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What would you do with 756?

So really quickly, before I board jetBlue 315 to Oakland (from Dulles - that 4:30 a.m. taxi was refreshing):

You might have noticed the Nationals' six-game winning streak, the perfect homestand, and the statistics of Dmitri Young and Ryan Zimmerman in that time. (I'm holding a copy of the $.35 edition, and they broke out their stats on the front of the sports section. Pretty impressive.)

But I think the plight of Austin Kearns - and what he might do or not do with Barry Bonds's 756th homer - is pretty darned interesting. I don't have time to comment (they're boarding already), but I'd ask you to read this and then mull it over. By the time I land in the Bay Area at 12:15 Eastern, I'd love y'all to have a consensus. (Kearns, incidentally, is looking for advice on this. He really doesn't know what to do.)

Talk to you from the left coast.

By Barry Svrluga  |  August 6, 2007; 6:04 AM ET
 
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Comments

People who pay thousands of dollars for baseballs and autographs waste money that could be better used elsewhere. (Where are unreasonable taxes when you need them?) If the ball bounces back onto the field, Kearns (or whoever) could do everyone a favor by handing the ball over for enshrinement in the hall of fame.

But it's an academic question anyway, because Bonds is not going to hit that home run off of Nats pitching.

Posted by: MrSandy | August 6, 2007 6:14 AM | Report abuse

I thought of this, too. Since Kearns isn't supposed to keep it himself, he should give it to the DC Boys and Girls Club, or to the DC Baseball Academy, or something like that. They could auction off the ball, and the Nationals will have cemented their place in the community a bit.

Now that I think of it, it would work for Kearns, too, if he could claim the value of the ball he donates on his taxes.

Posted by: Kevin | August 6, 2007 7:04 AM | Report abuse

pull a sharpie out of his back pocket, draw an asterisk on it and give it right back to bonds.

Posted by: natsinthevalley | August 6, 2007 7:11 AM | Report abuse

He should do whatever he usually does, not treat it as anything special.

Posted by: JHM | August 6, 2007 7:12 AM | Report abuse

Kearns should absolutely hand the ball over to the gang from Cooperstown. As the article at the following link points out, Bonds has snubbed the Hall since 2002 (anticipatory much?), and sure doesn't plan to give them something as important as the HR ball itself.

For a guy who has been so polarizing, and who many would argue has done so much damage to the game, having that ball as a centerpiece for the "Steroid Era" display at the Hall of Fame would be sweet justice and a fitting tribute to the man. This guy wants to control his legacy at the cost of everyone and everything around him -- including the game itself. If Kearns can help keep that from happening, by getting such a polarized relic into the hall, he should do so and then hold his head high about it.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070801/ap_on_sp_ba_ne/bbo_hall_items_aaron___bonds

Posted by: Hall O Shamer | August 6, 2007 7:16 AM | Report abuse

He has to hand it over to either the Giants or MLB and let them do w/ it what they want, put it in the Hall of Fame, whatever. Certainly can't throw it back in the stands. Although, I like the drawing an asterik on it idea.

Posted by: mlwagnercpa | August 6, 2007 7:17 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Kevin. Austin should give the ball to the charity of his choice and let them auction it off to raise money.

Posted by: Nats fan in NJ | August 6, 2007 7:18 AM | Report abuse

Give it to Barry and stop everyone from whining about whether or not the record is legitimate.

Posted by: Ed | August 6, 2007 7:36 AM | Report abuse

If I were Austin, I'd give the ball to Bud Selig and let him deal with it. I think the less he is associated with this whole mess, the better.

Posted by: Ray | August 6, 2007 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Auction the ball off and give the money to the charity of his choice. A DC based charity would be best from a team PR point of view, but perhaps there is one that means something to AK particularly.

Posted by: #4 | August 6, 2007 8:01 AM | Report abuse

great stuff with Austin.

I'd watch the market for it, sell it before it diminishes too much, pay off my loans, and buy a house. And Barry Bonds would be my favorite player ever.

Posted by: jon | August 6, 2007 8:02 AM | Report abuse

pull a sharpie out of his back pocket, draw an asterisk on it and give it right back to bonds.

Posted by: natsinthevalley | August 6, 2007 07:11 AM

I am laughing so hard that I can't even haiku. PERFECT!

