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Thread: ESPN piece (Bashing Bonds, praising Jr.)

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    Fielder's Indifference fisch11's Avatar
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    ESPN piece (Bashing Bonds, praising Jr.)

    Don't forget Griffey ... the best of his generation
    By Jeff Pearlman
    Special to Page 2

    Though the ritual is now as much a part of spring training as freshly cut grass and Bengay in the rookie's jock, I continue to find it equal parts perplexing and annoying.





    AP Photo/Eric Risberg
    Think Barry's teammates really enjoy hanging out with him?Barry Bonds reports to Scottsdale with the Giants, throws darts at the media, treats the team's equipment managers and publicists like dirt -- then goes all cute and cuddly on us.


    Remember last year, when Bonds dressed up as Paula Abdul (only with larger breasts -- which is alarming, considering that his are real)? Or how about a few years earlier, when he jumped through hoops to declare his love for Jeff Kent, aka The Man Bonds Wants To Swallow a Grenade.


    This year, the scene involved new San Francisco ace Barry Zito, who on Wednesday posed for pictures alongside Bonds as both men laughed and smiled and wore T-shirts reading "DON'T ASK ME Ö ASK BARRY!"


    Oh, boy.


    It is, of course, a ploy; an attempt by His Big Headedness to temporarily con us into thinking that, gosh darnit, Barry Bonds really is one heckuva guy. And remarkably, it works. Teammates laugh at his jokes, fans clamor for autographs and ooh and aah at his gothic BP home runs, reporters -- desperate for a story after one too many "Pedro Feliz looks to be in great shape" features -- feed us the inevitable drivel (and trust me, you will see this):


    By Joe Schmoe
    Baseball Suckup


    After years of alienation, Barry Bonds seems to be having more fun than ever. Now nearing the end of his career, he appreciates the game like never before, and has attacked spring training with a renewed vigor.


    "You can just see the difference," says Biff Sniff, a Giants teammate. "Barry is relaxed and at ease. He's just one of the guys."


    Approximately 2,215 miles away, in Sarasota, Fla., there is a man who deserves better. Who deserves your attention and affection.


    Once, when Reds slugger Ken Griffey Jr. was a 20-something wunderkind patrolling center field for the Seattle Mariners, reporters and fans flocked from across the map to watch him in spring training. Griffey was "The Kid" -- a seemingly happy-go-lucky, backward-hat-wearing puppy dog who could hit, field and run with the gusto of a Willie Mays and the pop of a Mickey Mantle. He was the future of the game, and along with Bonds, one of its two best players.


    He also happened to be a major pain in the ass.


    Back then, Griffey had an attitude. He would offer snide answers to relatively intelligent questions. He would complain about a lack of respect, and -- if the mood struck -- insult anyone within striking distance. People would tiptoe past his locker, eager to avoid any sort of exchange. It was what one would expect from a pampered brat at the height of his profession, and it grated the masses.


    In other words, he was Barry Bonds.





    AP Photo/Al Behrman
    Junior, pitching to his son Tevin, looks pretty comfortable this spring.The thing is, Griffey changed. As Bonds allegedly loaded up on the drugs and piled up the statistics, Griffey began to decline. One injury followed another -- a sprain here, a break there -- and his once-daunting speed vanished. What followed was a drop-off in Griffey's outfield defense; it was still very good, just no longer Gary-Pettis-meets-God. The bat seemed to slow down a bit, too. What can you say? Getting old bites.


    With his decline, however, came something beautiful. Ken Griffey Jr. seemed to truly start appreciating the game. He took on a leadership role in the Cincinnati clubhouse, mentoring Adam Dunn as if he were a younger brother. He cracked jokes left and right; bounded out of the dugout with renewed vigor; exchanged smiles with Sean Casey. It was almost as if, with mortality, Griffey discovered fun. For the first time, he was seeing baseball through the eyes of the Scott Fletchers and Kiko Garcias and Shawn Abners and Dan Pasquas of the world; the mediocre denizens who make up 90 percent of the big leagues and struggle each day to survive. Griffey no longer took his abilities for granted. Instead, he cherished what he once was and appreciated what he had left.


