Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tuesday 07/10 A.M. Quickie:
Bonds, MLB All-Stars, Vlad, Durant, More!

MLB All-Star Game: It’s all about Barry Bonds. How appropriate that in this season that will be defined by Barry Bonds breaking the all-time home run record (while simultaneously causing all-time levels of agita among many fans), the All-Star Game will be a virtual celebration of Bonds.

The game is in San Francisco. The fans are on his side. He’s batting second, which will maximize his at-bats in an abbreviated appearance. Pitchers are under pressure (if not direct orders) not to avoid him – and strikes are pitches he can hit.

Yesterday, he was the star of the show during his one big media melee/appearance. He seemed and sounded so at peace with the craziness around him. Sure, he’s a bit of a d-bag, but he carries himself like he IS the Home Run King, above the media trying to trip him into saying something jerk-ish.

I’d say the biggest news is that he re-committed to playing again in 2008. It might not be with the Giants – in fact, I’d bet that it WON’T be with the Giants; he should head for the AL, where he can sit back as a DH and pile on his HR record.

But here’s what I guarantee: While the fans of San Francisco cheer him tonight, declaring their loyalty as publicly as it gets, the moment he leaves, they’ll boo him like he was never theirs. Who's the REAL jerk in that scenario?

More ASG: This Time It Counts, Again. The AL’s 9-0-1 record over the last 10 All-Star Games is impressive, but keep in mind the very real (and continually controversial) stakes: Home-field advantage in the World Series. (Maybe today is the day to revisit Scott Boras’ inspired idea for a best-of-9 World Series with the first two games at a neutral site and wrapping in post-season awards and the Hall of Fame announcement.)

MLB Home Run Derby: Vlad Guerrero wins the title over Alex Rios. (I’m sorry: That thing was ENDLESS. I only tuned in for a few minutes, but I couldn’t believe how much it dragged on and on. The demise of the Derby and the Dunk Contest are two of the more regrettable erosions of the sports landscape over the last 20 years.)

More MLB All-Star Game: Dan Haren and Jake Peavy will start for their leagues. Nice to see Bay Area star Haren get the start over Leyland’s boy Bonderman WTFWIT?!?!?* Verlander. (And even though I didn’t give Haren the first-half AL Cy in yesterday’s first-half awards rundown. Guess what: I change my mind -- Haren is my first-half AL Cy. Not because Haren is necessarily better than Johan Santana, but because I discounted two things I usually weight heavily: Novelty and a player’s devotion to Seinfeld. I only found out this morning via a USA Today profile that Haren is a Seinfeld nut. That’s enough for me.)

(* - I know I said "Bonderman" instead of "Verlander." That's because I'm equal parts lazy and crack-addled, which is quite a combo -- but also explains the mental hiccup. All apologies to everyone for the confusion and for further reminding everyone how truly and sincerely ignorant I can be.)

NBA Summer: Kevin Durant overrated? I'm not ready to declare that yet, but Durant is having a lot of trouble. He scored 18 points against the Knicks, but it was on 4-of-19 FG shooting, his second straight atrocious performance. Again: Given how paltry the defense is in Summer games, what does that portend about Kevin Durant’s ability to score against REAL defenders? (It's only been two games, but admit it: You expected him to dominate from the get-go.)

More: OK, at this point, I am entirely about the point output by the rookies. That’s why I was so blown away by Marco Belinelli over the weekend (and last night: 23 points! He’s terrific.) And why Rodney Stuckey’s 27 points for the Pistons last night made me think: OK, he might match the hype. (Mike Conley: Only 8 points? Welcome to the realization that the kid can’t score.) Knicks rookies Wilson Chandler and Demitris Nichols combined for 25 points in the Knicks’ win over the Sonics, with each shooting 50 percent from the field.

And, yet, the big news was that vet Marcus Banks set a Summer League record (yes, they keep records for those things) with 42 points last night. Yes, it’s “only” Summer League, but that’s still impressive. (Again: If it’s “only” Summer League, why can’t Kevin Durant do that?)