Posted by: HaikuMan | August 6, 2007 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Just throw it back into the infield, and let the umpires take care of it. Im sure theyve been briefed on what to do. I doubt AK could get away with it in his back pocket very easily.

Posted by: Andrew Stebbins | August 6, 2007 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Giving the ball to a DC charity is a fantastic idea. If not, give it to the Hall.

Posted by: G-town | August 6, 2007 9:08 AM | Report abuse

I didn't see it but a friend said the Onion had an article about it: "Home Run Ball Sells for $5 bucks on E-Bay".

Posted by: NatsNut | August 6, 2007 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Give it to Bonds

Posted by: Jason | August 6, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

If Kearns gets it, I don't think he has any choice but to give it to Bonds. MLB is complicit in all this. As a player, you can't let the accusations influence your behavior. If Bonds has any class, he will make a donation to a charity in Kearn's name in return.

Posted by: Mr. 300* | August 6, 2007 9:25 AM | Report abuse

If Bonds has any class, he will make a donation to a charity in Kearn's name in return.

Posted by: Mr. 300* | August 6, 2007 09:25 AM


I don't care if you love him or hate him, but I ask you: what have you *ever* seen out of Barry Bonds to make you think he has any class?

Posted by: Hall O Shamer | August 6, 2007 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Although I like the thought behind both the charity and the asterisk, I'm with Andrew and JHM: throw it back into the infield. It's the best non-statement statement you could possibly make. That's what Kearns is looking for, right? As Young's quote in todays paper said (only 35¢) "He's chasing history. Whoop-dee-doo."

Posted by: Mick | August 6, 2007 9:37 AM | Report abuse

If Austin Kearns somehow winds up with the ball that becomes Bonds' #756, he should send it to Cooperstown. (Whether he first draws an asterisk on it or not is a decision I'd leave to him.)

As repository of the game's most historic artifacts and as a museum dedicated to the sport, the Hall of Fame is the proper place for that ball. Let it spark discussions about how Barry Bonds reached his home run total and, someday, when passions have cooled it could be the centerpiece someone suggested earlier for an exhibit on "the steroid era". This could take awhile, however, considering the surprising amount of heat that can be generated on the topic of Shoeless Joe Jackson and the 1919 World Series.

But please allow me a brief digression and a bit of boasting while donations to and displays at Cooperstown is on the table for discussion.

Like Mr. Svrluga, I was there for the Ripken/Gwynn Induction Weekend. (By the way, Barry S., I have an e-mail from Dave Sheinin in my inbox that says, quoting here, "Svrluga does owe me big-time for Cooperstown".)

While in Cooperstown we toured the Hall of Fame and Museum, using the lifetime passes Ann and I got for our own donations of baseball artifacts to the Hall. (Mine was the ticket stub from what would have been game #2633 of Cal Ripken's streak if he hadn't decided to take that night off. Inspired by that example and the lifetime pass they gave me, Ann donated her April 2005 ticket stubs from the very first Nationals game ever in Philadelphia and from the first Nats game at RFK.)

Anyway, there's a section in the Museum called "Today's Game", with exhibits for each team. At the Washington Nationals display, among mementos that include Frank Robinson's cap and ball from the first Nationals' home run hit by Terrmel Sledge on Opening Day in Philadelphia is a die-cut Capitol Dome ticket from the first game at RFK. A ticket for a seat in Section 502.

Which is when Ann started jumping up and down. "That's my ticket! That's my ticket!" she whisper-yelled (well, it IS a museum).

Indeed it is her ticket from that night. On display in the Museum of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

Now, please forgive me for boasting, but is there any greater thrill for a fan of baseball than to be immortalized there?

Posted by: Section 502 (Is In The Hall!) | August 6, 2007 9:38 AM | Report abuse

... I'm with Mr. Sandy and the others who 'just don't get it'. It's a baseball; it isn't any different from any other MLB baseball. Why don't we enshrine the cap Bonds will wear, or the bat he uses, or the glove the pitcher (who gives it up) will wear, or the home plate he eventually crosses?

... but then again, as my wife often reminds me, I am totally devoid of romance.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 6, 2007 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Hand it to some youngster in the stands and say "Here's your college tuition, kid".

