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Article:TWIB - The week in Baseball (May 11th)

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This was a weird week. Wicked weather in the East forced some games to be rescheduled and teams expected to be at the top struggle. Had to sit through a rainout while getting ready to listen to Atlanta-Pittsburgh. Then again, it’s only May and the All Star Votes have yet to be counted. Here’s a look at the week in Baseball (with apologies to Warner Fussel).

Bonds still out there… any takers? - Barry Bonds is still out there. According to the Associated Press, the union that is the voice for Major League Baseball's players has gone to bat for the former slugger, contacting the Commissioner's Office seeking information about why Bonds hasn't even been extended an offer.

Detailed information about negotiations for Bonds has been turned over to the union.

Bonds, the all-time leader with 762 homers, has declined to retire and says he still wants to play. He was told by the Giants this past September that his 15-year reign with the team was over and he would not be asked back.

My advice? Stay away from this man, teams! Run like hell or you'll turn into Baseball's answer to Lot's wife! He’s bad news for your clubhouse and a media nightmare! I would rather lose 100 games honestly and feel good about myself than win 100 games knowing I have a cheater on my team.

No dolls in locker room - For those of you not old enough to remember the movie "Major League," there is a scene in which the owner of the Cleveland Indians tells her players "You Stink" by sending them a cutout of her. The players see it as a challenge and with every win, a piece of clothing comes off. The Chicago White Sox took that one step further, some would say a bit too far. Sox skipper Ozzie Guillen, who obscenity tirades would make a Marine on shore leave blush, has his team in hot water, so to speak, because of two blow up dolls with bats in strategically-placed areas, with a couple of signs sitting around them, urging on the White Sox.

Now the team was called on the carpet, thanks in part to an article in a recent Chicago newspaper, stating that the dolls were not only lewd, they were inappropriate, because the dolls were in plain sight, where all can see it, including female reporters, who also have access to the locker rooms before and after the games. Oz, what were you thinking?!?! It’s sort of like your mom finding your stash of Playboys in your room. I understand the need to motivate but I think you went just a skosh too far.

Worldwide leader in sports, Rockwell clash… Boo no! (Apologies to Stuart Scott) - Curtis Publishing Co. Inc. has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan seeking to stop ESPN Inc. from re-broadcasting the series about the 1977 New York Yankees until it withdraws use of the painting by Norman Rockwell. The worldwide leader in sports used the classic Rockwell painting “Bottom of the 6 th,” which features three umpires looking at raindrops coming down, in their series, “The Bronx is Burning.”

The publishers claim that ESPN, owned by Disney, did not have a license to use the painting and was committing willful copyright infringement, the lawsuit said. The lawsuit further claims Curtis will suffer damage to its business, including loss of its reputation for exclusive ownership of its copyrighted catalog of illustrations. The painting, a classic that is now in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, first appeared in the April 23, 1949, issue of "The Saturday Evening Post." The original was donated to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, where it has been viewed by millions of visitors, the lawsuit said. Stay tuned and see if these two kiss and make up and ESPN shows them the money.

Twin cycles his way into record book - Carlos Gomez did something no Minnesota Twin has done since the days of Kirby Puckett. Puckett last did the deed August 1, 1986. Gomez hit for the cycle. Leading off the first inning after a long rain delay against the Chicago White Sox, Gomez belted the third pitch he saw from left-hander Mark Buehrle over the left-field fence for his second home run of the season. It was also the second time he's led off a game with a homer this season, doing the deed on April 24 at Oakland. He followed up the home run with a triple, the hardest to get for a cycle, a double and finally an infield single to finish off the feat. The only teams that have NEVER hit for a cycle? Tampa Bay, Florida and the San Diego Padres.

He is IRONMAN - Jeff Francoeur says that he doesn't plan on taking a day off, despite nagging injuries and has no intention of doing so. According to the Braves, the right fielder says, "I don't think about it," said Francoeur, who has started every game since Aug. 31, 2005. "As long as Braves manager Bobby Cox puts me in the lineup and shows that he thinks I can play, then I'll keep playing. There will come a time when he thinks I need to rest, and I'll be fine with that."Francoeur has played 361 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the Majors, and he plans to play an entire 162-game schedule for the third straight season.

(Devil) Rays are for real - Which team right now is the most dangerous? Boston? St. Louis? The Minnesota Twins? Good guesses but not quite. The most dangerous team right now is the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays. Winners of six of their last nine games, Tampa Bay finds themselves in second place behind the Boston Red Sox, who they swept in St. Petersburg a few weeks ago, Their pitching right now is the best, if not one of the best in baseball, including a sweep of the defending AL West Champs. James Shields tossed a complete game shutout of the Los Angeles Angels last Friday night at Tropicana Field and Scott Kazmir added to the Halos woes with six strong innings of work for another shutout in St. Petersburg this past weekend. This team has talent, so if you’re in the St. Petersburg area and they’re home, pay the Trop a visit! If they're in your hometown and playing your team, go see 'em! If they stay focused and healthy, this team could not only contend for the Wild Card, they could sneak up on Boston and win the division. Believe in the Rays, people!

Maddux reaches 350 - Finally some good news from San Diego. After getting swept by the Atlanta Braves last week and releasing outfielder Jim Edmonds, there is cause for celebration in San Diego. Greg Maddux is a joy to watch, whether he was a Cub, Brave or Dodger. He finally reached a milestone that may assure him of his own wing in Cooperstown, along with former teammates John Smoltz and Tom Glavine. Maddux finally won game number 350 Saturday night at Petco Park against the defending National League champs Colorado Rockies 3-2 Maddux is the type of person that would rather talk about the team than himself. Unlike a certain former San Francisco outfielder, he is accessible to the media and fans and has never been in any trouble whatsoever. A class act and deserving of Cooperstown when the time comes. The next active player after Maddux in wins in the National League? Tom Glavine with 303, good for tenth place among NL pitchers. Former Braves teammate John Smoltz follows Glavine with 210 wins, putting him in the 27th spot for National League pitchers.

Teams of the week - (AL) Tampa Bay... and deservedly so! (NL) (and I hate to say this, even if I am a Braves fan) Houston. They have been playing better baseball of late.


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