Barry Bonds is NOT Jason Giambi. After yesterday's news conference, I want to pose a question to you all. Whether you believe or not that both Giambi and Bonds knowingly took steroids in an attempt to enhance their performance:
Which news conference would you rather listen to?
For my money (or, for my time), it's Bonds. Oh, I'll freely admit I'd be frowning and shaking my head in dismay a lot more during a Bonds news conference, but one thing I won't worry about is Barry not saying what's on his mind. And isn't that what the thing was for? To let Barry get some stuff off his chest? Giambi sorried his way through his press conference, then signed autographs like a good little Yankee. Maybe Mr. Steinbrenner gave him a pat on the head and some table scraps, too. But Barry? Heh, he's the pit bull you always keep one eye on, because you treated him roughly as a puppy -- now fully grown, you don't know what'll happen when you put your hand out. You might not get that hand back.
Many would say the purpose of the news conference was so that the media could ask Barry some questions of their choosing, most of which obviously would center around a certain substance. However, this is where things start to go horribly wrong.
Press conferences are not for the media. They are for the people speaking, the people getting asked the questions. Isn't that who the rest of us are listening to? In this sense, the media is just as arrogant as Bonds has ever been, believing themselves to be delivering the Bonds we love/hate. The media is fully confident of their role in society, and this leads them to believe that they deserve answers when they ask questions. And that is another problem with many in the media. They believe they personally deserve answers. Not for us, the audience without which the media wouldn't exist, but for themselves. Arrogance yet again.
Jason Stark of ESPN quickly put up some reactions to the newconference which echoes some of what I'm saying. Here's an excerpt:
"Nobody wants to hate this guy. Not the fans. Not the people asking those questions Tuesday. Not the men he plays against. Not even Jose Canseco.
"Barry Bonds is the greatest player most of us have ever seen. It's human nature to want to love and admire people like that."
Hey, Jason! You ever heard of jealousy? Talk about being naive. I like Stark a lot, but those statements make me wonder where he's been the last dozen years. Nobody wants to hate this guy? No, Jason, most people hated this guy back when they heard Barry was a jerk, but didn't yet know for themselves. Preconceived notions have never run thicker in professional sports than around Bonds. And heck, for the record, I myself think Bonds is a jerk, but I still cannot help but believe the media (in general) intentionally pushes his well-known buttons, just so they can act indignant and outraged when he lashes out. This other excerpt from Stark's article really drives it home:
"We thought he couldn't get any stranger. We thought he couldn't get any more arrogant. We thought he couldn't possibly get any tougher to love, or even like."
What is the name of Lallapalooza were you expecting, Stark? Put on some gloves and get a grip on reality, would ya?
Enough about that. Now, let me call someone else an idiot.
Buster Olney! Idiot!
Okay, maybe that's going a bit far, but in checking out Olney's preseason rankings, a few glaring errors jump out -- I'll elaborate on one of them.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are ranked 16th behind the Cleveland Indians, the Texas Rangers, the New York Mets, and the Seattle Mariners.
Now, normally this would be guffaw-guffaw time, especially if the Giants were ranked 15th or above (los Gigantes are ranked 9th by Olney). However, this time, it's just stupid.
The Dodgers have added pitching (though they paid too much for it), and replaced the offense they lost (Adrian Beltre for J.D. Drew, and Shawn Green for Jeff Kent). They won the NL West last season. And now, that team is being ranked behind: 1) an up and coming team, the Indians, but they really didn't get any better over the offseason, and haven't proven a thing, 2) the always-a-bride's-maid-but-never-a-bride team, the Rangers, who, like the Indians, didn't get significantly better during the offseason, and added no pitching, 3) the hope-for-a-wildcard team, the Mets, who just in no way are going to beat out the Atlanta Braves, the Florida Marlins, AND the Philidelphia Phillies for a division title, and frankly, should be happy to finish above any of those three after adding only Pedro to a pitching staff that needed more, and failing to add Carlos Delgado to an offense that needed him, and 4) the Seattle Mariners, whose hopes ride on the shoulders of Mr. Injured, Richie Sexson (who isn't exactly Jim Thome when healthy anyway), and Adrian Beltre, who had a wonderful year last year after he'd stunk up the joint for two years previous.
Out of those fours teams, only the Rangers were a good team and well above .500, the rest were anywhere from a touch below (the Indians at 80-82), to well below (the Mets at 71-91), to just plain low (the Mariners at 63-99). While I realize the Mets, Indians, and Mariners all should improve, will they be 90+ win teams, like the Dodgers were last year? Sure, it could happen, but is it likely to happen?
So hats off to Buster Olney, who figured out a cockamamie scheme to make me defend my most hated sports franchise, the Los Angeles Dodgers. Good job.
Stupid, freaking Dodgers.