Bonds 70th, is it that important he not get there?

Anthony Hom

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I couldn't help but notice that the Giants Vs. Houston the other day wherer the giants won 11-8. Each time after his first at-bat, Bonds was walked. The problem is they walked him in each situation which is textbook wrong. You walk Bonds to load the bases to put last years MVP up to bat? The result, a base hit and two runs score.
Are the other teams so bent on Bonds not getting 70, that a team like Houston would put it's playoff hopes on the line? Desite Bonds personality, it's become quite clear that if the other teams pitched to him, he would definitely top 70 home runs, so whether he makes it or not is not up to his ability, which is there, but on whether pitchers will throw anything for him to hit. Isn't that almost like fixing a game?
Being a fan of baseball, I can understand walking as a strategy, but with this walking Bonds just so he won't get 70 is stupid. As a fan, I lost respect for the game of baseball. it's become as fixed as pro wrestling now.
I'll bet that if Houston were leading 12-1 in the ninth inning and Barry bonds came up with no one on base and two outs, they would have still walked him.
Bonds himself is not really talking about the home run record, much to the dismay of the media. I can understand that. Does anyone know that Hank Aaron received death threats if he broke Babe Ruth's record? Maybe Bonds got the same thing if he broke McGwire's record. If anyone saw when the Giants played St. Louis, it was amazing the profanities that were yelled at Bonds when he came up to bat, and this was only less than 40 HRs.
Of course, people like that do not represent all the fans of baseball. Proof of this are all the cheers he's getting at opposing teams ball parks last month. It was amazing to see the crowd in Colorado calling for bonds to take a curtain call after hitting #62, you jsut don't see that.
I think they should let Barry get past 70. Then next year, they can make up for it by pitching to McGwire or Sosa and let them beat Bonds record.
Many of the teams are saying they are playing the way they should and will not change. There's a bigger picture here than that. Baseball has had an uphill climb in geting fans back after the 1994 strike. If they deny Bonds the CHANCE of getting the home run record on purpose, then they'll may lose some audience. Give the fans what they want, a fair game of baseball.
 

John Thomas

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It's called strategy. What was really telling is the after-game comments (aka whining) Bonds made. He was complaining about the Astros didn't pitch around Sosa, who has almost as many home runs.
Barry, here's a newsflash: the Giants may be vying for the wildcard along with the Astros. It would be foolish to pitch to him in any relatively close situation. He's hot right now, and SF is 3 games behind the Astros and Cardinals in the Wild Card race. If you're a MLB Manager, you want to play everything just right and if you allowed Bonds to get his 70th HR and get the winning RBI, thereby losing your chance to get into the playoffs, you'd lose your job.
As far as 'fixing' the game, I think that's a bit harsh. It's part of the game. It's the equivalent to double/triple teaming Shaq and/or fouling him. No one here complained last year about the many times he had to put up with other jobbers coming in to get their 5 free fouls on Shaq. Next.
About Bonds commenting on the HR record: BS. He's got his kids in the stands with signs stating "pitch to our daddy. we want 70." His comments about them pitching around him also reveal his true colors. He wants this record so bad he can taste it, apparently so that his already inflated ego can rise more.
I think they should let Barry get past 70. Then next year, they can make up for it by pitching to McGwire or Sosa and let them beat Bonds record.
They're records for a reason. You just don't nonchalantly give someone a particular record. Maris' 61 HR stood for 37 years. The new record has stood for 3. 3? That's what some see as degrading the sport, moreso the importance and grandeur of the HR.
The reason Bonds is being walked is because of strategy, which I stated before. It's also out of respect for his ability. Respect for him personally may not ever come if he continues his self-absorbed performance. This is what he really needs to learn.
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Joseph S

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quote: It's called strategy. What was really telling is the after-game comments (aka whining) Bonds made. He was complaining about the Astros didn't pitch around Sosa, who has almost as many home runs.
[/quote]
It's better described as a really bad strategy. This never ever seems to help when playing even a halfway decent team that has any respect of a #5 hitter. You can't keep putting a guy on base and not feel the effects.
Ask Cleveland what good it did pitching around Nomar in '95?? Troy O'Leary hit a Grand Slam and a 3 Run Homer and they lost a crushing game 5. If Houston focused more on winning than pitching around Bonds, they'ld have had a better chance of actually accomplishing their goal. As it stands Jeff Kent is now putting the nail in the coffin of a Houston division championship. Bonds ain't perfect and by putting a runner on everytime gives the next guy a chance at production with every single AB!!!
[Edited last by Joseph S on October 04, 2001 at 05:27 PM]
 

