For whom Hells Bells toll (cont.)
Posted: Tuesday April 8, 2008 12:47PM; Updated: Wednesday April 9, 2008 2:55PM
Bonds played a Giant role
The Giants added two new displays to commemorate Barry Bonds' feats as a Giants slugger, and that's the right call because they can't pretend Bonds wasn't a major player in their past. "Everybody agreed that Barry was a big part of our history,'' Giants president Larry Baer said.
Bonds now has a plaque with his name and "756" on the right-center field wall. He also is on a stadium decoration celebrating the four members of the 500 Home Run Club who spent most of their careers with the Giants (Bonds, Willie Mays, Mel Ott and Willie McCovey).
Before the new artifacts were displayed, writers noticed the removal of any evidence (sorry, bad choice of words) of Bonds. But erasing him from the stadium would have been disingenuous. The Giants brought him back year after year to hit homers, set records and draw fans. So to pretend it all never happened would have been wrong.
In case they forgot what Bonds meant, the Giants' 1-6 start and embarrassingly bad lineups provide a reminder of what they're missing. It would be interesting to wonder how things could have been different for the Giants without Bonds. I guess they're getting an idea this year. So far it's not very appetizing.
Around the Majors
Rick Ankiel's transformation to a hitter is nothing short of remarkable. There are few recent examples of a switch from pitcher to hitter or vice versa (Royals pitcher Ron Mahay began as an outfielder, and retired Brooks Kieschnick dabbled in both hitting and pitching), but Ankiel appears to be the most successful at making the transition since Babe Ruth. He has followed a brilliant spring with a hot start (three homers, six RBIs, .296), and scouts say he -- and not Troy Glaus (0, 3, .240) -- should be protecting Albert Pujols.
As for Glaus, one scout predicted he could have a rough time in St. Louis unless he starts playing nicer. That scouted noted Glaus spent the spring arguing calls, which is a habit that won't be welcomed in that great baseball town.
Ben Broussard is finally getting a chance to play full time, and so far he's taking advantage of it, with three early home runs as Texas' first baseman.
If you're going to gamble and give a six-year contract to a second-year player, Chris Young of Arizona is a good one to gamble on. Young is tied for the MLB lead with four home runs. The Diamondbacks seem to do things right.
Best wishes to Preston Gomez -- the longtime baseball man who's currently a consultant to the Angels GM -- who the Los Angeles Times said was struck by a pickup "in a freak accident'' and recently reattached to a respirator. Those who have met Gomez, 84, know he is one of the best people in baseball.
The Braves have had the worst record in the majors in one-run games two straight years, and are 0-3 so far this year.
Joe Torre's response to the issue of Jake Peavy's dirty hand was perfect. Torre didn't go overboard but left little doubt that he was suspicious of Padres ace Peavy, whose dirt clump looked a lot like Kenny Rogers' clump from the 2006 World Series.
No surprise Torre brought up Rogers, who never was one of Torre's favorites in New York when Torre managed him in 1996 and 1997. Rogers' downfall with Torre was his refusal to admit it when he was hurt, to his own detriment. Torre didn't appreciate the macho act.
Towers and the Padres aren't backing down. Peavy isn't someone who really needs much help, anyway, and Towers said by phone, "It'll be Peavy and [Brad] Penny Friday, and they can check him out all they want.''
It's nice to see a Dodgers-Padres rivalry heating up now that the 2008 Giants look like they could be a non-entity.
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