July 14, 2007
By Brian Gabrielle
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Much has been made about whether baseball commissioner Bud Selig will attend Barry Bonds' games over the next month, as Bonds inexorably draws near and then passes Hank Aaron for the sport's all-time home-run lead. Baseball Tonight does segment after segment about it. Talk radio can't get enough of the speculating. Every "expert" brought on to offer perspective is breathlessly asked whether they think Selig will be there, on a plane, following Bonds around the country, waiting for No. 756. Who. Cares.
Like everything else about the story of Bonds' chase, like everything else about Bonds, my interest in this issue is dead on arrival. I can't stand listening to all the writers and talking heads chirp about how Selig has to attend, because he's the commissioner of the sport. He has no choice, they say. Well, pardon me, but of course he has a choice. If he decides he'd rather not help glorify one of the biggest jerks on the planet, goodie for him. But what the hell do I care? Why the hell should you care? The whole thing's a farce. Who gives a crap if Selig, a corrupt, rich old man, is in attendance, to watch a corrupt middle-aged man play a kid's game with all the enjoyment and passion of a Mel Gibson rehab stint?
It's like wondering if Paris Hilton will be on hand to watch the latest Rob Schneider movie. They're both purveyors of garbage, right? Gosh, I can't wait to see if Paris is there!
Everyone with a brain knows Bonds was juiced, and probably still is. Anyone who's holding out is irrational, either because he's a Giants fan or because he has an axe to grind (race, media hatred, whatever). And please no more with the "He's innocent until proven guilty" garbage. That's the standard that decides whether a person goes to jail, not whether a person gets suspended, or gets vilified in the public eye. We all know the truth, and it's just annoying, stupid and sick. A better thing has never happened to Alex Rodriguez, because in eight or nine years, he's going to have more fans than he ever dreamed of, because he'll have a chance to eclipse Bonds.
So let's get it over with fast, Barry. Let's attend or not attend, Bud. You're all disgusting. The sooner this is over, and the less the media talks about it, the better for everyone's nausea.
What were the All-Star Game's results like for the books? Any idea why the TV ratings would be down 10% this year?
Bodog Bookmakers, Bodog.com: The game was a wash, with the AL taking the moneyline and the NL winning the runline. Bettors were on the AL for both. The biggest reason for the game's ratings downturn is the popularity of its competition on other channels; the game had to go head-to-head versus NBC's "America's got Talent" and "Big Brother 8" on CBS. It seems that the Jerry-Springer-hosted new-age Gong Show had enough appeal to pull people away from the Barry Bonds love fest.
What do you think will happen with Pedro Martinez this summer and fall? Will he return for the Mets and become the starting pitcher they obviously need? Will he influence the outcome of the National League?
Bodog Bookmakers, Bodog.com: The Mets' pitching staff has come together better than anyone would have expected. You have 41-year-old Tom Glavine bringing his best nearly every start, John Maine showing his ace potential, and both Oliver Perez and Jorge Sosa overachieving all season long. Martinez is a future Hall-of-Famer, but if he's not 100%, I don't see him cracking the rotation unless something happens to the aforementioned pitchers. If he's 100%, on the other hand, you can look for the Mets to solidify their status as favorites to come out of the National League.
Chauncey Billups officially re-upped with the Pistons, and Rashard Lewis signed with Orlando. Vince Carter (Nets) and Gerald Wallace (Bobcats) are also off the market. Who does that leave for NBA teams looking to spend dough? Anyone attractive to you?
Bodog Bookmakers, Bodog.com: The first thing I have to make clear on this topic is: Orlando overpaid for Rashard Lewis. Lewis is a very good player, but there's no way he's a max-contract player. His deal with Orlando makes the $57 million Charlotte doled out to keep Gerald Wallace look like a bargain. There isn't much left on the shelves at this point. Darko Milicic signed with the Grizzlies Thursday morning, which I think is the right fit, considering he'll have the chance to grow under Marc Iavaroni's up-tempo system. There are some good players out there, but not many teams have room under the cap. Morris Peterson would be a good fit for several teams: he's a great three-point shooter and a determined defender, but after last year's sub-par season he'll have to back off from asking for the mid-level salary exception. There's a good chance of a team stealing restricted free agent Anderson Varejao away from the Cavs; Cleveland is right at the luxury-tax threshold, and would have to pay double whatever Varejao is offered by another team: Varejao's salary plus the matching dollar-for-dollar luxury tax. Mo Williams is the best point guard available now that Billups has re-signed with the Pistons, but his value slid slightly after Memphis and Atlanta both picked up point guards in the first round of the NBA Draft. And other than those three, there isn't much else out there. Steve Blake could help some teams, but he won't change anyone into a contender.
Can you muster one ounce of enthusiasm for the Tour de France?
Bodog Bookmakers, Bodog.com: I was trying to thinking of a witty response, but sadly I've got nothing for you. Other than the upcoming cycle through the Chunnel, there isn't much to be intrigued over. The organizers have made a big deal about the riders signing a drug-free pledge. Yippee. With that said, the sport clearly has some serious issues. Lance Armstrong was the superstar of cycling. The TdF is definitely suffering from the void created by Armstrong's retirement.