Dan Patrick is leaving ESPN, but either doesn’t know what he wants to do next – or simply won’t announce it: He saw how much fun this Dan was having as an out-of-work blogger and said, “Yes! Get me some of THAT!”

Regardless, it’s the end of an era at ESPN that began with the epic “Big Show” era with Keith Olbermann that combined with the “This Is SportsCenter” ads to put ESPN on the fan-cultural map. In the last 6-7 years, Patrick felt more and more like a relic from an earlier time. (Not using "relic" in a bad way... he was subsumed by a sea of wannabes around him.)

I can understand why he’d want to do something else, although I sincerely wonder what he CAN do, besides sports. He doesn’t strike me as versatile as Olbermann to carry his own news-focused show. And although Patrick has the smarminess to pull off hosting “Price is Right,” he’s a little bit too smug to fill the role. I guess he’ll try to become a syndicated sports-radio guy. (What’s the difference between that and what he’s doing now, except that he won’t have the audience he has now?)

College Football: One more reason that EDSBS and Orson Swindle is the best thing going in college football blogging, even at the height of the sport’s offseason twilight zone.

Varsity Dad...no, Varsity Mom: Congrats to Kim Clijsters, whose pregnancy was announced (by her dad) today. Expect this to be a big sensation in Europe.

Mea Culpa from Monday: I didn't mean to diminish the epic-ness of Federer's Wimby finals win over Nadal by reminding everyone that his fifth straight title was hardly unexpected. And the year-over-year TV ratings increase bears it out: Federer-vs-Nadal drives viewers. (So does a Williams in the women's final... women's final ratings were up even bigger.)

Warning: Just one day away from the slowest sports day of the year! (Am I really going to have to make our big topic of discussion ESPY Awards predictions? Apparently so.)

-- D.S.

52 comments:

jedi said...

verlander...not bonderman. FYI

jedi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Geoff said...

Let's never revisit Scott Boras' best of 9 series idea again. It was dumb when he suggested it and it is dumb now. People barely want to tune into a best of 7 series.

Dan Mega said...

What? No mention on the MLB covering up the Chicago Cubs use of corked bats?

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/cs-070709mitchell,1,6441174.column?coll=chi-sportstop-hed

Real Men Eat Haggis said...

re:Patrick and Olbermann

If by "versatile" you mean "frothing-at-the-mouth-mentally-unhinged" then you're probably right.

Besides, it really isn't a show if nobody watches, right?

Bear said...

Well the reason why the HR Derby lasted soooo long is that during every break, ESPN threw it to the studio for 'analysis', basically to hear Kruk say, "Well, in that round, Vlad hit more home runs than Pujols."

Why did they even TRY to fit it in a two hour block? Has the HR derby ever been shorter than two hours?

jhawkjjm said...

One thing about Durant that is getting overlooked by his poor shooting, the fact that he's getting to the foul line and making his free throws. I'm not worried about either him or Oden, its summer league. I'll wait till the games actually count.

Todd said...

I tuned out of the derby after the first round, since with all the Right Handers there wouldn't be any Cove home runs. That was disappointing.

I love Vlad though, awesome to see him win. Definitely one of the underrated "good guys" in all of sports.

Sean said...

Bear:

Do you think it might have something to do with throwing it back at MLB for having the Baseball Tonight crew stay in Bristol. I know it kinda defeats the purpose of airing a new show, but at the same time it says "F you MLB, we can help ruin this"

I also might be making a bigger thing of it, but seriously, this needs to be reworked. Maybe what Jayson Stark wrote about...

Jason said...

While the fans of San Francisco cheer him tonight, declaring their loyalty as publicly as it gets, the moment he leaves, they’ll boo him like he was never theirs. Who's the REAL jerk in that scenario?

Barry Bonds.

futurelegendvinceyoung said...

