Raznor's Rants

Costarring Raznor's reality-based friends!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


In Honor of Raznor's News Moratorium:
Baseball!

. . . Raging 'roids . . . Record Books . . . Terrified Umps . . . Wise-man DePodesta . . .

Posted by Ross

Has this not been the most bizarre pre-season in baseball? I felt like I was watching the McCarthy hearings in bizarro world. Like anyone's ever going to mistake Mark McGwire for Dalton Trumbo.

And it's like we have to subscribe to this bullshit shroud of mystery around Barry Bonds. The strangest thing about it is, there's still this part of me that really wishes he'd never pumped the 'roids, because Bonds is one of those superstars for the ages, and wouldn't it be beautiful to keep him pure forever.

There's murmurs about taking all these guys out of the record books, you know, like the Olympic committee does if it finds its athletes have been cheating. But baseball doesn't work that way, and, if you think about it, that's kind of a beautiful thing.

Historically, this will be known - as a certain pariah puts it - as the era of Rampant 'Roids and Smash Hits.

Just like we look at certain eras of baseball history as dead-ball eras (in the late sixties, when pitchers like Denny McClain and Bob Gibson dominated, when, in '68, Carl Yastrzemski led the league with a .301 batting average, first, baseball officials lowered the pitcher's mound, then, a few years later, introduced the designated hitter), live ball eras (Hack Wilson and his 190 RBIs in 1930), eras in which no one gave a rat's ass about the long ball (back in 1909, Ty Cobb let the league with 9 home runs), or that early baseball era when umpires would fear for their lives against the drunken, infuriated fans, so too will we look at this era and muse, so that's how they played the game back then.

But I think we can all be certain there's a lot more fun to be had with steroids this season. Which is why you have to again admire Dodgers GM Paul DePodesta, who's made a conscienscious effort not to have any players who might get caught up in scandal this season. Not Shawn Green of course (a good Jewish boy who won't play on Yom Kippur injecting HGH in the tuchus? Now that's scandal!). But Adrian Beltre? He did go from 23 homers in '03 to 48 in '04. Last season, we all said he was merely, finally, living up to his potential. But the other thing we were saying last season is that Beltre would never leave LA, that he loved living here and the Dodgers would have to fuck up worse than Rumsfeld if they failed to ink him to a long-term deal.

But the Dodgers never really even negotiated with him, and he signed with the Mariners.

Beltre is also a Scott Boras client, and Boras and the Dodgers, at least under previous administrations, don't have the loveliest of track records.

Still, the question remains, why did Paul DePodesta, maybe the smartest guy in all of baseball, with the elastic payroll flexibility of the Dodgers, not even make a good-faith attempt to re-sign their MVP?

Did he know something we didn't?

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