Posted by: joebleux | August 6, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Zim is right, Kearns can't keep it - throw it into the stands or throw it back to the Giant's dugout.

On a FAR FAR more important note: Who will be the odd man out on our roster and in the rotation when Shawn Hill makes his return in game 1 vs. Phily next Tuesday?

A lot will depend on performances on this road-trip, but my guess is Redding gets bumped back a day and Hanrahan heads back to AAA for 3 weeks.

Posted by: estuartj | August 6, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Give it to the HOF

Posted by: kjh | August 6, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Give it to the nearest ump and get back into position and wait patiently for the next pitch.

It's baseball's baseball, let the sport decide what to do with it.

Posted by: i hate walks | August 6, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Man, my non profit could finally build a dock at the lighthouse with that auction money and finish the restoration work! :-)

But seriously, my own dreaming aside, I think he should donate it to the HoF too. (love the asterisk with sharpie idea, but I doubt that's a realistic option).

Posted by: misschatter | August 6, 2007 9:53 AM | Report abuse

without a doubt, he should hold onto it and give it to the Hall of Fame...that's where it belongs, regardless of where things come out with Barry.

The worst thing to do would be give it to a fan who will extort someone for money, or give it to bonds who, as i recall, hasn't been willing to hand too much stuff over to the hall of fame.

Posted by: natsin08 | August 6, 2007 10:03 AM | Report abuse

I mean, there is really only 1 choice. I number 756 needs to go to the Hall. I know that this means that Bonds will be mad, the press will think he's holding it for himself, and whatever else, but that is where it belongs. Not in Bond's private collection, not on the auction block, but in Cooperstown.

Posted by: Nats444 | August 6, 2007 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Look for someone with a Curly W cap in the stands and give it to him or her.

Love the asterisk idea

Posted by: Sec 515 | August 6, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I'm a little torn myself. HOF makes sense because then it's in a safe, baseball home. But does it really *belong* there?
I surely don't want Bonds to get it, the arrogant, greedy little [RF].
I like the idea of donating it to a kid's charity best I think.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 6, 2007 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Hey 502 -- did you see Sheinin's baseball page in yesterday's Post? He has "Svrluga" listed in his highlights of the week for baseball citing Mr. B's luck in going to Cooperstown. LOL

-----------
Like Mr. Svrluga, I was there for the Ripken/Gwynn Induction Weekend. (By the way, Barry S., I have an e-mail from Dave Sheinin in my inbox that says, quoting here, "Svrluga does owe me big-time for Cooperstown".)

Posted by: Section 502 (Is In The Hall!) | August 6, 2007 09:38 AM


Posted by: nats fan in annandale | August 6, 2007 10:14 AM | Report abuse

hey 502 ... that's an awesome story! Thanks for sharing :)

Posted by: i hate walks | August 6, 2007 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Tom House caught Aaron's 715th in the bullpen. He returned it to Hank and the HOF. Kearns should follow suit.

Posted by: Section 214, Row 10 | August 6, 2007 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Section 214 says "...returned it to Hank AND the HOF"
I'm pretty sure it's either/or in this case. Bonds isn't going to give it to the HOF. Kearns (or whoever) will have to decide: Bonds OR the HOF. Or E-bay of course.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 6, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

I agree with the posts that suggest giving the ball to an umpire.

Posted by: To the Umpire | August 6, 2007 10:36 AM | Report abuse

I like this guy more every day. You can just see the air quotes around "chasing history."

"He's chasing history. Whoop-dee-doo."
-- Dmitri Young

Posted by: CevansJr | August 6, 2007 10:38 AM | Report abuse

He should give it to Bonds. If Bonds doesn't want to donate to the HOF then that will just add to his legacy. Kearn's potential predictment is reminscient of the dilemma faced by Cubs fans last week - should they respect tradition and throw back any home runs balls hit by Bonds? I don't know how this came out - Bonds hit two while there - does anyone know if they "threw them back?"

Posted by: lowcountrynatsfan | August 6, 2007 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Austin should have a look around the crowd and find a young fan and hand it to him/her and make sure that security takes care of the youngster. What a thrill for the kid and what a great thing for Austin to do for this youngster

Posted by: Broncos7 | August 6, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

My original thought was to look for a Curly W hat too, Sec 515. I was trying to figure out what Bonds would consider the worst thing to have happen. I'm going to have to agree with Hall O Shamer though. Giving the ball to the HOF when Bonds clearly won't give anything is perfect. Enshrine the steroid era!