Dan the problem with the slam dunk contest is every dunk has been done before and the big stars will not participate. I remember when I first watched the home run derby it would fit in the 2 hour window. Now that it is the showcase event of the All-Star break ESPN as usual has to overdue it and that is the problem. I watched the first 2 rounds and in between batters I was able to watch an entire disc of the Simpsons from Season 9.

Bear said...

Sean:

I didn't think about that. Nice theory.

todd said...

Breaking news: Oden shut down for the summer with tonsilectomy.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2931319

Brian in Oxford said...

Don't the AA and AAA all-star games take place Wednesday? How about THOSE instead of the ESPYs?

Keith and Dan had chemistry, and they may have realized it after the fact (hence KO's spot on Dan's radio show).

So how long before Stu Scott gets tired and moves on? (Oh wait, he's already TIRED....)

Is Linda Cohn now the 3rd-longest running host/anchor there behind Ley and Berman?

Scott Boras-types have priced top-tier baseball out of small cities, so now he wants to "give back" to these cities by dangling them some neutral-site world series games? Allow me to gouge his eyes out, please.

Todd said...

Brian, the most notable minor league all-star game (The Futures Game) already took place on Sunday. And the Futures Game was on ESPN2.

I believe each league has its all-star game as well, so there would be three AA All Star Games for example.

The Futures Game was comprised of some of the top prospects, including guys from all levels of the minors. So that's where guys like Justin Upton, Evan Longoria, Joey Votto, Clay Buchholz, and Joba Chamberlain played.

andy said...

I agree with what others have said about the slam dunk contest. It's boring now because it's all been done before. What could someone possibly bring to the table to make it worth watching? I like Bill Simmons' idea of playing a round of HORSE.

And the Home Run Derby used to be a cool event. I watched it for two hours yesterday and went to bed before I even knew who was in the finals. They have got to find a way to finish that thing in two hours or I won't even bother next year.

Richard K. said...

Someone told me there's a rumor floating around that Dan Patrick could be the next host of The Price is Right. Not sure if there's any truth to that.

todd said...

I heard that Patrick interviewed and decided that the gig wasn't right for him. Not sure if that means they offered it to him or not, but I doubt it.

I'm going to miss him on the radio, personally, as the only other "sports" talk in my market during that time slot is Jim Rome, which ceased being about sports some time ago. It was nice to have just a straight up SPORTS show, ya know? It may be true that he was a "relic" as Dan says, but there was still a place for him on my radio for exactly that reason. Sometimes the original recipie is the best.

Tim said...

Dan, you know I love you...but you are totally off about Giants fans booing Barry whenever he returns.

Barry is a lot of things--a jerk, almost certainly a PED user, and not the best teammate. But he NEVER mistreated the fans, and always took care to thank them for their support. I can't remember him every saying a bad word about the fans in SF.

He's certainly a flawed person, but as a baseball player--in an era where scores of players used PEDs--he earned the respect of Giants fans, and he'll get a large standing ovation whenever he returns.

Jason said...

Here's hoping Dan Patrick doesn't become another Kilborn.

Eric said...

Warning: Just one day away from the slowest sports day of the year! (Am I really going to have to make our big topic of discussion ESPY Awards predictions? Apparently so.)

US plays Uraguay in U20 World Cup 2nd round tomorrow. Admittedly this isn't that big of a deal to most people, but in light of the fact that THERE IS NO SPORTS ON TV that night, I would think ESPN could mention it.

I'm sure this has been mentioned repeatedly. But the "Who's Now" segment on ESPN is equal parts brutal, pointless, and annoying. I know ESPN is convinced (and probably rightly so) that most people don't care about soccer, but I guarentee more people would care about highlights from a soccer game then random people being voted on as the most Now person.... I think that's what the vote is for.

Maybe ESPN will pull the game off of ESPNU and show it instead of the repeat of the painfully boring HR derby...

