Monday, May 15, 2006
Page 2 Quickie: May 12, 2006
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
Bonds to the Yankees?
Yankees LF Hideki Matsui broke his left wrist last night and, based on reports, will be out anywhere from three months to the entire season.
It's an outsize blow, because if anything, Matsui was the rock of the Yankees. Matsui had played 518 straight games ... until now. Sheffield is on the DL. Johnny Damon reinjured his shoulder and foot last night.
So before the New York tabloids jump on it, let me be the first to make the case:
The Yankees should try to trade for Barry Bonds.
Start with this: The Yankees could use him; they now have a gaping hole in left field, potentially for the rest of the season.
Not only that, but Bonds could occasionally take advantage of the AL's DH rule to avoid fielding and just take at-bats, particularly with Yankee Stadium's friendliness to left-handed hitters.
(That would avoid embarrassments like Thursday, when Bonds stumbled all over the outfield as he played in a rare afternoon game, the day after he played in a night game. It showed a painful defense and he went 0-3.)
Yesterday was the fourth game in this must-see home stand that the Giants didn't sell out. And that was for the "714/715" games. What happens the rest of the season? Giants fan attendance is a more accurate indicator of fan support than the cheering of the fans who actually go to games.
Bonds is an albatross. He has eclipsed the franchise, turning it into a national embarrassment.
Giants owner Peter Magowan even broached the subject of letting Barry walk away (albeit in the offseason) on Tuesday, saying "I've always been open to the possibility of him being in another uniform."
(Interestingly, when Bonds said Tuesday that he'd be open to exploring free agency in the AL as a DH, many fans thought of the Yankees as a natural fit. Why wait until December? Why can't it fit right now?)
To me, that says: Make him an offer, Brian Cashman.
Finally, is there any pair more made for each other than Bonds and the Boss? The most hated player on the most hated team. And if there were any city or franchise that is bigger than any one player -- and big enough to absorb the biggest, baddest story in sports -- it's the Yankees.
"Bonds on Bronx" for the rest of 2006 is an outrageous-sounding proposition that makes an outrageous amount of sense.
MLB Hot Lines
Jake Peavy is hot: Ties his career high with 13 K's while throwing a 2-hit shutout over 7 IP to lead the Padres to their 11th win in 12 games.
Dontrelle Willis is not: Shellacked for 7 R and 10 H in 2.2 IP, spiraling his season ERA to 6.22 and his record to 1-4. (And D-Train historically starts his seasons fast.)
Cole Hamels debut tonight: The Phillies' phenom will make his first MLB start in Cincy against the top hitting team in the NL. (For further analysis of Hamels, see Thursday's Quickie.)
Just a question: Not to pry, but what was this mysterious, non-baseball-related medical issue that caused Curt Schilling to leave Yankee Stadium before Thursday night's game to get checked out? A Red Sox spokesman did not provide details.
Pistons at Cavs: Will Larry Hughes play in Saturday's Game 3? His brother Justin, 20, died Thursday after a long battle with a heart defect and transplant.
Many fans had heard of Justin; when Hughes was having his phenomenal frosh season at St. Louis, it was a regular story line about him. (Even with Hughes playing, the Pistons would have to try to lose.)
Suns at Clippers: Let's start with this goal for the Suns: Try to collect at least half as many rebounds as the Clippers. Didn't happen on Wednesday night (57-26).
Heat at Nets: Two games, two blowouts, two different outcomes. If the Nets can keep from losing the game in the first six minutes like in Game 2, they'll have a chance (2-0 at home vs. Miami this season, holding the Heat to 85 ppg).
Spurs at Mavs: Now this is the series you should be monitoring, with both teams playing at a high level. The Game 2 revelation was Dallas soph PG Devin Harris, who outplayed Tony Parker at both ends.
Jazz TV analyst Ron Boone might be a national laughingstock for picking Deron Williams as NBA Rookie of the Year over Chris Paul, but at least he fessed up.
One of sports' biggest shams is that awards voting (across every sport) is a process so opaque it makes Donald Rumsfeld look candid.
So let me once again put out the call:
Every sports league or organization that puts out awards or polls should publish every voter's complete ballot. Transparency is the best policy.
If a voter doesn't like it, either they're hiding something or they don't deserve the privilege of picking awards that drive so much conversation. This isn't like picking a president; there is no need for a secret ballot.
Here's how bad it is: The most transparent group right now is the college football coaches, who at least publish every coach's ballot at the end of the season (it should happen every week, but it's a start).
Here's the upshot: There's more than enough space online to store all the results in a database; fans will appreciate it, and voters will be held more accountable.
College Hoops Alert
Mark it down: College hoops' game of the year will be Dec. 23 in Gainesville when champ Florida hosts Ohio State's "Thad Five."
The game, nearly finalized (as reported in the Gainesville Sun), would match college hoops' two most intriguing lineups in 15 years:
The best starting five since Duke's defending champs in '91-92 versus the best freshman class since Michigan's Fab Five in '91-92.
(I've already e-mailed my father-in-law to claim one of his Florida season tickets, right behind the opponents' bench. Dickie V, turn and wave!)
That game will cap a fantastic week: Arguably, the second-most intriguing game of the season will be on Dec. 21 at Madison Square Garden, when Duke and Gonzaga play for the first time.
Stadium Swag Suit
Like many of you, I've been shut out of stadium giveaways before:
Maybe I was too young for "Beer Tankard Night." Or I was too old for "Mini-Bat Night." And, yes, maybe I was even too male for "Pink Hat Night."
But I (and you) sure wouldn't litigate over it, like this joker who sued the Angels because he didn't get a free bag offered only to women over 18 last year on Mother's Day.
Really??? All that effort for a piece of branded swag from a marketer? If you go to games for the freebie, get your head examined.
A middle-aged dude who's angry he didn't get the free giveaway? There's got to be a way to channel that energy more productively.
(On Sunday, the Angels will give away the "Mother's Day Ladies' Tote Bag" to the first 25K fans over 18, man or woman. How many dudes will take them up on the offer? Here's a hint: Leave 'em for the intended audience.)
Mother's Day MLB
Think Pink: Pink bats for the sluggers, pink lineup cards for the managers, pink wristbands for the players, pink logos for the bases, pink hats for the fans.
It's all to raise awareness for breast-cancer research, and it's the coolest leaguewide promotion that MLB does all season.
Go ahead: Spend that little extra on a product that donates to the cause.
(If only the performance-enhancement industry put the effort and money into cancer research that they did into creating the next version of steroids, we might get even further in the fight.)
Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there! (And, yes, why not throw imminent moms-to-be in there, too, while we're at it!)