Posted by: Former Giants Fan | August 6, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I don't care if you love him or hate him, but I ask you: what have you *ever* seen out of Barry Bonds to make you think he has any class?

Posted by: Hall O Shamer | August 6, 2007 09:36 AM
-------------------------------
Hall O Shamer is absolutely correct. I could not care less whether Bonds took steroids. I root against Bonds because he's conducts himself in such a disrespectful manner.

Posted by: Right on | August 6, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Barry, would love to hear Austin's reaction to the much loved suggestion about keeping a sharpie in his sock and putting the asterisk on it! I think that's brilliant!

I would agree with whomever proposed the HoF puts together an exhibit (can be small at first, but juiced up later) to acknowledge "The Steroid Era" with some facts and fictions about the period and its legacy on the game. That would be a big positive step for some accountability from the league for such a poor handling of the doping in the game for so long.

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | August 6, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

This has been hugely entertaining. ShawNatsFan, "I would agree with whomever proposed the HoF puts together an exhibit (can be small at first, but juiced up later)" is brilliant. Worthy of natsfan1a and our other punsters.

I probably would say give it to the HOF, though I like the charity idea. But here's one not thrown out yet: give it to the pitcher. Let John Lannan keep it as a memento of his third MLB start. I can envision a trophy case for him. For #1 a piece of Utley's wrist bone, #2 the winning scorecard, #3 Bonds home run ball.

Honestly, I don't care about Bonds, though. He can hit his home run if he wants. I want another win. Keep the streak alive! Go Nats!!!

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | August 6, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Da Meat is right on, and Mick's idea is best. Absent other advance direction, throw the ball back into the infield, same as you would any other HR ball that returns to the field of play.

Unless the HR occurs in the ninth inning and scores the winning run, the game will need to continue at some point. So Kearns will stand around politely while Bonds, Bud et al. conclude this farce, and then he will get ready to field the next ball in play.

Any deviation would not only be unclassy but would thereby draw attention to Bonds, which SI and Bristol would love but which would not help MLB. Just maybe even Bud realizes that. Surely Kearns and the Nats do.

Posted by: Hendo | August 6, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Now. I've said what I would do if I were Kearns. But if it were ME who got the ball? Guaranteed I'd be a greedy [RF] myself and sell the crap outta that thing. The first thing I'd do with the earnings is upgrade to better, full-season tickets to Nats games. ;)

Posted by: NatsNut | August 6, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

It's easy to call for the Sharpie in here, but it's Austin's * if some Bonds fan gets ticked. He has to be there maybe three more days. But I would LOVE to see the look on Bud's face when the ball lands in his lap.

Seriously, being judgemental is never the high road, and you want the high road here. Just give it to Barry and let him live with it. It's Just A Game (and "whoop-de-do" should be our chant when SF comes to town in a month).

Posted by: Cevans | August 6, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I don't care if or how much steroids Bond took or is taking. He is a jerk.

Forget 756, I want 81-81.

Posted by: estuartj | August 6, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

506's idea to give the ball to Lannan (or whomever the pitcher might be) is interesting, and it gave me an idea.

Can you imagine if Lannan plunks Bonds in any at bat on Monday? Would that permanently damage his psyche? The Phillie phans would have phodder for the rest of his career, fer shur.

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | August 6, 2007 11:12 AM | Report abuse

And while we're recently on the subject of inappropriate religious expressions, I'm really, REALLY tired of hearing the North American home run record called "sacred." Puh-leeeze. I know you're being figurative. YOU know you're being figurative. But Aaron got death threats, Barry's getting death threats, and A-Rod will undoubtedly get them, too. Can we tone down the rhetoric a little please? Or is the ironically-handled "Royal" too right -- there's no middle ground here.

"The best lack all conviction, and the worst are filled with passionate intensity."

Posted by: CevansJr | August 6, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

ShawNatsFan is concerned: "Can you imagine if Lannan plunks Bonds in any at bat on Monday? Would that permanently damage his psyche? . . ."

