Viewer Mail 3.29.2011

Books, Management, Media, Paul Lebowitz's 2011 Baseball Guide, Players, Spring Training

Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett:

I don’t think Hughes is the #3 pitcher because he’s being coddled in terms of pitch count. I think the choice was all about A.J. and giving him confidence by not demoting him to #3.

It’s a fair point.

But we both know Hughes is going to be watched this year and they really can’t afford to baby him with the rotation in the state its in. I hold steady with wondering if Joe Girardi is going to take the bullpen-based strategy to its logical conclusion and overuse his relievers. And now with Pedro Feliciano hurt they’re more stretched. Plus Rafael Soriano isn’t assimilating to the culture all that well and if anyone’s being coddled, it’s him.

They’ve got issues and don’t fall into the trap of, “oh, the Yankees will just make a trade at mid-season”. It’s not that simple anymore.

Franklin Rabon at As If I’m Really Conscious writes RE Barry Bonds and perjury:

I will say one thing about the various perjury cases involved with steroids. The government takes perjury very seriously, regardless of what the subject matter is. I think the sort of error that a lot of us are making when looking at these trials, as farcical as they may seem, is looking at them from a steroids/baseball angle. That really doesn’t have much to do at all with why these cases are being brought. If you want to point the finger at the government interjecting itself, it was the hearings on steroids in the first place. Once you lie to the government under oath, the die is cast.

Barry Bonds may well be acquitted of perjury, despite the fact that it’s relatively obvious that he did indeed lie under oath, but do you think others in a similar situation will be a bit more wary of lying under oath? You bet.

Another fair point and Franklin’s a lawyer.

The Kimberly Bell testimony turned out to be far more damaging than was initially suggested it would be; if Bonds really confessed to using steroids, then it comes down to if the jury believes Bell—NY Times Story.

But the suggestion that he couldn’t perform sexually isn’t within the confines of steroid side-effects I’m familiar with and I have read up on the subject from the likes of the late bodybuilding guru Dan Duchaine.

It’s the exact opposite in fact. If they’re going by the typical steroid factoids, then it has to be allowed that Bell wasn’t familiar with the increased libido that’s another hallmark of steroid/HGH use.

I understand that they’re using Bonds as an example, but given some of the crimes people who lie are charged with I’ve never been of the mind that lying under oath is going to be a line they wouldn’t cross. For people who might lie to protect someone, yes, this might be a deterrent.

I still can’t get past the “no turning back now” concept that the government feels they’d lose face—win or lose the trial—if they cut a deal or didn’t try as hard as possible to convict him. They know he’s not going to do hard, if any, time.

We’ll have a result soon enough.

Jeff at Red State Blue State writes RE Brendan Ryan and “WINNING”!

To think the Cardinals success or lack thereof was dependent upon Brendan Ryan is… asinine. Seriously.

Jeff is referring to my posting from Sunday afternoon and the NY Times article equating winning games with….something other than reality.

You can twist that into anything!! Literally. Did they have Jobu—the good luck charm from Major League? How about the clubhouse man? Did he have something to do with it?

It’s like the woman who sat behind home plate during the 1986 World Series rotating her arms—did that “distract” Calvin Schiraldi, Bob Stanley and Bill Buckner and play a part in the Mets comeback victory?

It’s ludicrous.


I’ll be a guest on two podcasts tomorrow. In the afternoon, I’ll be on with Sal at SportsFanBuzz; in the evening with Mike on NYBaseballDigest.


Paul Lebowitz’s 2011 Baseball Guide is available.

I published a full excerpt of my book here.

It’s available now. Click here to get it in paperback or E-Book on I-Universe or on Amazon or BN. It’s also available via E-book on

Now it’s also out on Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook.



Admirable And Bizarre

Media, Players

In case you were unaware or thought it had disappeared, the Barry Bonds perjury case is still going on.

From a logical (and non-legalese infused) perspective, one would think that Bonds’s lawyers could have plea bargained to end this. Realistically, if he’s convicted, how much jail time—if any—do you think he’ll get? And would he be in some hard core federal lockup or a country club/halfway house?

People don’t care anymore.

And for those that say, “he broke the law and deserves to be punished”, well, technically this is true; but realistically, is the world going to be a safer place with Barry Bonds incarcerated? If Bonds is convicted, is it going to preclude others from lying under oath when it suits them? When they think they’re infallible and untouchable? When they’ve become so accustomed to getting their way because they can hit a baseball, run fast or perform feats of athletic derring-do?

Of course not.

For most of their lives people like Bonds were allowed to slide because of who they were and that they had a rare talent; naturally he and Roger Clemens felt they could do whatever they wanted and would have it taken care of in the aftermath.

But the BALCO case and Clemens’s own PED problems are causes célèbres—they won’t go away because those prosecuting and presiding over the cases can’t let them go away despite the implicit knowledge that they’re wars of attrition with no good coming out of them for anyone.

But the Bonds case is still moving forward and in today’s New York Times, this piece focuses on former Bonds trainer Greg Anderson and his continuing refusal to testify in the case.

Regardless of what you think of PEDs and whether or not they were a stain on the game perpetrated by baseball’s bosses, the players or the flunkies like Anderson and Brian McNamee, there’s something admirable about Anderson taking the bullet and keeping his mouth shut.

You can be cynical and suggest that Bonds or others protecting Bonds have told Anderson that he’ll be taken care of financially if he takes the heat; you can accuse Anderson of a misplaced sense of right and wrong; but that doesn’t take away from the fact that Anderson has kept quiet; he’s refused to betray the people for whom he worked and is willing to face the consequences for that act.

Considering how quickly people sell out and do what’s best for them individually, it’s somewhat respectable in an ethical—if not legal—way.

As for the Bonds case, if the reporting in the article is accurate, I’m not sure how they’re going to get a conviction given the witnesses they plan to call in lieu of Anderson. This again lends credence to the question of what the point of all this is. Is it crusading for self-aggrandizement or is it going to serve the public good to try and convict Bonds?

The most bizarre testimony will come from Bonds’s former mistress Kimberly Bell.

(Judge Susan) Illston said she would allow testimony of Kimberly Bell, Bonds’s former mistress, that related to the physical and psychological changes she saw in Bonds.

Prosecutors said those changes would include how Bell noticed the shrinkage of Bonds’s testicles and the worsening of his sexual performance, which the government says indicate steroid use. The judge also will allow Bell to describe an incident in which she has said Bonds grabbed her by the throat and threatened her.


And the physical and psychological changes in Bonds are related to what exactly? Because Bonds was acting like a jerk to his mistress that’s easily connected to drug use? Bell noticed changes in Bonds’s physical body? And what proof is that of anything? I’m no lawyer, but as a layman, this goes far beyond the scope of circumstantial evidence and enters the realm of the bizarre. What’s one thing got to do with another? And how would she know what the changes meant if she didn’t see Bonds shooting or ingesting the drugs?

What’s the baseline for Bonds’s sexual performance? Was there a template? A ratings system? Who’s to say that Bonds’s performance didn’t decline because he got bored with Bell and was behaving in a perfunctory fashion? It’s the same leap of logic.

As for the grabbing “her by the throat and threatening her”, did Bonds ever need a drug to act like a jerk? He was accused of physical abuse by his first wife when he played for the Pirates, was skinny and looked like a member of New Edition rather than when he was with the Giants and took on the visage of a linebacker for the 49ers.

What’s one thing got to do with the other?

This is all a waste of money and time and both sides should’ve made it go away a long time ago.

The government is representing the people; and the people don’t care.