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# Don't pitch to Bonds

## Help Save Baseball - Don't pitch to Bonds... Hopefully this blog will be the epicenter of a movement to keep Barry Bonds's name off the most acclaimed record in sport, currently held by the great Hank Aaron.

Updated: 2014-10-04T22:45:02.273-07:00

Winning by Walking... (*see below)

2007-05-26T12:41:20.031-07:00

Last year I undertook an exercise to compare Bond’s actual stats (for the 2004 season) to the theoretical stats he would have generated if opponents had walked him every time he stepped into the batters box. This weekend I updated the exercise by looking at his numbers for the 2006 season. Not surprisingly, the numbers are even more compelling; if by compelling you mean that they demonstrate teams can increase their chances of winning by walking Bonds every time he sets foot in the box. (And that is indeed what I do mean by compelling)Here are his numbers from 2006 according to http://www.baseball-reference.com/:Games played: 130Plate Appearances: 493 (AB + BB + HBP +SF)Batting Average: .270Hits: Singles: 50 – scored 9 timesDoubles: 26 – scored 10 timesTriples: 0Home Runs: 26RBIs: 77Runs: 74Walks: 115 – scored 25 timesHBP: 10 – scored twiceThose numbers give you all the information you need to understand that not only am I not crazy, but that pitchers should start walking Bonds today and never give him another opportunity to inch closer to Hank’s record.My argument is simply this: If the statistics that played out in 2006 are indicative of what one can expect from a SF team with Bonds on it, then pitchers and managers from opposing teams will not only Help Save Baseball by not pitching to Bonds, but they can improve their chances of winning at the same time.In 2006 Bonds stepped into the batter’s box 493 times.The results were:26 Home runs77 RBIs74 RunsThe questions are:- How many times Bonds could have been expected to score if he had been walked 493 times?- How does that compare the actual number of runs he generated during the season?We start by looking a Bond’s actual productivity during the year. He stepped into the batter’s box 493 times. He ended up on base a total of 195 times, 178 on first. (50 Singles + 115 Walks + 10 HBP + 1 Error + 1 Wild Pitch + 1 Groundout) Starting on first base he would eventually go on to score 38 times. (74 runs - 26 HR - 10 runs scored after hitting a double) He therefore scored while starting at first 21.35% of the time.Imagine now that rather than pitching to Bonds, he was walked 493 times and ended up on first base. If we take the 21.35% scoring rate from above, Bonds would theoretically score 105 runs after being walked 493 times.To see how this theoretical 105 run total compares to the actual runs he generated we look at the following: 77 RBIs + 48 Runs = 125 Actual Runs Generated. (The 48 runs comes from subtracting 26 HRs from his 74 Run total because HRs are already counted in RBIs)The resulting comparison is 105 theoretical runs scored vs. 125 actual runs generated. Therefore, by intentionally walking Bonds, opposing pitchers and managers can expect that the Giants will score 20 fewer runs during the season. The numbers demonstrate that pitchers and managers can choose to Help Save Baseball by walking Bonds without sacrificing wins. Indeed, just the opposite is the case. As I said last year, this is not a perfect solution and by telegraphing the fact that Bonds will be walked, a team gives the Giants some options they might not have had otherwise, but the numbers have held up two years in a row. Of course in some cases teams will have no choice but to try and get him out i.e. bases loaded in a tie game and Bonds up.Some people have argued that he is walked too much as it is, and last year Jayson Stark even suggested the rules should be changed to limit the use of the Intentional Walk. That may be a valid argument, but the fact of the matter is that, unlike steroids, intentional walks are a legal part of the game and have been used by teams for decades to help facilitate getting to a particular batter or to get themselves out of a particular jam. I would argue that baseball has allowed itself to be put into this jam by letting the most hallowed of its records be assaulted by a synthetic superman. Far be it for me to suggest that pitchers and managers bail Bud Selig out of a problem he allowed to percolate, but if saving the commissioner from himself is the pri[...]

Sir Charles just might be wrong...

2007-05-29T14:28:25.666-07:00

Last week I was a guest with Brian Kilmeade on Brian & the Judge on Fox News Radio. Brian asked me a simple question, “Why is this important?” Amongst all of the other reasons, perhaps the most important is kids. Charles Barkley once famously said “Athletes are not role models.” Sir Charles may indeed be right, but I would ask: How many teenagers have giant posters of their fathers on their walls? How many of them go around with oversized \$150 jerseys that read “Mom” on the back? Like it or not, athletes often populate the pantheons of heroes young people build for themselves in their rooms, lockers and in their minds.

