Friday, February 02, 2007

Off-Field Activities

Well, as it turns out we will have Brett Myers to kick around for another three years following the announcement he has signed a 3-year $25.75 million contract extension. Myers faults and virtues are well known; there is no reason to recapitulate them now. He swears he is a new man already, working out hard this off-season to improve his conditioning and stamina and finally fulfill the high expectations of him.

No doubt he has looked at the Phillies, especially their starting rotation, and decided they can finally make it to the post-season with a good effort from him. Instinct tells me to give him the benefit of the doubt. History tells me he isn’t worthy of that benefit. The first time he gets squeezed by an umpire or gives up a soft home run will tell us a great deal about the “new” Myers.

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Nearly everyone wishes Barry Bonds would just go away…except for his current team. Major League Baseball is dreading the moment Bonds breaks Henry Aaron’s record. For his part, Aaron doesn’t plan to attend the game or acknowledge the new king, lowercase intended. But the Giants, in rebuilding mode and without any real stars, desperately need Barry to put fannies in the seats. The only things they probably dread are that he might hit the 22 home runs he needs to break the record in the first few months of the season and that number 22 comes on the road, god forbid. Then, attendance in San Francisco will fall off dramatically.

The parties will iron out the contract language and get the deal done. Then Bonds can claim his tainted crown barring an injury or indictment and baseball can breathe easily until the next big date in their mutual lives comes five years following his retirement. That moment should produce a few controversies.

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Allow me to join the chorus of those commentators, writers, bloggers and other pundits who decry the treatment Donovan McNabb has received ever since he signed with the Eagles. As the current controversy swirls and grows over how McNabb perceived the takeover by Jeff Garcia, I think it is worth pointing out that the Eagles were thriving under their first string quarterback until his injury and that their two most devastating losses, to the Giants and Titans, had absolutely nothing to do with his performance. Defensive collapses and poor coaching were responsible for those defeats. Without McNabb at the helm, things might have been much worse as the season got underway.

Are there still lingering doubts about his Super Bowl performance at the end of that contest? One might do well to reconsider the source of the disparagement of McNabb as time was running out. When Terrell Owens’ account of events are given credibility we are in serious trouble.

Through it all, McNabb has handled himself admirably. He wanted to travel to New Orleans with the team for the playoffs but was prevented from doing so because his coach has a silly rule about injured players accompanying the team on the road. As is always the case with the rigid Andy Reid, there are rules of administration and rules of reason. AS for Wilma McNabb’s comments about Garcia, the Eagles and her son, was McNabb really expected to be held accountable for his mother’s behavior? By the same token, was he supposed to be happy about sitting on the sidelines as his team rallied under Garcia, A J Feeley or anyone else for that matter? That would hardly be appropriate for a fierce competitor, and it is worth noting he wasn’t carping or saying anything that might undermine that miraculous run.

And finally, was he supposed to be pleased with all of the calls for turning over the starting job to Garcia for next season? He has handled himself with his usual equanimity. If only I could say that about the majority of fans.

1 comment:

RickSchuBlues said...

God forbid is right, that Bonds would hit the record-breaker on the road. It would be U-G-L-Y. At home, of course, it would be heaven on earth for Bonds. It's all quite possible he'll be cut down by Selig-appointed snipers by that point, anyhow. The Giants, by the way, really come off as a rather pathetic organization in all this.

The Phillies are apparently hoping that giving Myers the big-deal contract will be the impetus to finally get better results out of him. For everyone's sake, let's hope so. Myers hasn't been much easier to root for than Bonds, but if he works hard and grows up and wins 18 games, I think I might find it a bit easier.