I'm thinking it would be the second-coolest thing in the universe to be Lannan right at that instant. (The coolest, of course, will be for it not to happen.)

Posted by: Hendo | August 6, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

"On a FAR FAR more important note: Who will be the odd man out on our roster and in the rotation when Shawn Hill makes his return in game 1 vs. Phily next Tuesday?"

This is an interesting question. The pitcher in the rotation that looks the least like a big leaguer right now is John Lannan. I'd send him down and keep him pitching on rotation at AAA. Hanrahan's stuff is so much better than his and given JH's age, the Nats need to make some decisions about him now. I don't quite get the love affair with Lannan other than he's a nice story and he's a Bowden draft pick. If you look at their comparative minor league stats, it's pretty clear that Hanrahan has a much better chance of being a quality MLB pitcher. The Tigers, who've done a pretty good job developing pitching over last few years, look at one stat - K/9. It's important because it shows you how many uncomfortable swings guys are taking in the minors against the given pitcher. Minor league swings and misses turn into major league ground outs and pop ups. Minor League ground outs and pop-ups though turn into major league hits. Lannan's K/9's have mostly been in the 5 range. Hanrahan's have mostly been in the 8 range. That's a big difference.

Some may question the importance of this stat pointing out guys like Greg Maddux or Tom Glavine - softer throwers who've been successful. However, even those guys had K/9's in the high 6's and low 7's when they were at their best with the Braves.

Posted by: #4 | August 6, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I would never wish physical injury to anyone, even someone as loathsome as Barry Bonds, but it would be very funny if Lannan were to plunk Bonds with the first pitch in the 2nd inning tonight and break his wrist, putting him on the DL for the rest of the season.

"Of the many attributes of God, one must never forget Sense of Humor" - P.J. O'Rourke

Posted by: estuartj | August 6, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Bud Selig is a disgrace to the sport of baseball. I'd make sure he gets it.

Posted by: .390 | August 6, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Interesting note on John Lannan...4 months ago, to the day, he pitched his first game of the season, and first career game in "high" A ball, at Lynchburg. His line...6 ip, 4 h, 1 r, 0 w, 4k in front of 1,068 fans. Amazing how much can change in sports in just 4 months time...

Posted by: ccm | August 6, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Giving it back to Bonds is the right move, makes a simple, but powerful statement: "Here you go, Barry. I know this means a lot to you. To the rest of us, not so much." Da Hook got it right.

Posted by: Section 314 | August 6, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Thanks #4 for helping me change the topic of Barry's post. The only good thing about Barry Bonds is that the coverage of him this week will serve to showcase our much improved ballclub to the baseball nation.

As for the rotation when they get back...I was in a toss-up on Lannan vs. Hanrahan ,figuring one has to go back to AAA. I wonder if that assumption is correct, with rosters expanding in a couple weeks and both expected to be with the club for September would another move be better? (if anyone on the 25 man roster belongs elsewhere, I'd vote for Traber).

Posted by: estuartj | August 6, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I'm all with you CevansJr on the "sacred" records. Bonds breaking this record is not the second coming (yay, Yeats). We DC fans should remember that Josh Gibson was said to have bashed over 800 home runs in his career, but only 146 are verifiable Negro League records. How seriously can we take a record when a likely holder of that record wasn't included in its calculation due to a "gentleman's agreement"? It's not like Gibson couldn't hack it, he was flat out kept from playing because of his race.

I have no quibbles with Hank Aaron, but 755 had an asterisk next to it too thanks to Judge Landis, Cal Griffith, and many, many others.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | August 6, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse

If he gives the ball to me, I'm happy to take on the burden of figuring out what to do with it.

Posted by: Sec 315(2) | August 6, 2007 11:36 AM | Report abuse

... that we are even confronted with such a meaningless question only goes to show how much the world and our society has turned into "Antiques Roadshow On Steroids".

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 6, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

#4
Hanrahan vs. Lannan as the number #5 next week;

SO/9 in AAA ONLY
Lannan 4.25
Hanrahan 8.52

so/bb
Lannan 17/12
Hanrahan 71/36

WHIP
Lannan 1.17
Hanraha 1.34

ERA
Lannan 1.75
Hanrahan 3.70

This is a very tough call, I'll stick with my original statement that it depends on how they do this week. Lannan will start twice (tonight and saturday vs ARI) and Hanrahan will only pitch Thursday.