MikeM

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It's better described as a really bad strategy.
Sorry, but you're wrong there. Get this, a few eyars back when Buck Showalter (sp?) was the manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, I saw the following scenerio at Candlestick Park:
The Diamondbacks are up by two runs in to top of the 9th inning.
The Giants are now up.
The Giants have the bases loaded with Bonds at the plate, and two outs.
What do they do? They walked Barry Bonds with the bases loaded to make the Giants only down by one run in the bottom of the 9th! Yes, they walked in a run in a close game!
What happens next? The next batter, (don't remember who), lines out to right field and the game is over.
It's the only time I've ever seen an intentional walk with the bases loaded, and it worked like a charm.
Nice going, Buck.

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Joseph S

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Sorry, but you're wrong there.
Don't think so. Pitching around once is playing the percentages. You choose to face one guy over another with only one out to get.(By the way, others did that with McGwire the same year)
However, pitching around every a guy every single AB is throwing the percentages out the window. It's just plain stupid. If Barry hit one 3 run homer last night they would have been better off than loading the bases and putting runners in scoring position for Jeff Kent in each AB.
Last I checked Barry doesn't even come close to leading the league in RBI and he sure as hell isn't hitting .400. He can't hurt you nearly as much as Jeff Kent can hitting with men in scoring position every AB. All he needs is to hit a fly ball, weak groundout, etc. and you're down a few more runs or facing 2nd/3rd with 2 or less outs again over and over and over again.
Two games, two losses for Houston!!!!

Update: It's still not helping
-Benard struck out swinging.
-Aurilia grounded out to third.
-Bonds walked.
-Kent homered to left, Bonds scored
 

MikeM

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Last I checked Barry doesn't even come close to leading the league in RBI and he sure as hell isn't hitting .400.
Ummm...that's because he just set the all-time record for walks in a season.

It's hard to drive in runs and get a high batting average when you get walked. And that's entirely the point of walking him. If they didn't, who knows what his RBI total would be, but I can guarantee it would higher.
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Anthony Hom

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I have to agree, it was BAD strategy. wouldn't it have been better to give up one home run to Bonds instead of 2-4 runs from Kent and Gallaraga? That's what happened. Just because Kent was MVP last year doesn't mean he won't deliver this year. He went past 100 RBIs after last night which is not shabby for a good player. And did everyone just not see how well Gallaraga was playing once he joined the Giants? Let him bat with runners on base? That's good STRATEGY?? I don't buy it, it has to be the fear of the 70 homer, whether bonds deserves the chance or not.
As for the fear of a pitcher giving up the 70 to Bonds? How many people out there hate or ridicule the guy who gave up #70 to McGwire? Or is it an honor to give up 70 to McGwire because he deserved it and not to Bonds because he doesn't deserve it? That reason doesn't wash, people will ackowledge it, then forget it and move onto next season.
Well, if Houston misses the playoffs because they played a strategy that didn't work, and will cost them in the end, then that's the price they paid. (High price).
In conclusion, my prediction is Bonds will end the season with 69 homers, and LA will walk him EVERYTIME he comes to bat, even if the bases are loaded and it walks in the winning run.
 

Seth Paxton

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The best thing about sports is that all decisions have a final judgement called "Scoreboard"
Bonds scored last night, and again tonight, after being walked. And the Astros lost the last 2 games and could lose again tonight.
You have to wonder how many "free" runs they are going to let Bonds score.
As for this
What happens next? The next batter, (don't remember who), lines out to right field and the game is over.
Yes, but what would Bonds have done? For sure? He might just have well have struck out as done damage. Buck had Scoreboard that night, but it was risky even then and he could just as easily have had scoreboard by pitching to Bonds.
As said above, Bonds isn't hitting 400, let alone 800. You are going to get him out more than 75% of the time...unless you walk him everytime.
Bonds has a .500 OBP, but the Astros have chosen to make that 1.000. And since his .500 OBP has a lot to do with other teams being afraid of him too, it's safe to say that more often than not, you will get him out.
 