Also, why would they schedule "The Bronx is Burning" and then show it almost an hour late. I had to tivo that and the Sportscenter at midnight to watch it.

Jingoist said...

OK, so I was going to type a small comment on Dan Patrick leaving ESPN, but said comment ballooned into this on my blog. Feel free to check it out.

But separately, Dan Patrick's departure also made me think, who's your Top 5 you'd like to see depart (either voluntarily or by force) from the 4-letter. My Top 5:

1. Berman
2. Joe Morgan
3. SAS
4. SAS (if I could fire him twice I would.)
5. Bill Simmons/Stu Scott (battle of the redundant orators.)

What's yours?

mattie said...

Who's the REAL jerk in that scenario?

Still Bonds, but I don't think the San Fran fans would boo him anyway.

Boras' idea is INSANE. Please someone shut him up. It's bad enough that 5-games series (i.e., NBA first round) have gone to 7. Does anyone actually think that anyone wants to sit through 9 games??

But by the same token, deciding home-field advantage through the All-Star game is probably one of the dumber ideas of the Selig era.

Ten outs is just too many for the home run derby...that was like watching a dunk contest in years where they give you unlimited tries and no time limit. It just starts too late and takes too long. The first round, at least, needs to be cut down to 5 outs...the hitters are all generally just warming up then anyway. Then if the second & final rounds are 7 and 10 outs, you have fewer guys anyway, so it won't take so long.


only been two games, but admit it: You expected him to dominate from the get-go

Not really, mainly because I don't care about summer league...Wake me when he plays a real game.


I'm semi-convinced by the Patrick-to-WFAN-to-fill-Imus'-spot thinking...he'd probably get a deal for MSN TV simulcast as well (then he and Keith can hang out all the time! ;)). Or he's going to satellite. Meanwhile, ESPN continues to go straight to the dogs.

Todd said...

Good list Jingoist. Mine would be similar:

1) Joe Morgan
2) Skip Bayless
3) Stephen A
4) Stuart Scott
5) John Kruk

(So it's the rare day where both the Todd(s) are posting... we should come to some sort of agreement on this 'other' Todd... any ideas?)

Jingoist said...

Ooooh... Kruk's a good one Todd.

WuzUpG said...

OK, I didn't see the broadcast of the HR Derby because I was at the Derby. Did they show the only potential Splash Hit HR hit a photographer in the back of the head? (There was another, but it hit off the light post and rebounded into the Arcade, where I was standing.)

How disappointing, no lefties in the 2nd round.

Vlad hits a ball 503 feet, just below the 501 sign for the glove. Which measurement is incorrect?

futurelegendvinceyoung said...

My list:

1. Berman
2. Digger Phelps
3. Stu Scott
4. Dickie V (I blame him for all the recent Duke hatred)
5. Joe Morgan

CycleDan said...

I flipped to the HR derby during commercials of the Tour de France coverage. I got surprisingly caught up in it. However I agree that it did last a loooonnnnggg time.


I like Berman but I am OK with all the others.

Did Patrick leave voluntarily? Did he as for a raise and not get it? It will be interesting to see what he does.

Brian in Oxford said...

Berman's good on Sunday mornings in NFL season....but that's about it. His biggest problem is that he's so big at the WWL that he can just assign himself to stuff like the all-star game, the US Open golf, etc., when he doesn't belong.

I agree on Digger, his idea of halftime "analysis" is to read that stat sheet.

All of the opinionated columnists can go, as far as I'm concerned. That actually makes Around the Horn not so bad -- it's a DESIGNATED OUTLET for commentary....the news shows shouldn't be peppered with opinions.

ESPN is definitely following that MTV path....worrying about ratings rather than any mission statement it should be following.

A startup competitor against ESPN would suffer in that it most likely couldn't get highlight packages from ESPN games. Does that CNN-SI even still exist as a channel?

todd said...

Todd 1: I'm confused... what would you like to come to an "agreement" on? Is there a way to change my posted name here without having to change my google address? It just gave it to me without my asking. FYI I can't change my gmail addy because I use it for work...

