Opening Day Blunders

Even if we ignore the poor starts put up by some of the aces on opening day, and the mayor of Cincinnati getting ejected (in jest) before the Reds opener even started, it was a rusty few days for major league clubs. Two former MVPs had more than their share of trouble just running the bases.

2006 AL MVP Justin Morneau -
In the fourth inning, when Morneau delivered his second hit of the game, he advanced to second on a Rondell White walk. But when Jeff Cirillo delivered a hard-hit single to right, Morneau got waved all the way home and got called out at the plate. Morneau then was thrown out at second in the fifth inning when he tried to stretch a single into a double, and then got beat on ground ball to first in the seventh. Stopping just one base short of the running cycle, Morneau joked that he knows one thing hasn't changed.

"At least we know I didn't get any faster over the offseason," Morneau said with a laugh.

1990, 1992, 1993, 2001-2004 NL MVP Barry Bonds -
Bonds bounced a single into left field against the infield shift, then stole second and was thrown out at home when he tried to score on San Diego shortstop Khalil Greene's wild throw past first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. Gonzalez recovered the ball quickly and Bonds was such an easy out at the plate that he didn't even bother sliding.

Giants third base coach Tim Flannery said Bonds made the decision to go home because he could see the ball in front of him and gauge his chances himself.

"Joey Amalfitano taught me a great lesson,'' Flannery said. "When the ball is in front of a player like that, just pat him on the back and say, 'You're making $10 million a year and I'm making $60,000. You make the decision.'"

I didn't get to see the Barry gaffe, but the Justin Morneau ones were particularly amusing, especially when he tried to bowl over the catcher when thrown out at home. Hopefully these two will prove that they know how to run the bases before season's end.

P.S. - While I'm no longer the Barry defender and less and less the Barry apologist, Jim Caple made an interesting comment in his article on the poor Giants opener.
The Giants opened their 50th season in San Francisco on Tuesday and they introduced their All-Stars from that half-century during a long pregame ceremony. As Orlando Cepeda, Gaylord Perry, Juan Marichal, Willie McCovey, Willie Mays -- all Hall of Famers -- and others took the field, you couldn't help but wonder why this team hasn't won a World Series since moving here in 1958.

Perry's introduction also brought up another thought: Why are all the talk show blowhards and self-righteous columnists so quick to condemn Barry Bonds for "ruining'' the game when an admitted cheater is in the Hall of Fame and no one questions it? If it was all right for Perry to grease his way to 300 wins and Cooperstown, why do we hold Barry to a different standard? Why is one considered mere gamesmanship and the other a threat to civilized society? That's something for you to consider as the Great Home Run Chase resumes.

At this point, even I admit that there is a significant difference between steroid use and doctoring a ball, but both are brazen, straightforward forms of cheating. Whether or not you agree with him, it's a point worth considering.

No comments :