Like Barry Bonds, Baseball Widow hasn't retired; she's just not playing.
Enjoy the archives. . .

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Tom Martin Update
Baseball Widow hears that Tom Martin signed a minor league deal with the Astros. That's something good he's done.
Not a Rhetorical Question
Can someone explain to me why batters are allowed to hollow out their bats but they're not allowed to cork the bats? I know that corking supposedly affects the way the ball reacts to the bat, but it seems like a bizzare distinction.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Nobility is as Nobility Does

It's too bad that there was so much attention being paid to this Fenway/Sheffield Shenanigan on the day that has been set aside to honor Jackie Robinson, one of the really great men ever to play. Robinson's greatness, and the attribute that Branch Rickey thought separated him from the pack, was not his amazing speed or great fielding. Rather, Jackie Robinson had the strength to deal with the terrible racism he faced, and the nobility to avoid response to it. That nobility helped place him above the discussion of race and put him in the company of other greats.

It's not noble to take a swing at a fan. Sheff is lucky the drunk who brushed his face still had the reactions to dodge. He also seems lucky that people haven't noticed that he knocked over two women with his attempt to sock that guy. Last season, Milton Bradley incurred the wrath of the media for simply yelling at a fan who had thrown a bottle at him. I'm not certain that Sheff was attacked, but I know that he didn't have an object hurled at him. His reaction seems much more extreme that that of Bradley's. Baseball Widow isn't sure why Sheff's encounter hasn't resulted in media outcry. Is it because Sheff is a star and he wears pinstripes? Maybe. Either way, it's not sitting right with Baseball Widow.

Maybe Bradley and Sheff were each 100% justified to react the way they did; I don't know. I do know, however, that being justified isn't the same as being noble. Jackie Robinson took some abuse in his day--more abuse than Bradley or Sheff can imagine, and although Baseball Widow thinks he would have been well within his rights to do much more than throw a bottle on the ground or fake a swing at his detractors, Jackie took it in stride. Baseball Widow looks at Sheffield and says, "Yeah, I might do the same if I were him." Baseball Widow looks at Jackie's legacy and says, "I only hope I could endure hardship the way he did." I'm sorry that this story took time and attention on Robinson's day (even I am guilty of that, too), but it does serve as a reminder that Jackie was much more than a great baseball player: he was a great person.

N.B.: Baseball Widow does want to recognize that there is a flip side to her argument. Jackie could not have reacted to abuse the way a white player could have without compromising the future of blacks in baseball; Bradley and Sheff can do what they please to fans and their race doesn't even come up as part of the discussion. Baseball Widow likes to think this is a sign of some equality that has been achieved. Still, it probably would be nice if we didn't have to ponder player/fan assaults at all.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Tom Martin Update
Braves pitcher Tom Martin faced four batters in this afternoon's loss. The LOOGY gave up a double and two walks to three fellow lefties. He got the righty out. Baseball Widow has no official comment.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Another Big Deal that Isn't
Is there really nothing else to talk about? Who cares if Derrek Lowe and Dave Roberts wore Red Sox jerseys? Weren't they receiving their rings for playing with the Red Sox? Wouldn't non-Sox jerseys have looked less aesthetically pleasing? Besides, if the issue is really about disrespect, why aren't we talking about Pedro?
Call it Baseball Widow's version of Tommy John
Baseball Widow is nothing if not polite. Instead of writing about how terrible Tom Martin is or about how stupid John Kruk's comments are, I'm just going to note everytime either one of them does something good. Don't worry, Baseball Widow will post about other things, too. It's not like I'm looking for an excuse to cease writing the blog.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Conspiracy Theory

So, my strike against writing about steroids didn't last very long; I've fallen off the wagon. . .

Baseball Widow hasn't read anything anyone else has written lately--this may no longer be an original thought, but here goes:

Is it possible that Alex Sanchez's positive test result, announced on opening day, is what would be called in the legal field a "test case"--an event constructed to challenge a law or rule? (Other famous test cases include the Scopes "Monkey Trial" and the Rosa Parks bus sit-in.) Think about it. . .

--Who is Alex Sanchez but someone who just barely made the roster this year? A well-known athlete could never risk his reputation to be part of a challenge to the system, but a new name could.

--What has been the reaction by the people who talk about baseball? Whereas last week John Kruk was saying that anyone who tested positive once should be banned for life, today he was arguing that the policy needs clarification, that Sanchez could have unintentionally violated the rule, that we need to examine the issue before judging, etc.

--What the general public seemed to have been most upset about during the steroids furor was that the athletes were using illegal substances, but the new policy seems to place equal emphasis and punishment on the use of banned substances that are legal.

--Tampa Bay totally overreacted to the news--cleaning out the locker, removing the nameplate, suspending him from team activities. . . no one does this when a player gets a DUI.

--ESPN interviewed the Tampa Bay player rep Rocco Baldelli (who, by the way, appears to be approximately 16 years old), and he said nothing positive about supporting his teammate, and the anchors responded by saying that every player rep should become actively involved in this first suspension and use it as an opportunity to demand policy clarification.

I know that there's still some disagreement as to exactly what Sanchez tested positive for, but I don't think it's beyond the realm of possibility that it was just a mistake. During the Cubs/Diamondbacks game today, Rick Sutcliff compared the suspension policy of steroids to that of intentionally plunking a batter. He said that hitting a batter could be an accident, but testing positive for a banned substance is clearly intentional. . . sure, if Sanchez's story is true, he should still be responsible for reading a label, but, again, why would the steroids furor have to result in the banning of legal substances? There's not much clarity to the reasons behind the testing policy. Which substances give you an appropriate advantage (creatine?) and which are taboo (HGH, steroids?). What over-the-counter supplements might contain banned substances--remember the Olympic athlete who took cold medicine? Does anyone really believe that cold medicine helped her flip better? And what about false positives? This is something Sutcliff seems completely unaware of. He's so very sure that we should suspend a first time positive tester for half of the season, and yet he doesn't understand even the basics of the testing system. What will happen when someone who is universally considered clean (Shilling, for instance) tests positive? In the first place, Baseball Widow isn't sure it's fair to invade someone's privacy for drug testing, but I am sure it's tragically wrong to do so in a manner that might ruin someone's career.

Whew! I've said all that to say this: this suspension doesn't add up. Baseball Widow might just be paranoid, but I smell conspiracy, or at least, careful planning. Okay, at the very least, this looks like clever use of circumstances. How's that for backpedaling?