CycleDan said...

Wow, just went up to look at a TV we have here at work to catch the end of today's Tour stage. Today was the longest stage of this year's race - 236km or 147 miles about. Two guys raced off ahead right at the start and got up to a 13 minute lead. Later on, two other guys bridged up after that lead dwindled to only a few minutes. With 2km to go, the lead was just over 20 seconds and it looked like one of the 4 from the breakaway would win.

Then out of the group, the current race leader, Fabian Cancellara, who won the first day's prologue attacked out of the pack to try and maintain his lead. He is not a great sprinter but he is the best in the world and holding a high speed for a short time. He gapped the field, passed the 4 tired breakaways with a few hundred meters to go. Then he held off the sprinters to win the stage, take a 20 second time bonus and secure his lead in the race. Unbelievable since nobody was predicting Cancellara would win today.

The grizzled veteran Erik Zabel finsished second. Zabel has won the green sprinter's jersey a record 7 times but shows that he is not washed up yet. However it did seem that he was the one who swerved and caused a massive crash yesterday right at the end.

larry burns said...

how to fix the dunk contest.

(inspired bny the comment i have had this idea for a while)

1. put it on as the first event or at a different time from the other skills contests.
2. 8 people enter
3. a three persons final
4. have escaldade sponsor, winner gets a tricked out escalade.
5. each dunker gets 4 dunks (including misses) with a 30 second shot clock for each.
6. best dunk (to be votedon at the end of the night) also gets an escalade
7. fans vote on participants so youhave to do it if voted, if you don;t do the dunk contest you don;'t play in the all star game.
8. james white

Todd said...

Todd 2 (since you referred to me as Todd 1)... I think it can be changed within Blogger (don't have to change google account or gmail name fortunately). You can go to blogger.com, and then under 'Edit Profile' and then under Identity, there is an option for 'Display Name' where you change what you want your posts to appear as.

I can also change it if you want, or if you want to. Makes no difference to me, so if you want I can just do it. Just figured it'd be a good idea so your ideas and mine aren't confused between other people. But you've been posting well IMO, doing the name 'Todd' very proud. Well done sir!

CMFost said...

Top 5 I would like to see go:
1. McCarver
2. Buck
3. Madden
4. Morgan
5. Berman

Bryan said...

sighs

CycleDan said...

I say both Todd's should change their name. I wouldn't choose Dan as my name. Usernames such as Dan, Mike, Bob or even Todd don't really work.

I like StudAndDudTodd or just StudTodd if you prefer. Append something to indicate an interest. TiddlywinksTodd or RummycubeTodd for instance. Using a physical description such as UniTesticleTodd or LactoseIntolerant Todd work. Be creative.

Kevin said...

I'll be live-blogging the All-Star game, if anybody's interested:

http://bpcatcher.blogspot.com/

My five I want fired:

1. Tim McCarver
2. Tim McCarver
3. Tim McCarver
4. Joe Morgan
5. Tim McCarver

(sorry, didn't see it was supposed to be just ESPN guys...in that case, replace "Tim McCarver" with "John Kruk", and it still works...)

Todd said...

Cycle, I'd rock your ass in Tiddlywinks (is that even competitive?). Good idea though.

And I think if there's a Lance that posts to the board, they immediately should become unitesticleLance...

GuyInTheCorner said...

First of all, there's no way that the San Fran fans boo Bonds. Ever. I'd also like to point out that everyone said last year that the Giants wouldn't resign Bonds. And they did. And then everyone said that they paid him too much and he was washed up. And then he wasn't. So keep in mind that the regular never happens with Barry.

GuyInTheCorner said...

The major problem with the 9-game-series-first-two-at-nuetral-sites idea was pointed out by Bud Selig on Dan Patrick yesterday. Teams wait so long for the series to be in their city you can't just take games away. The 9 game series idea isn't bad but the neutral site thing won't work.