    Following the 1998 season, during which Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa launched the Home Run Chase that Really Wasn't, Griffey and Bonds -- near-lifelong acquaintances -- met up in Florida. Bonds confided in Griffey that he was about to start taking some "hard-core stuff" to keep up with the big boys.


    Griffey nodded, but knew all along it wasn't for him.


    At the time, the decision was mostly about the reality at hand: Griffey already ranked near the top of the profession. Why be greedy?


    Yet with what we know now, that day should go down as a landmark. It was the day when Barry Bonds decided to cheat and break all the records, and Ken Griffey Jr. decided to be honest and fade. It was the day when Barry Bonds decided he was bigger than the game, and Ken Griffey Jr. decided the game was bigger than him. It was the day Barry Bonds committed himself to greed. It was the day Ken Griffey Jr. committed himself to happiness.


    That's the rub -- isn't it? Most anyone who knows Bonds will tell you his life is one miserable sinkhole. He is an awkward, off-putting man with the social skills of a knee brace. His marriage is, at best, scarred by years of infidelity. His relationship with the two children from his first marriage is strained. His closest friends are all on his payroll, and his post-baseball future looks to be an endless line of autograph shows.


    Yes, he will pass Hank Aaron's all-time home run record at some point this season. But when he does, what will the mirror tell him? That he is a cheater. A liar. A man who did wrong in breaking the mark of the classiest of legends.


    As for the soon-to-be 38-year-old Griffey, the injury bugs continue to bite. This past December he broke his hand wrestling with his three children. And, with the certainty of a Hall & Oates reunion tour, other breakdowns await.


    With 569 career home runs, Griffey sits comfortably in 10th place, a mere 26 away from leapfrogging Sosa into fifth. But whether he does so hardly matters. Griffey is a baseball legend -- perhaps not the best player of his generation, but undeniably the best clean one. He can sleep at night and never worry about federal agents or a grand jury or a tarnished legacy.


    Of course, don't ask me.


    Ask Barry.
    "Are you trying to say Jesus Christ can't hit a curveball?!"

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    Re: ESPN piece (Bashing Bonds, praising Jr.)

    I liked the article because it says something nice, but I think the authors out right hatred of Bonds is causing him to overlook somethings from Griffey.

    Griffey is still pretty prickly with the media, he still is overly sensitive. In many ways he's still spoiled.

    But we should enjoy him for all the reasons the author mentions; He is doing it the right way and above all he respects the game.
    When people say that I donít know what Iím talking about when it comes to sports or writing, I think: Man, you should see me in the rest of my life.
    ---Joe Posnanski

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    Re: ESPN piece (Bashing Bonds, praising Jr.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoosier Red View Post
    I liked the article because it says something nice, but I think the authors out right hatred of Bonds is causing him to overlook somethings from Griffey.
    This is the kind of piece any monkey with a typewriter could've written...

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoosier Red View Post
    He is doing it the right way
    He is allegedly doing it the right way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoosier Red View Post
    and above all he respects the game.
    I'm having trouble seeing the evidence of this....
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    Re: ESPN piece (Bashing Bonds, praising Jr.)

    Wow that ESPN sure is a creative bunch thinking of this angle. That is why they are the sharpest minds in all of sports I guess
    2006 Redzone mock Draftee's- 1(st) Daniel Bard(redsox), 1(st sup)( Jordan Walden (Angels), 2(nd) rd.- Zach Britton(Orioles), 3(rd) Blair Erickson(Cardinals), 3(rd) Tim Norton( Yankees),(cuz its a Tim Hortons thing

    Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory... lasts forever.

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    The Mad Monk Jaycint's Avatar
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    Re: ESPN piece (Bashing Bonds, praising Jr.)

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post

    He is allegedly doing it the right way.

