Sports Guy did a running diary.
I haven't mentioned opening day because the Indians game was a first class train wreck. Somewhere on the Cleveland Plain Dealer web page a fan asked that we all remove our lips from the tailpipe because there are 161 games left. Sage advice.
Meantime, Indians GM Mark Shapiro hopes that money-grubbing traitor Jim Thome gets a warm welcome when he comes to Cleveland as a member of the White Sox. I'll have more on Shapiro later at Cleveland '64, but not only do I think Indians fans should fling poo at Thome like rabid monkeys, let me use this occasion to launch my "Jim Thome - 'Roid Hound" campaign.
Here's a 1991 Thome baseball card:
Here he is in 1995, still skinny:
Here he is in the 1997 World Series, looking quite a bit heftier (notice the difference in his legs and arms, especially):
Last year with the Phillies:
The difference is in the stats, too. He started off his career in the minors as a guy who hit for high averages and had some pop in his bat. In 1995, his first season in the pros when he was still skinny, he hit .314 with 25 homers (one home run for every 18 at bats). Next year, when he started getting bigger, he went .311 with 38 homers (one for every 13.2 at bats). He batting average dropped into the .290 range after that, but he held pretty steady at the higher rate of home runs. Then in 2001, 2002, and 2003 he hit 49, 52, and 47 home runs, respectively, at a rate of about one home run for every 11 at bats. Coincidently, he came up for free agency after the 2002 season, and cashed in with the huge contract in Philly. Also coincidently, last year, when Major League Baseball started testing for steroids, he broke down physically and hit only 7 home runs, at a rate of one for every 27.5 at bats.
If Bud Selig insists on going forward with this ridiculous investigation aimed at Barry Bonds, I think he better start explaining why Jim Thome hasn't gone under the microscope, too. Because if you take away the half-baked grand jury testimony of convicted drug dealers at Balco, then the evidence for Thome juicing is exactly the evidence against Bonds. Only no one has looked at Thome, no one has put his life under the microscope. Could it be because he is a good-natured white farm boy from the Midwest and Bonds is a black baseball prince who is surly toward the media? Nah.