As it relates to young people, the issue at hand is important for two reasons; health and character.

Health is obvious. One need not dig too far to find data demonstrating the catastrophic costs of steroids. From Lyle Alzado to Bill Romanowski the physical and mental effects of steroids are easily seen. Indeed, even a look at the incredibly shrinking Mark McGuire gives one insight into the changes that occur after one stops juicing. It is clear that the short term gains of using steroids are far outweighed by the long term consequences.

Less obvious, but perhaps more important is character. The simple fact is that sports are one of the venues in which many young Americans learn about the verities of life. Sport is nothing more than a microcosm of life, played out between the lines, where its rules are defined, but the field is just a part of a bigger world. It’s where they learn to play by the rules; to be part of a team; to work as hard as they can; to strive to be the best; to be humble in victory and gracious in defeat. Many of the lessons learned on the little league or high school baseball diamond will be with them long after they have thrown their last pitch or touched that last base. While sports are not the only classroom in which young people learn the lessons of life, for many it is one in which they spend a great deal of time.

Many people have written me suggesting an equivalency between Ruth and Bonds because Ruth drank during prohibition and Bonds used steroids before they were banned by baseball in 2002. The suggested equivalency is false. The argument is patently illogical. Just as Prohibition was the law of the land via the Constitution, the use of steroids was made illegal by the federal government in 1991. By their reasoning, pointing out Ruth’s infraction only further damns Bonds.

The Ruth drinking issue is simply a red herring. The truth is that most players, like most Americans have broken the law at some point in their lives – how many times in the last week have you exceeded the speed limit? The issue here is not just one of breaking a particular law. The real issue is the fact that Bonds broke the law with the specific intent of positively impacting his performance between the lines. Say what you will about Ruth, unless he was related to Dr. Johnny Fever, the motivation behind his drinking had nothing to do with scoring on the baseball diamond. Fundamentally, men like Ruth, Aaron, Robinson, Williams, DiMaggio, Gwynn were heroes, perhaps even role models, not because of what they did on the field, but for how they did it. Compare their legacies with those of Shoeless Joe Jackson or Pete Rose.

Make no mistake, if Bonds is allowed to break Hank Aaron’s HR record, the message young people will get is that cheating is an acceptable path to success. MLB has already disgraced itself by spending much of the last 15 years with its head in the sand on this issue; it should not further diminish itself by placing its greatest crown on the head of someone who will have gained it in such a dishonorable way.

(Visit http://www.helpsavebaseball.com/ for shirts and e-mail links to MLB)

Can Integrity be Measured in Games?

2006-07-10T19:44:20.266-07:00

I’ve received a number of e-mails telling me I’m nuts to suggest pitchers walk Bonds every time he steps into the batter’s box. Looking at the numbers, I don’t think I am.

To get an idea of what the impact of walking Bonds would be I went back and looked at his numbers for 2004, the last season he played a full year. Below are a few of his statistics:

Games played: 147
Plate Appearances: 617
Batting Average: .362
Hits: Singles: 60
Doubles: 27 – scored 12 times
Triples: 3 – scored 2 times
Home Runs: 45
RBIs: 101
Runs: 129
Walks: 232
HBP: 9

Those numbers give you all the information you need to understand that not only am I not crazy, but that pitchers should start walking Bonds today and never give him another opportunity to inch closer to the Babe or to Hank.

My argument is simply this: If the statistics that played out in 2004 are indicative of what one can expect from a SF team with Bonds on it, then pitchers and managers will not only Help Save Baseball by not pitching to Bonds, they can improve their chances of winning.

In 2004 Bonds stepped into the batter’s box 617 times. The results were:

45 Home runs
101 RBIs
129 Runs

The questions are: How many times Bonds could have been expected to score if he had been walked 617 times? How does that compare the actual number of runs he generated during the season?

We start by looking a Bond’s actual productivity during the year. He stepped into the batter’s box 617 times. He ended up on base a total of 331 times, 301 on first. Starting on first base he would eventually go on to score 70 runs. (45 of his runs came from HRs, 12 came after he hit doubles and 2 came after he hit triples. 129 - 59 = 70) He therefore scored while starting at first 23.26% of the time.