Look for a decision from Bowden/Kasten on Sunday night after the Diamondback's game.

Posted by: estuartj | August 6, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

... upcoming rotation decisions: I believe Manny when he says .500 is a very important goal of his, so I expect he will send back one of the two rooks. I like #4's analysis; I would go along with his choice of keeping Han-the-Man longer than John "Imagine" Lannon.

... but if Shawn Hill carries on with his spot, and then Jason Bergmann is ready to return, would Manny then send back Joel H. as well? Or would he try to keep one rookie in the group?

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 6, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

He should give the ball back to the Giants, and let the team decide what to do with it. Of course, maybe he could extract a few goodies in exchange, and donate those items to local (DC) charities....

Posted by: Section 417, Row 2 | August 6, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Bring it home and put it on my watch chain.

See if I can win with it.

Posted by: Teddy26 | August 6, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

ESJ:

You're welcome. I think it's the best way to combat "dead horse beating".

It (Hanrahan v Lannan) is a tough call. There may also be the factor of options and major league time. I don't know enough about those to know whether they make a difference here. I agree that Traber's the most expendable. I just think that moving either JL or JH to the pen stunts their development.

I would encourage you to downplay WHIP and ERA. They can be very defensive dependent stats. That's what is so great about K/9. The pitcher controls it.

Posted by: #4 | August 6, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Hey #4, I think the hype over Lannan is simply that he smoked through the minors so fast, was one of our first real draft picks, and is so young, not necessarily that he's better than Hanrahan, though estuartj's post makes me think he is better.
We still have to see how quickly Hill bounces back. How is Schroder looking next to Traber? He did okay closing out Saturday's game, but he doesn't seem to sizzle either.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 6, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Give it back to Bonds. Sure, he's a louse; but Kearns can be a gentleman (and show up Barry B. in the process).

Posted by: Vienna, Va | August 6, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Austin need not worry about it.
No HRs for cheaters against the hottest team in baseball!

Posted by: GSmitty | August 6, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Barry - I'll be there tonight wearing my red nationals get-up...he should toss it to me. I'll split it with you. (btw, you signed my book last year at this series...). See you soon.

Posted by: Matt | August 6, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

NatsNut and #4,

I hope you didn't get the impression I was trying to "push" for Lannan over Hanrahan. And I agree on ERAs for pitchers, I do like WHIP a lot better - as I also like OPS much better for hitters. Maybe total bases/inning for pitchers and TB/AB (or TB+BB+SB/PA?) for hitters.

Back to the question at hand though, how about this for a radical thought. Is Bacsik a starter or reliever in your '08 plans? How about Redding? Especially considering that one or both of those two are not going to be seeing starts if & when Patterson and/or Bergmann return too.

Come September I think we'll have 16 pitchers on the roster (maybe 17 if Balester gets called up too), but 8 of them are starters (again 9 w/ Balester). Who do you start?

We want to see what the young kids can do, plus we want to see what we have in Patterson/Hill/Bergmann post DL. I think that makes Redding (Trade Bait?) and Bacsik (long reliever/lefty specialist?) as the odd men out.

Posted by: estuartj | August 6, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

This is going to be a great week.

With all eyes on San Francisco, the Nats get a rare national showcase, with most of the country likely rooting for the good guys. Young is in an NL batting title race, Zim is red hot, and the opponent is limping in with a record nearly as bad as the Reds.

No Bonds on Thursday (day game), but for three days this week, everyone will be a Nationals fan.

Posted by: John in Mpls | August 6, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Can one of you Stat experts dig up their BAA, that seems to be a pretty telling stat as well... I agree about the k/9 though, Maddux and Glavine were always able to reach back and get a K if they were in a jam, I'm not sure Lannan has that ability.

Posted by: natrat | August 6, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Hanrahan vs. Lannan

BA against (AAA ONLY)
Lannan .222
Hanrahan .226

BA against (MLB)
Lannan .289
Hanrahan .244

Posted by: estuartj | August 6, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Not sure that is helpful, since Lannan had so much less time in AAA. I have no problem sending him back when the vets return, though. More practice is better and next year invite him to try out for the team.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | August 6, 2007 12:29 PM | Report abuse

For comparison purposes, I thought it might be interesting to note that John Lannan and Mike Bacsik have almost identical minor league statistics. It makes sense because they both project as journeyman middle relief/spot start lefties.


