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To change things up, for today at least, I am writing a shorter roundup from spring training so I can comment on other baseball news.
Troy Tulowitzki and Steve Pearce became the first players this spring to hit their third home runs. Joe Borchard leads in doubles (5), and is second in RBIs (8) behind Shelley Duncan and Jolbert Cabrera (9).
Torii Hunter is having a torrid spring with 8 hits in 12 at bats. The amazing stat is that he has 7 extra base hits with 4 doubles, 2 triples, and a home run.
Phillies fans can't be too happy with the pitching of Adam Eaton, who has an 0-2 record with a 15.75 ERA, giving up 7 runs and 10 hits in 4 innings. Tom Gordon is having an even worse spring so far with a 16.20 ERA and has allowed 3 runs and 5 hits in 1 2/3 innings. Cole Hamels is 25th (and last) among Phillies pitchers with an 18.00 ERA, but has only pitched 2 innings so isn't much of a concern yet.
Kyle Kendrick has a 12.71 ERA and has given up 8 runs and 12 hits in 5 2/3 innings. Brett Myers and Jamie Moyer have done much better this spring giving up no runs, 4 hits, and no walks in 7 combined innings. Eaton is my main concern since he should be arrested for taking money under false pretenses pretending to be a major league pitcher after his disastrous 6.29 ERA of last season.
The AL spring training standings have the Tampa Bay Rays, who finished last in the AL East and 30 games behind the division winning Boston Red Sox, atop the standings. The Oakland Athletics, who finished the season next to last in the AL West and 18 games behind the division leading Angels, are in second place this spring. The Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers are tied for third in AL spring training standings. The Royals were last in the AL Central and finished 27 games behind the Cleveland Indians, while the Rangers were last in the AL West and were 19 games behind the Angels. Not much stock can be taken from the present standings since it is so early, but it gives these teams something to build on. It is up to them now to see if they can maintain their winning ways or revert back to the teams they were last season.
Barry Bonds Home Run Ball
Barry "Balco" Bonds has threatened to boycott the Baseball Hall of Fame if they place his 756th home run ball in the hallowed shrine at Cooperstown, New York. I am sure the Hall of Fame is really worried about his boycott. The only way he may ever enter the Hall of Fame is to buy a ticket like the rest of us. I can see it now when kids ask their parents why that asterisk is on the home run ball and they will have to say that it means he cheated to get the record.
Bonds could have made the Hall of Fame without any performance enhancers, but his ego was too big to let Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa hog the spotlight while both of them hit over 60 home runs that year with McGwire hitting 70. Meanwhile, Bonds only hit 37 that year and he couldn't stand to be left out of the spotlight, so he decided to try better living through chemistry at the Balco Laboratories.
His salary skyrocketed after 1998 when he made $8.9 million. He made $10 million plus in 2000 and 2001 then in 2002 and 2003 he made $15 million plus. In 2004 he made $18 million, and in 2005 he made $22 million. In 2006 and 2007, he made $19 million and $15 million respectively.
So his salary grew from $8.9 million to a high of $22 million, a difference of roughly $13 million, and all due to his sudden power resurgence. If not for performance enhancers he may have been out of baseball by the age of 40, but instead, he made $22 million at the age of 41. It is safe to say he made at least $100 million extra from cheating.
Not only did he reap statistical and financial rewards from cheating, he was 2nd in MVP voting in 2000 when he had his first big home run year hitting 49 that season. Then, he won four consecutive MVP awards to go with his three legitimately earned MVP awards.
Performance enhancers have enabled many players to win MVP awards they wouldn't have won otherwise. Barry Bonds, Ken Caminiti, Sammy Sosa, Ivan Rodriguez, Jason Giambi, and Juan Gonzalez have won MVP awards that they may not have won without performance enhancers.
So Bonds has singlehandedly skewered the record books, reaped a huge financial bonanza and won awards he more than likely would not have won by cheating. I would not be surprised to see him walk free after his perjury trial because he can afford the best lawyers. Bonds known for being tight with his money has to be regusted as they said on the Amos and Andy radio and television show at the idea of giving millions of his money to lawyers.
Juan Gonzalez Making Most of Chance
Juan Gonzalez has made the most of his chance to make the St. Louis Cardinals in spring training. He is hitting .333 and is slugging .600, but even if he does make the team, fans will wonder if he can stay healthy since only once in this century has he played more than 115 games in a season when he played in 140 games for the Cleveland Indians in 2001. He has not played in a major league game since 2005 and that was for only one at bat when he was injured during that at bat. He has played in only 34 major league games since 2003.
Because of the games missed due to injury, he may never enter the Hall of Fame. He may face the fate of Andre Dawson, who has 438 lifetime home runs while Gonzalez has 434. Dawson's last season was 1996 and twelve years later, he is still not in the Hall of Fame. Gonzalez will be 38 all this season, so he would like to add to his numbers and increase his chances of going into the Hall of Fame.
Clemens Adds IRS To Those Investigating Him
As if Roger Clemens didn't have enough problems he has the Internal Revenue Service investigating whether he purchased anabolic steroids or human growth hormone in the Houston area and they have been talking to a former employee of a fitness center who may have information about whether Clemens purchased the steroids.
Jeff Novitsky is the IRS agent working on the case. He had worked on the Balco case and was especially persistent in getting the information needed to prosecute Balco. This latest news can only further damage the legacy of Clemens who has vehemently denied using steroids before the media and before the House Oversight Committee.
Sometimes it is better to tell the truth like Jason Giambi did. Lying only acerbates the situation and if it is proved he is lying Clemens will face prison time and possibly never enter the Baseball Hall of Fame. I have to admit I believed Clemens at first because he seemed so indignant that anyone would accuse him of using steroids and seemed to be innocent of the accusations but with each revelation in the news it seems he has left a tangled web of lies behind him that is starting to unravel and reveal that Clemens is just a bad cheater as Balco Bonds.
Roger Clemens has proved the old adage of "What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive" still holds true today. It remains to be seen how long it will take the FBI and IRS to untangle this web of deceit.