    You know something the rest of us don't?


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    Re: ESPN piece (Bashing Bonds, praising Jr.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaycint View Post
    You know something the rest of us don't?

    apparently......we shouldn't be acting like we know anything one way or the other when we don't possibly have a clue.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    Re: ESPN piece (Bashing Bonds, praising Jr.)

    I suppose you suspect Griffey because his wasteband isnt size 31 anymore? Thats from age, not drugs.

    There is no indication or hint of a sliver of proof that Griffey ever took anything to improve his game.

    Bonds has all the physical and mental makings of a person hopped up on body enhancements. Griffey never has. Its disappointing you have to hint that you cant accept Griffey as clean on the face.

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    Re: ESPN piece (Bashing Bonds, praising Jr.)

    Quote Originally Posted by smith288 View Post
    I suppose you suspect Griffey because his wasteband isnt size 31 anymore? Thats from age, not drugs.
    Where did I accuse him of anything? I simply said people have no way of knowing so they should quit assuming they do....more importantly, they should quit making statements suggesting they do.... I'm actually making a much more honest argument: we have no reason to assert an affirmative one way or the other so therefore it is inappropriate to do so.

    Quote Originally Posted by smith288 View Post
    There is no indication or hint of a sliver of proof that Griffey ever took anything to improve his game.
    God this has been argued ad nauseam lately but there are a lot of performance enhancing substances that wouldn't be expected to cause dramatic changes in the body. Consider this too....Ryan Franklin is a confirmed steroid user...he's hardly muscle bound.

    Quote Originally Posted by smith288 View Post
    Bonds has all the physical and mental makings of a person hopped up on body enhancements. Griffey never has. Its disappointing you have to hint that you cant accept Griffey as clean on the face.
    Once again, people have no clue one way or the other so, please people, just quit pretending that you do.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    Re: ESPN piece (Bashing Bonds, praising Jr.)

    IF Jr. took any kind of enhancement, that might explain the constant leg injuries. Very good point about Ryan Franklin. Steroids will not make you muscle bound in and of itself. Player A and Player B could be taking the same enhancements but look different because of the way they train. Lifting heavier weights, different diet, and etc. I have a feeling if the names come out who tested positive before, there would be some real surprises. Having said all of that, I don't think Jr. ever has. He was, at his peak, the best player I have ever seen. If not for injuries, Barry Bonds or not, people would be talking about him as perhaps one of the top 5 players in history. Despite the injuries he's 10th in career homers and 25th in RBI's. Amazing. But an unluckier player I have not seen. No amount of money would make me stand next to him during a thunderstorm. He still has fantastic numbers despite the injuries. Amazing when you think about it. Kind of sad, as well.

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    Re: ESPN piece (Bashing Bonds, praising Jr.)

    Don't debate with ignorance, they'll bring you down to their level then beat you with experience.....
    THE University of Cincinnati

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    Re: ESPN piece (Bashing Bonds, praising Jr.)

    Quote Originally Posted by beb30 View Post
    Don't debate with ignorance, they'll bring you down to their level then beat you with experience.....
    Arguing with a state or condition would truly be an ignorant endeaver......

    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    Re: ESPN piece (Bashing Bonds, praising Jr.)

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    Arguing with a state or condition would truly be an ignorant endeaver......

    Endeavor you mean?
    THE University of Cincinnati

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    Member harangatang's Avatar
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    Re: ESPN piece (Bashing Bonds, praising Jr.)

    I'm sure Junior has taken something to bring hiim back from his injuries quicker. All players with injuries do it but the question becomes is all modern medicine like steroids? We all know that 99% of the players over 35 today wouldn't be playing if this were 1930.

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    Re: ESPN piece (Bashing Bonds, praising Jr.)

    Quote Originally Posted by beb30 View Post
    Endeavor you mean?

    no.....endeavor.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    Re: ESPN piece (Bashing Bonds, praising Jr.)

    wow.
    THE University of Cincinnati


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