The Integrity of the Game

The only thing(s) bigger and more unusual than Ichiro’s inside the parker were A-Rod’s anti-Yankee white clodhopper spikes. What a pair of boats. So what’s the story here? Were those his signature Nike’s that he was trying to promote because he doesn’t make enough money or perhaps he forgot his regular game wear and called across the Bay to have the A’s equipment man send over some of Jose Canseco’s old pontoons. Two things were obvious: (1) the new shoes certainly didn’t help him score from second on what should have been a close play at the plate in lieu of Junior’s great charge and throw (no slide, no Pete Rose/Ray Fosse collision – it looked like the no slide softball league!); (2) and they didn’t help him make a quick recovery on Jose Reyes’ funky slice down the third base line, Willie Mosconi ‘english’ included. On that one, A-Rod looked like Joe Willie Namath protecting his knees by running away from the action. Conclusion: slightly tweaked hamstring or not (didn’t bother him on his easy steal of second), A-Rod’s Pat Boone impersonation left much to be desired both on the performance level and on the visual.
Speaking of Canseco, obviously Wille Mays has read his book and the one written about his godson and believes what he reads or why else would he give the ‘beloved’ Barry the cold shoulder during the pregame?

During Bonds’ game interview he told Fox Sports that he and A-Rod are very close. Based on what? Do they share the same financial advisor or the same marketing firm or perhaps somewhere along the line the same prescription for power? When did A-Rod and Bonds compete against each other on a regular basis or with each other? Never. So now the question: is A-Rod’s incredible power all natural and only enhanced by strength training and legal nutritional supplementation or should we think that some HGH might be involved and if so, should we begin calling him A-Roid?

In an age of over coaching and over analyzing and over cloning of the ‘perfect’ technique, it was somewhat refreshing to see the unorthodox, free swinging, bad ball hitting, barehand bat gripping (except for some tape on a few fingers) Vlademir Guerrero win the home run derby. Refreshing, I say.

On Albert Pujols: was he injured or was he in Tony LaRusso’s dog house or did Tony forget he had him on the bench. How do you not send him up to hit for the Philly centerfielder with the bags loaded and 2 out in the bottom of the ninth? Out of fear of the man’s bat alone and the way that K-Rod was throwing wild, he most likely would have walked Albert and the tying run in. Arguably, the most explosive, dangerous, and consistent hitter in the NL for the past 4 years and he sits on the bench? Someone please ‘splain this to me.

It was great to see the way a quirky outfield wall can have a dramatic effect on the game. Ichiro’s inside the park job was a blast from the past. Great stuff for the debates and arguments and great for the fans which, someone should notify the arrogant/ignorant Bonds, is what this game/business of baseball is all about. During his interview with Fox Sports he focused on himself, his ‘friendship’ with A-Rod, the All-Star game in general, playing in his home town and then when he realized he had forgotten the fans, Humble Barry tossed in a nice word for us at the end of his sentence and half under his breath. What a guy. What a dope.

It was great to see the excitement that Jose Reye’s blinding speed brings to the game. And for Met fans (of which I am not!) and National League fans (ditto!), it was not great to see Billy Wagner’s less than blinding speed. He closed out the wrong team.

How does Brian Roberts not get an error on a ball that was completely in his glove? And how about those missed strike three checked swing calls? Looked a little fishy from my living room. Can you hear the directive from the Commish, a certain Mr. Bud Lite: “Now umpires, if the game is close and if runners are in scoring position and there is a checked swing, I want you to give the benefit of the doubt to the hitter even if he does blatantly break his wrists, unless of course it’s Bonds because you know how I feel about that cheater who is about to break my beloved Hank’s record…him, you call out. We need scoring and lots of runs. Pitching duels? Very bad for ratings. And one more thing, let’s get out there and protect the integrity of the game.”

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