Bacsik :12 years

H/9: 9.35 BB/9: 2.19 K/9:6.03 WHIP: 1.28

Lannan : 3 years

H/9: 8.75 BB/9: 3.53 K/9: 6.31 WHIP:1.36

The difference in experience and age is important, so I'm willing to give Lannan a little more of a shot, but let's be clear: he's probably not a front of the rotation guy. Hanrahan and Redding both have the stuff to be that. Redding posted K/9's in the 10 and 11 range when he was coming up through the Astros' system.

Posted by: #4 | August 6, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse

506,

I agree that Lannan's time in AAA is too short for a good comparison, but I think would be worse to include his time in AA and A ball this year since the quality any types of batters they face at those levels is so different.

I still think the key is keeping the kids starting (Chico, Lannan and Hanrahan) and seeing what Bergmann, Hill and Bergamann have after the DL. I'm not sure how that affects roster moves in August or callups in September though. Should be interesting seeing the dance...

Posted by: estuartj | August 6, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

If he hits it on Wednesday or Thursday (if he plays), give it to Frank! Yes, Frank Robinson will be there as the rep for Selig. And whether Kearns decides to give it to the Hall or Selig, it probably will pass through Frank on Wed. or Thurs. How interesting would that be? Also, anyone notice the Nats were picked up by ESPN2 tonight?

Posted by: Greg | August 6, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

In ESJ's post, there is mention of "the kids". I thought it might be useful to have these pitchers' ages:

Bowie 32 Nov. 1974
Bacsik 29 Nov. 1977
Redding 29 Feb. 1978
Hill 26 Apr. 1981
Bergman 25 Sept. 1981
Hanrahan 25 Oct. 1981
Chico 24 June 1983
Lannan 22 Sept. 1984

Posted by: #4 | August 6, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Anyone know if ESPN is blacking out the Nats tonight? Sure would be nice to see the game in HD.

Posted by: Ashburn | August 6, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Bowie! How could I have forgotten about him. He's played two games for the GCL Nats, going 3 an 2 innings and giving up 2 runs on 6 hits with 7 SO and 1 BB.

Has anyone heard anything about when we can expect to see him back in MLB?

Posted by: estuartj | August 6, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

"Also, anyone notice the Nats were picked up by ESPN2 tonight?"

I saw someone else note (I think on the nationals.com site) that this will be the perfect opportunity for MASN/ESPN/Comcast/Verizon/DirecTV/WHOEVER to butcher the blackout rules and make sure that none of us see the game.

Posted by: joebleux | August 6, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

"No Bonds on Thursday (day game), but for three days this week, everyone will be a Nationals fan."

I would think Bonds would play on Thursday if -- by some Miracle of God -- he hasn't hit 756 by then. If he has, who wants to bet that stadium will barely be half-full?

Kearns: give it to the crew chief umpire.

Posted by: Juan-John | August 6, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Schneider has the classy answer...donate it to the HOF. I, however, would like to pull out a hypodermic needle and inject the ball. Or, pull out the sharpie and draw an asterisk on it.

Posted by: NatBisquit | August 6, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Gotta give it back to Barry. He can give it to the Hall if he wants.

Posted by: Peter | August 6, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Unrelated--anyone know if Kasten was in Chicago for Glavine's 300th?

Posted by: Mick | August 6, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

If I were Austin Kearns, I'd give the ball to Hank Aaron and let him do with it as he pleases.

If/when Shawn Hill comes up, I think we'll see Lannan go back down, but only until September. Of course, if he ends up no-hitting the Giants tonight then all bets are off.

When Bergmann and Bowie are healthy again, Bowie and Bacsik will go back into the pen and Traber will be sent down/released/traded. This gives the Nats three LHRP, unless they can swing a waiver trade for Ray King.

I really like Schroder in the pen. I hope they think of keeping him for the rest of the season and beyond.

And there is something I really like about Tim Redding so far. Friday night he did not have his best stuff but was able to keep the Nats in the game. Most other pitchers would have gotten rattled and given up more hits/walks/runs. I really like the way this guy battles out there.