Imagine now that rather than pitching to Bonds, he was walked 617 times and ended up on first base. If we take the 23.26% scoring rate from above, we would imagine that Bonds would have scored 143 runs.

To see how this theoretical 143 runs compares to the actual runs he generated we look at the following:

101 RBIs + 84 Runs = 185 Runs Generated. (The 84 runs comes from subtracting 45 HRs from his 129 Run total because HRs are already counted in RBIs)

The resulting comparison is 143 theoretical runs scored vs. 185 actual runs generated. Therefore, by intentionally walking Bonds, opposing pitchers and managers can expect that the Giants will score 42 fewer runs during the season. The numbers demonstrate that pitchers and managers can choose to Help Save Baseball by walking Bonds without sacrificing wins. Indeed, just the opposite is the case. This is not a perfect solution, and by a team telegraphing the fact that Bonds will be walked, Felipe Alou may make some lineup changes that impact the outcome. Nonetheless, the numbers speak for themselves and I'm not certain that there is much Alou can do to overcome a 42 run deficit.

While this may cause some fans dismay, I would suggest that it should not. Intentional walks have been a part of baseball forever, and unlike steroids, HGH and Insulin they are not cheating. It is not often that an opportunity comes along where doing the right thing helps not only the few but also the many, and this is one of those times. By deciding to Help Save Baseball, pitchers and managers can not only help the game, but they can help themselves win at the same time. They can help preserve the Integrity of baseball so that Hammerin' Hank will remain the HR champion rather than someone who had to find his greatest games at the end of a needle or in a bottle of pills.

(Visit www.helpsavebaseball.com for shirts and e-mail links to MLB)

It's not a white thing...

2006-04-26T23:13:49.876-07:00

I was on the radio the other day trying to drum up support for my www.Dontpitchtobonds.com grass roots movement. After I hung up a number of people called up suggesting that I, and many white people dislike Barry Bonds because he is a black man. I've read the same thing numerous times online. That is simply not accurate. Unfortunately, it is sometimes difficult to refute such a baseless accusation without sounding trite, with something along the lines as “Of course I like black people… some of my best friends are black.” It’s almost as someone simply making the suggestion demonstrates your guilt regardless of how you respond: “Mr. Smith, I understand you’ve stopped beating your wife?” By the time they finish with their statement you are almost powerless to put the insane idea back into the bottle from which it came. The damage is already done and you are left stammering to try and set the record straight. By the time you get “I’ve never hit a woman in my life” out the reporter or inquisitor is already on to the next subject. Those callers and anyone else who thinks that is a simple case of racism are wrong. Please let me set the record straight. I do not dislike Barry Bonds because of the color of his skin. I don’t know Barry Bonds, but everything I have ever read about him suggests he is a selfish, self absorbed, rude, arrogant bore who is abusive to women, fans and co-workers. Except for all of that, he is probably a great guy. (Not to mention that he cheats on his taxes, his wives, his girlfriends and in baseball, but we can’t hold that against him as no one is perfect…who hasn’t broken the speed limit or ripped the tag off of their mattress?) I probably wouldn’t want him as a friend nor would I ever want my daughter (if I had one) to date him, but baseball is not a Mr. Congeniality contest, it is a game. It does have rules however, and it seems that he knowingly broke them.What is not a game is racism. Nor is it a crutch. While I would not suggest that America or baseball are without racism, to suggest that by definition, criticism of Mr. Bonds is racist does an injustice to not only his objective detractors, but to honest players who have comported themselves with integrity both inside and outside the lines. Three names quickly come to mind. The first is of course the towering giant of a man Jackie Robinson, who by demonstrating the poise, grace, and character to endure all he did in the face of real racism, drove a stake into the heart of segregation in baseball. The second is Jim Rice, the eight time All Star, 1978 AL MVP and three time AL HR champ. Who can forget that day in 1982 when Rice, while thousands of fans and players stood idly by, ran into the stands in Fenway Park to pick up a little boy who had been hit in the head by a baseball off the bat of Dave Stapleton. He carried the boy through the dugout to the team doctor and probably saved his life. Not always a huge favorite of the fans or the media, he was for his 16 years with the Red Sox one of the hardest working men in baseball. Finally there is Mr. Padre, Tony Gwynn the 15 time All Star and 8 time NL batting champion who spent a lifetime in San Diego involving himself not only with the team but with the community.They, along with hundreds of other black players through the decades provide perfect examples of men who understand that it is a man’s character and integrity that define who he is. It is not the supposedly racist writers or fans who have defined who Barry Bonds is. He and his fans can not use that lie as a crutch. It is Barry Bonds who had defined himself. Neither he nor his supporters should be surprised to discover that after 22 years of the Barry Bonds Show on prime time and in person, more than a few people are not enamored with him. I think the guy who summed it up better than anyone was Steven A. Smith of the Philadelphia Inquirer. He said simply: “It’s not about race, it’s about grace.” I don’t think I could hav[...]

