursday night's angioplasty procedure.
Hendry's doctors ordered him to remain in Orlando until Sunday. Hendry said the doctors wanted him to
"kick back" for a couple of days before getting on an airplane.
"I'm feeling really good," said Hendry, who expects to be back to work Monday. "I'm back to myself.
I'm very thankful to the guys that work with us who finally convinced me to go to the hospital. I've
had hundreds of calls and messages the last two days from people all around the game and friends of
"I'm very, very grateful for the support I've had from the people who care about me. I'm feeling a
lot better and very, very appreciative for everything people have done for me."
Cubs interim President John McDonough, saying he needed Hendry "for the long haul," plans to talk to
his general manager Monday and convince him to slow down a little. Hendry's top lieutenants-Gary
Hughes, Scott Nelson, Ken Kravec, Randy Bush, Paul Weaver and Chuck Wasserstrom-are front-office
veterans who can man the fort while Hendry rests.
Getting him to relax is another story altogether.
-- Chicago Tribune
Richard Justice: "Final thoughts on Drayton, Bud and the $76-million
We may never know why this went down the way it did. It couldn't have been about money. Andy
Pettitte's two-year, $32-million deal with the Yankees is huge, but it's not outrageous in this
market. Besides, it could have been structured to give the Astros relief in the first year. If there
was an alternative out there somewhere, that would be one thing. As far as I know, there's not. GM
Tim Purpura seems to be scrambling to find one after the Jon Garland trade fell apart.
It makes no sense to take a hard line after going nuts on the Carlos Lee deal. One day you're
spending like the New York Mets. The next day you're the Oakland A's. Maybe Bud Selig did apply
pressure to slow down in the wake of Lee's deal. Pressure has worked with Selig before. Some teams
ignore the commissioner; McLane doesn't. He wants to be a good soldier. McLane once ordered his
people to renege on an offer to a high school draft pick after the commissioner's office complained
about the deal being too high. That pick's name was Drew Stubbs. He was the eighth overall pick of
the Reds last summer after a nice career at UT. If he becomes a star, McLane will be reminded of his
mistake each time Stubbs come to the Minute Maid Park. (If Jimmy Barthmaier and Troy Patton become
bigger stars, it will have worked out. Barthmaier's contract prompted the commissioner's office to
complain about Stubbs. McLane apparently felt bad about pulling the offer off the table and allowed
his people to overpay the slot price for Patton the next year. Yes, this is way too complicated and
way too off the subject.)
(I'm not sure Bud Selig had much time to worry about the Astros this week. He just learned that
baseball's most hallowed record is going to be broken by a cheat. That's what Barry Bonds signing
with the Giants for 2007 means. How does he plan to convince Henry Aaron to be there when Barry Bonds
hits No. 756. For that matter, how will baseball handle it? Will it be ignored the way other recent
Bonds milestones have been? Will baseball hold its nose and pretend Bonds is not tainted by
The thing is, it's not a large amount of money. The two sides were within $2 million of an agreement
in 2007. If he stays healthy, his $16-million asking price for 2008 would have been reasonable. He
said he wouldn't exercise the option if he was injured.
Maybe it'll work out anyway. From the beginning of this offseason, you could make the case that the
Astros shouldn't do one thing in free agency, or to spend only on bargain-level players the way the
A's do. To do so, you have to have a GM who is (a) very good and (b) very confident this way will
work. You also have to be prepared for failure. Young players do fail -- at a high rate. That's why
the Yankees until recently didn't play many of them. They found out veterans didn't guarantee them
anything, either, but that's another story. Let's just say for the sake of argument, you do nothing.
You don't lose anyone, you don't keep anyone.
You fill your staff internally with Jason Hirsh, Fernano Nieve (bad elbow at the moment), Taylor
Buchholz, etc. You give Troy Patton and Juan Gutierrez every opportunity to make the jump from
Double-A to the big leagues. You can actually see this working out.
-- The Houston Chronicle
Other stories from Dec.11
"Tamper tantrum on tap? Red Sox, Dodgers could take gripes to MLB"
-- Boston Herald
"Fearing inflation at the same time as fueling it"
-- The New York Times
"In today's market, even Ohka may be beyond Nats"
-- The Washington Post
"With power low, Colletti must work the phones"
-- Los Angeles Times