Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Opening Day

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.

6 comments:

greg said...

And Bonds has always had a surly attitude with the media. Therefore, he is absolutely reviled by many in the media and many in the media want him disgraced. Not Sosa, not McGwire, not Thome or anyone else.

Anonymous said...

Tom,

The reason why many baseball fans want to go after Bonds is b/c he is heading toward Ruth and Aaron. We can't let perfect be the enemy of the good---if Bonds is allowed to take the most hallowed records in baseball the game will be marred far more than it already is. The case against Bonds goes far beyond drug dealer testimonies. Let them investigate him and if they can gather enough evidence to convince G. Mitchell that Bonds used steroids, kick him out of baseball--this is not about black and white or good media relations---it is about right and wrong.

Anonymous said...

Tom,

the above post was mine.

Jeff

Tom said...

Sorry, I can't disagree more. The fact that Bonds is challenging the home run record should make no difference. Fair is fair--if we are going to go after Bonds for not breaking baseball's rules, then we have to go after anyone who might reasonably be assumed to have not broken baseball's rules. So that's everyone, or no one, or something.

Jim Thome has 430 career home runs and there is a decent chance that he will get to 500, which will most likely put him in the Hall of Fame. Sammy Sosa's got 588, ahead of everyone but Mays, Bonds, Ruth, and Aaron. Why doesn't they count for an investigation?

Oh, and by the way, the most hallowed achievement in baseball is winning the World Series, and if in the course of our investigation to see if players used steroids (not breaking baseball's rules), we find evidence that a player who participated in a World Series victory took steroids, then his team should be stripped of the championship. Because it was wrong that a team used steroids to win.

The point is that it never stops, and to pick on Bonds because we value one record is unfair and (I bet some lawyer could explain) most likely illegal.

Tom said...

I can't edit comments, so it should say "why don't" not "why doesn't." Sorry.

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