A real Superman

2006-04-25T21:15:20.216-07:00

Mr. Bonds has blasted out of his Bob Uecker like season to hit his first home run of the year. Now there are only five to go before he ties Babe Ruth's record of 714 HRs by a left handed batter.This gives me an opportunity to opine a subject I have received a great deal of e-mail about. What is so great about Ruth's number 714? In reality, little but sentiment. (Unless we want to parse every record into "Most triples by green eyed lefties" or "Most steals in a game by guys named John".) Everyone knows that 714 is no longer a record. But Babe Ruth was nothing short of a natural Superman and it pains me to see his number surpassed by a synthetic one. Simply put, (and with all due respect to truthteller’s sentiments about Josh Gibson) Ruth was the greatest player of all time.It is impossible to fairly compare players of different eras with one another. With the advances in equipment, training, nutrition, travel, not to mention the evolution of the game’s eligibility rules or strategy, it is impossible to imagine how a player plucked from 1916 would have performed in 2006 and just as difficult to imagine how a player from 2006 would have fared in 1926. What one can easily do however is to look at how players compared to their contemporaries. On that score, Ruth was Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne rolled into one. In 1920 he hit 54 home runs. That total was more than 14 of the other 15 teams in Major League Baseball that year (Phillies – 64). In 1927 when he hit 60 home runs, that was more than every other team in the American League and behind only the Cubs – 74, the Cardinals – 84 and the New York Giants – 109 in the National League. To put those achievements in perspective, imagine what it would have taken in 2005: For Bonds or anyone to have hit more home runs than 28 out of the 30 teams in Baseball, he would have had to hit 223 long balls, more than every team other than the Yankees 229 and the Rangers 260. Similarly, that would have been the same number necessary in order to hit more home runs than any team in the National League, Reds – 222. Of course, we’re talking about career numbers rather than just individual years. On that score Ruth is similarly Herculean, having during his 22 year career he won the Major League Home Run title outright nine times, shared it twice (with Tilly Walker of the Philadelphia Athletics in 1918 and Lou Gehrig in 1931) and won the AL title once more, his 49 in 1930, second only in the Majors to the 56 by the Cubs’ Hack Wilson. By contrast, in his 20 seasons Bonds has lead the Major Leagues only once, in 2001, and shared the prize once, with Texas’s Juan Gonzalez in 1993.Just to muddy the waters a bit more, one must also remember that between 1914 and 1919 Ruth was a pitcher with the Red Sox. During his first 4 seasons he appeared in a total of 166 games and went to the plate only 285 times. During that time he hit a grand total of 9 HRs. (In 1916, while appearing in a total of 67 games – 44 as a pitcher, Ruth won 23 games with an AL leading 1.75 ERA.) Once again, by contrast, during his first 4 years Bonds played in 566 games and went to the plate 2082 times. During that time Bonds struck a total of 84 HRs.The bottom line is that while 714 is no longer the MLB record, it has great sentimental value. Everyone knows that the real record of 755 belongs to the great Hank Aaron, but that does not change the fact that watching Superman’s mark get surpassed by a chemically enhanced pretender is any less saddening. It didn’t have to be this way. Bonds was born with great gifts in the first place. He very well may have been close to 714 naturally within a similar timeframe had he just decided to work hard with God gave him. Avoiding the Juice probably wouldn’t have made him any more likable a guy, but at least fans would have respected what he did on the field. (Ty Cobb was by almost all accounts a similarly unlikable fellow but everyone knows that in the batters box[...]

Pandora's box...

2006-04-14T14:19:48.563-07:00

A lot has happened since I created the first post below. (As I mentioned, being new to blogging I lost the first post... which is why the date is the same as today's post.)

