Greetings from the Hoodwood, where no matter what team you root for, you won't get jumped
Defending the Indefensible Barry Bonds
In some respects I like Barry Bonds, between the lines he was one of the most feared hitters in major league baseball. He had the one of the most disciplined batting eyes in the game. No one player was pitched around more in baseball. He was at times an articulate player who respected the fundamentals of the game and its history, as a son of a gifted player knew the history and struggle of a black man in this game.
In some respects I detest Bonds, to put it succinctly he is an arrogant ass, someone who belittles teammates, ignores fans and acts like hes mad at everyone and that hed rather be somewhere else.
In some respects I feel sorry for Barry Bonds, a player that wants so desperately to be loved and respected as an icon like his godfather Willie Mays. A player that has been burdened with the high expectations of being the son of a major leaguer A player that was on talented but flawed Pirates and Giants team that only got to the World Series one time. For being a player that was five outs away from a long coveted title only to have it frittered away not of his own doing. A player that hit 73 homers in a season and 762 in his career and got yawned at when he broke both records. I saw him hit both 71 and 756 but most baseball fans ignored the feat or lambasted Bonds with taunts about steroid use.
Barry Bonds did steroids, lets just put that out there. Just compare the pics up top show a man who went from wiry and slim to the incredible hulk. I mean for petes sake look at the mans head. It went from a high top fade box to a pumpkinhead. I think he did steroids in a misguided attempt to cash in on the home run craze of the late 90s but it was his fate to not catch the love that was given to McGwire and Sosa. The public in general looked on with suspicion almost from the get-go and outside of the Bay Area was looked upon with scorn and derison. Bonds would have been a no doubt hall of famer even before the home run binge
His mistress gave damning testimony about how Bonds’ nuts shrank from its use. If that aint humiliating and a testament for NOT doing the juice I don’t know what is. Bonds does deserve to be in the hall of fame, I think he was a hall of famer based on his pre 1999 numbers, but the Hall of Fame voters are long to carry grudges, and players that have been given that scarlet letter of steroid use whether suspected in the cases of Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Bonds or proven like Rafael Palmiero the votes for induction into Cooperstown may be seriously lacking. As this column goes to press, the jury is still out on his perjury trial. This trial in itself is a pile of bullshit; the feds want someone, anyone to at least be the bad guy here. Why not the arrogant black man who no one likes in the first place. It seems that people were so quick to overlook the stammering McGwire or the "Speka no ingles" Sosa in front of Congress but see Bonds as the arrogant figure and face of steroids.
End of the ManRam Legend
In that same vein, I note the abrubt retirement of Manny Ramirez. The talented yet mercurial slugger who decided to retire instead of taking a 100 game suspension for his second violation of the banned substances policy. Ramirez was without question on of the most feared right handed hitters of our generation. I felt a bit of kinship with Ramirez because we are just a few months apart in age, and I followed his career from being a young talented slugger with the Indians to his big free agent move to the Red Sox in 2000 where he was World Series MVP in their breakthrough series win in 2004. ManRam was an oddball to be sure, his uneven play in the field and tendency to wander off mentally at times was laughed off at times and chided in others. He wore out his welcome in Boston, but made a splash in LA where he fueled a late Dodgers run to the NLCS. But his 50 game suspension for PEDs use last year darkened his career. It lends people to wonder how many of his 555 homers were PEDs enhanced. His second impending suspension makes people wonder what was he thinking to try the MLB drug policy a second time. We may never know, thus is a bizzare coda to a mysterious yet talented player who like Bonds may never get a sniff at Cooperstown.
Rory’s stunning fall
I admit that Im a Sunday golf watcher, I know just enough about the game to appreciate it. Short of playing on the PS3, Im no player. Chasing a little white ball around in the hot sun, is not my idea of a fun relaxing game. That said, I can appreciate that golfers are athletes and have to stay in decent shape to walk a golf course. I do admit that Im one that makes fun of Phil Mickleson, calling him hefty but he’s probably in much better shape than I could ever claim to be. I did take in the Masters over a pair of basketball games on a sun-splashed day and watched a scrum of sorts for the coveted green jacket for the Masters winner. Rory Mcilroy looked like the clear cut favorite after being 4 shots ahead of the field starting Sunday and the media wonks were already touting him as the next big thing in golf. I told my golf playing and watching friends, lets see how he plays the back nine on Sunday if he still has the lead or if someone makes a charge at him. Tiger Woods made such a charge, steaming through the front nine with a 31, a host of others like a pair of Aussies in Jason Day and Adam Scott, former Masters Champ Angel Cabrera and the redoubtable KJ Choi all picked up steam and closed the gap hard on the 21 year old. But instead of parrying the charge and standing tall, Mcilroy seemed to suddenly realize that he was on golf biggest stage and that he was out of his league. McIlroy came apart and fast, painfully fast. A triple bogey on 10, a bogey on 11, a double bogey on 12. He was starting to look like Greg Norman and his classic yet expected Sunday collapses at Augusta. But the nightmare continued, he found the woods on 13 and bogeyed 15. He dropped faster down the leaderboard than when Happy Gilmore was being mercilessly taunted by the “Jackass heckler” I even wondered aloud if someone was taunting him as he made the turn. He even looked spooked, McIlory fell from 4 up to 10 behind the winner Charl Swartzel of South Africa who’s steady play and closing rush of four birdies gave him his first tour win and he coveted green jacket. McIlroy shot an 80 for the final round, the worst final round ever for a 54 hole leader. His 43 on the back nine was testament to an epic collapse. But instead of slinking away and blaming everyone and everything else, McIlroy stood tall, accepted responsibility for his poor play and came out a sympathetic figure, he received many a warm ovation as he headed for the locker room. I felt for the kid myself, golf is a cruel game you can think that you’ve got the game licked and it rises up to slap you. I know that just from playing it on a video game. McIlroy learned it in a most humbling way on the most public of stages. But you can book that he will be a better player for it and he will be holding a claret jug or getting a jacket slipped on him before too long.
All in all, the final round of the Masters was all that it was cracked up to be: Full of drama and intense play. I was hoping that this would be the return of Tiger to prominence but instead the win by the low-key South African
Phat Dap/Head Slap
To the (real) fans of the Dodgers who have rallied behind the family of Bryan Stow the Giants fan that was senselessly beaten by so-called Dodgers fans in LA on opening day. Over 50 grand has been raised in the LA area for Stow. The Giants and Dodgers showed unity on the field as they pleaded with fans to act civily. The Dodgers/Giants is one of the fiercest in sports but its good to see that the more sane and rational fans are stepping up and showing that they are all not savages. And heres hoping that they catch the assholes who did this. They weren’t baseball fans
To Ian Poulter, who before the Masters was sharp in his comments that he thought that Tiger Woods was overrated and “would not make the top five in the Masters”. Woods finished tied for fourth and was among the leaders till the very end. Poulter should have been more concerned about his own game rather than predicting where Woods would finish as he shot 1-under for the tourney 13 shots off the lead and 9 behind Woods. He was never in contention finishing tied for 27th. Those with no game should not shot call, but really who the fuck was Ian Poulter and why should anyone have even cared what this chowderhead thought anyway?
Thats the view from the hoodwood, I'll holla at ya next week. I just gotta get these kids to stop playing my newly installed bluegrass..."Hey you damn kids you get off my lawwwwwn!"
Until next post fellow Sports Fans!