Phillip said...

Dan, it's funny how you ASSUME Giants fans would boo Bonds if he leaves SF. It really shows how much you know about the Bay area.

And I'm glad you said you're not ready to declare Durant overrated. Considering it's ONLY Summer League. I can only imagine the knee jerk reactions you'll come up with for preseason football. Jeez, do you smoke a crack pipe before writing these posts?

pv845 said...

I would be amazed if Dan knew anything about a town that wasn't Gainsville.

pv845 said...

Also, I hear that Oden is done for the summer because of his tonsils.

Looks like those people worried about his durability might have been right!

ToddTheJackass said...

While I'm not a Bonds supporter, I have found that more than ever, I've become a bit of a Bonds defender. I think I've just come to peace with the fact that Bonds will break Aaron's record. It's just been a prolonged time of acceptance, I think.

The reason for this isn't that I'm happy knowing that Bonds is a cheater, rather it's that EVERYONE KNOWS Bonds is a cheater, even the most diehard Giants fans seem to realize this. So whatever records he'll have, he'll never get the respect for them anyway.

But also I think I've just come to grips that I have no idea just how many people cheated, and who cheated, that's it's a bit unfair to single-out Barry. Think about it, aside from maybe 10-15 guys (the Maddux's and Eckstein's of the world), there's no way to know who cheated and who didn't. We know Barry cheated, but in all likelihood so did other celebrated guys like Roger Clemens, Pudge, Sosa, McGwire, etc. Who knows about guys like Bagwell, Thomas, Biggio, Manny, Jeter, Tejada, Nomar, Pedro, Smoltz, Andruw, Ichiro, and others? No evidence obviously links them with steroids, but in all reality, there's a pretty good likelihood that some of those guys at least tried the stuff, isn't it?

I guess what it's come down to for me is that I've come to realize that Bonds' home run record is tainted, but not necessarily the record itself.

(Still playing with some name options).

Brian in Oxford said...

wait....which Todd is the jackass?

we all know about Simmons and his HORSE idea at the all-star game.

How about a game my friend and I have played (albeit on an 8-foot rim)....

Dunk HORSE....

Just like HORSE, but every shot's a dunk. Then you have the challenge to copy the move you just saw. The only caveat I'd give is that lefties can do mirror-images, if necessary.

ToddTheJackass said...

ToddTheJackass = Todd who usually does studs and duds.

Jackass was a nickname I was given growing up for being pretty much the only democrat in the OC. Also because I was and still am a bit of an asshole.

toddthesecond said...

I'm now toddthesecond, because in all fairness to toddthejackass, he started posting long before I did, and this will help other folks keep it straight at least.

stooncer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Big D said...

Looks like Sid the Kid just got locked up to a long term deal here in Pittsburgh. Let's just say that the 8 Penguins fans left in the city are ecstatic today.


My Sports "Hit" List:
1) McCarver
2) Joe Morgan
3) Berman
4) Stu
5) Dan Patrick

Looks like I can cross one of them off the list... Let's put, oh I don't know, How about Terry Bradshaw into that #5 slot...


@wuzupg:

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that perhaps... just maybe, the broadcasters, uh, modified the numbers to make the home run more impressive.

Happened in Boston a few years back - Manny Ramirez hit a ball off Roy Halladay that was still rising when it cleared the light tower over the monster, shortly before 1-hopping onto the Mass Pike, yet NESN listed it at 501 feet. For historical perspective, Ted Williams' "Red Chair" homer went 502 feet.



And P.S. No reason to look for me on the coverage of this year's WSOP Main Event... my travel schedule and the Vegas satellites got all screwed up - I didn't even try.

Danny said...

No one puts Bill Walton (the king of absurd hyperbole) on their list...?

Johnathan said...

actually big d you'd be surprised at how popular that team is in pittsburgh; we love the pens after all and the attendance would point towards that

Spencer said...

Where's Albert Pujols?