MLB has decided that it is going to investigate the use of steroids in baseball's past. Bud Selig chose the easy way out. With the greatest record in sport on the ropes he chose to look back in history to see what he might see. Investigate? What are they going to investigate that they couldn't discover in spending a few hours reading "Game of Shadows" and checking a few sources? Then what do they do? Are they going to go back and rewrite history? Are they going to make Bonds's 73 home runs disappear? How about McGuire's 70? Or Sosa's 66? They can't. They are already in the books. (Only this morning it came out that a grand jury is going to look into whether or not Bonds lied under oath. How bad is it that an arm of government not known for expeditiousness can act more quickly than baseball? Pathetic!)

There is really no way to rewrite history. It simply can't be done. Where do you stop? Juiced pitchers? Corked bats? Segregation? Pine tar? Trying to rewrite history would open some Orwellian Pandora's box that would do nothing but cause confusion and chaos and fundamentally diminish baseball.

Give Bonds his 73 HR season. But don't let him eclipse Babe and Hank. My solution is far from perfect but one has to start somewhere. The worst thing would be for baseball to stand by and watch 714 & 755 fall and only later discover to their amazement that Mr. Bonds had indeed used something stronger than milk to enhance his numbers. What would they do then?
(Visit www.helpsavebaseball.com for shirts and e-mail links to MLB)

Help Save Baseball - Don't pitch to Bonds

2006-05-18T16:47:32.533-07:00

I originally posted this on March 28. (Being new to this blogging deal, I lost the blog and had to create another one...)

I'm attempting to begin a grass roots campaign. My goal is to keep Barry Bonds's name off of Hank Aaron's home run record. Not by putting an asterisk by his name but by simply not letting him hit the ball. I want to encourage pitchers to simply walk him, refuse to pitch to him. The idea of Bonds eclipsing the records of Ruth and Aaron is a crime, both literally and figuratively. While 715 & 756 will certainly make for great theater if they occur, in the minds of so many people they are merely travesties in the making.

Given this situation, if Bonds doesn't have the character to simply walk away and leave the game with what's left of its tattered respectability still intact, pitchers should simply refuse to pitch to him. I started thinking about what can one guy do about this? Generally, not much. But that does not mean it’s not worth a shot. We can’t force him to leave gracefully, but I say if he demands to play, let the last record he reaches be walks and let him leave the home run record for someone who deserves it.

Hopefully this "Don't pitch to Bonds" notion can become a movement and pitchers across the league will listen. Maybe then baseball will begin to rebuild its reputation as a game of honor rather than one that turns a blind eye to cheating.

MLB responsibility

It's certainly not news that baseball has been derelict in its responsibilities to keep the game clean. It's not so different than the WWF before it was forced a decade or so ago to concede that it was entertainment rather than a sport. If MLB wants to have juiced players then stop the hypocrisy. Admit it and go on. Maybe they could establish a juiced league and a natural league and let the market decide which league survives, let the fans decide which players they would rather watch. Who knows, maybe then it will be the hypocrisy of the fans that will show its face if they choose the juiced league over the natural. (Somewhat like has occurred in the bodybuilding universe.)

If on the other hand baseball wants to actually have players who are clean, they should have real testing with real consequences. Again, you have to start someplace and Mr. Bonds has created a situation where the attention of the fans is focused and the opportunity for action is greatest.

McGuire
I've never met Bonds, but from everything I've ever read he doesn't seem to be a particularly likeable person. Nonetheless he is not paid to be likeable, he's paid to perform. That said however, it certainly should come as no surprise that a person who is disagreeable with almost everyone would come under much greater scrutiny than someone who is likable. I don't have it out for Bonds. I simply think it is a crime that Babe Ruth's and Hank Aaron's numbers should be surpassed by the Terminator. In answer to what is frequently asked, I was a big fan of the Sosa / McGuire chase back in '98. There were whispers of steroids, but they were just that, and in addition, both men had engaging personalities that endeared them to fans everywhere. Regardless of their smiling dispositions, I would like to think that if I had been faced with an account similar to the one that Williams and Fainaru-Wada have put together on Bonds, I would have been similarly outraged.

Of course, as McGuire stated rather pitifully last year to Congress, we are here to discuss the future of baseball, not the past.

(And of course visit www.helpsavebaseball.com for shirts and e-mail links to MLB)