David Lambert

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Agree or disagree with this walking strategy, it's going on again tonight. Currently in the top of the 7th, Giants leading 'Stros 8-1. Bonds has walked, grounded out, then walked 2 more times. On his first walk he was batted in for a run. On the other occassions teammates either scored just after or just before his at-bat. I must agree that the Astros, my brother's favorite team, seem to be so damn concerned about Bonds - regardless of whether it's "respect" for his ability or they just don't want to go down as giving up the record to him - that they are losing sight of all the other players. I don't follow baseball much anymore, but it's becoming pretty interesting as to how this plays out. "Let's give him the walks record instead of the home run record".
By the way, 3 cheers for Ricky Henderson, eh?

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KeithH

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I am very disappointed in Larry Dierker and the Houston Astros. The Astros are being grade-A wimps with Bonds. Don't argue that they need to pitch around him since they are in a pennant race. The Astros got killed the last two night by the Giants, yet they intentionally walked Bonds. Pathetic. I was just watching ESPN, and the Astros intentionally walked Bonds when down 8-1 in the late innings. "Oh no! I don't want to be the one who gave up Bonds' 70th home run!" This sucks. If Bonds ends up with 69 home runs, I want there to be an asterisk in the baseball records noting the Astros lack of moxie.

On the bright side, Rickey Henderson surpassed Ty Cobb tonight for the most runs scored all-time.
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[Edited last by KeithH on October 04, 2001 at 09:09 PM]
 

Joseph DeMartino

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I don't think it is a matter of teams wanting to "stop Bonds." I think it is a matter of pitcher's ego. Nobody wants to the be guy who gives up that 70th or 71st run, because that will put his name in the record books right alongside Bond's. So none of them want to give him anything to hit.
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Joe
 

David Lambert

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Well, Bonds has one more shot tonight at the top of the 9th. Think they'll pitch to him? With noone on and no outs?
NAAAAAAHHHH!

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David Lambert

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They pitched to him! And he smashed it!
Good for Bonds!
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John Thomas

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In the situation in the 9th, there wasn't anything to lose by giving him a gopher ball. Otherwise, it's smart baseball to walk him.
Barry Bonds: 70 HR .323 avg
Jeff Kent: 22 HR .300 avg
When interviewed, even the Dodgers pitching staff admitted that they would pitch around him. These are baseball players, folks. They aren't armchair baseball managers. They realize that the guy's swinging the bat well and would rather give him one base rather than one run. That's how that scoreboard works.

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Mitty

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In the situation in the 9th, there wasn't anything to lose by giving him a gopher ball.
That wasn't a gopher ball, that was a 22 year old kid trying to blow it by him. The first pitch, a 95 mph chest high fastball, was evidence enough of that. He earned that one, it wasn't a gimme. Plus, they brought in a lefty specifically to face him.
 

KeithH

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These are baseball players, folks. They aren't armchair baseball managers. They realize that the guy's swinging the bat well and would rather give him one base rather than one run.
Whatever happened to the fierce competitor mentality of the professional athlete? A matter of a pitcher's ego? A professional pitcher's ego should be, "I am going after him with my best stuff, and I'm going to strike him out." Sure, as a pitcher, there is the chance that you will join some dubious company in giving up Bonds' 70th or 71st home runs (hello, Ralph Branca, Al Downing, and Steve Trachsel), but there is also the possibility that you will go after Bonds with your best stuff and get him out. As I pitcher, I would take immense pride in getting Bonds out while he was standing on the doorstep of history. The bottom line is that the majority of pitchers facing Bonds lately have had no moxie.
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Jay H

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Maybe if the media didn't make such a big deal out of it, he would of gotten it earlier.. I'm sitting here watching some college football game and then I go away to do something, I come back and I see baseball!!!! WTF! I had to change the channel for awhile since I'm not much a baseball fan. Every sports report is so keyed on this thing, perhaps the pitchers can't help but try to pitch around him. Now, that he has his number, things can get back to normal and things like the NASCAR guy who lost his life can be reported on and not swept under the carpet like CNNSI.COM seems to be doing.
Jay
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