Finally, was at the game yesterday and I was quite impressed with the loudness of the fans there. Now, if only I can convince the Nats office not to schedule us Plan B 20-game ST holders Sunday home games next year. Dang it was oppressively hot up there. I don't know if I can take any more day games in the DC summer.

Posted by: e | August 6, 2007 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Give it to an organization devoted to the prevention of steroid use in teenagers.

Posted by: mikem | August 6, 2007 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Kearns can in no way keep the ball or profit from it. He can't throw it in to the stands because even though people will trample each other to get to 756 under normal circumstances, you could argue that this second opportunity for the ball might incite a complete every fan for themselves mentality with even worse results (ahh the Ebay-zation of sports). While I'd like to see him chuck it in to the Cove and watch the kayakers battle it out (they're crazy but have a weird code so I'm pretty they wouldn't let anyone drown) he needs to pocket it and say he's giving it to the Hall at the end of the inning. No grand gestures. Just keep playing ball.

Posted by: DottDC | August 6, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, if normal rules apply (and they almost always do), the ESPN high-def broadcast will be blacked out here.

Posted by: swanni | August 6, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to the left coast, Barry! I'll be in the stands with my curly W hat on Thursday. All I can say is "good luck" to Kearns. If it were me, I would give it to MLB.

Posted by: Patty | August 6, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

e,
I'm liking Redding more and more as our senior/veteran at the top of the order. He certainly has some of the been there done that experience to help ground the younger guys. His performance the other night is equally valuable as instruction to the younger guys on how to battle when you don't have your A game, it seems Chico did the same thing yesterday (but then again it seems every game for Chico is like that).

Thinking only regarding player development - I'm not sure how much value the team get by having Redding start after Hill/Bergmann/Patterson are back - his potential trade value can only go down I think and he's proven he belongs in the mix for the rotation in 2008.

Posted by: estuartj | August 6, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse

If we could snap our fingers and make everyone healthy (I'll refrain from my weekly crack about the training staff), the five starters with highest ceilings and best stuff on the 40 man roster are:

Chico
Hanrahan
Hill
Patterson
Redding

That should be the rotation on day 1 next year. Since JP may not pitch this September, give Bergman his starts. That leaves a 7 man bullpen for next year of:

Ayala
Bacsik
Colome
Cordero
King
Rauch
Schroder

Make that the bully right now with Saul replacing Jesus until he gets healthy and/or the rosters expand.

That leaves out in the cold:

Balester - not on 40 man currently
Bergman
Booker
Bowie
Detwiler - not on 40 man currently
Fruto
Lannan
O'Connor
Rivera
Simontacchi
Speigner - not on 40 man currently
Traber
Wagner

Posted by: #4 | August 6, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I've changed my opinion (after reading the article of course) - I think I would walk it back into the infield and give it to Barry (OK - a little northern california bias may be going on here). Consider the matter closed - just give it to Bonds and that will be the end of it.

Posted by: Patty | August 6, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Figure out a way to get it to the Hall of Fame (NOT MLB). I like the idea of giving it to one of the guys in the bullpen to hold onto. Have that guy run it in to the clubhouse and immediately stored for Cooperstown. I don't trust MLB to give it to the HOF and I sure don't want it to end up in Bonds' hands.

Posted by: Ryan CMU | August 6, 2007 1:49 PM | Report abuse

The ball is property of MLB (or at least they think so). I am sure that explicit instructions will be issued about the handling of the HR record ball should it come to rest in the field of play, and Kearns should and will do what they instruct him to do. He can't keep it, and if he does something contrary to instructions, will run the risk of fine or suspension.

Posted by: Ric | August 6, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Toss it into the Nats dugout, let the team auction or sell it, donate the money to DC Public schools to build/repair ballfields so kids have a decent place to learn the game.

Posted by: Vandy | August 6, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

If Kearns has it: treat it like any other ball and just toss it in to the infield.

If I had it: wipe my *** with it and throw it directly at Bonds' face.

Posted by: Me | August 6, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I think donating the ball to a good cause is a great idea - and why not an organization that helps treat Hydrocephalus, in honor of Barry's ridiculously large melon.

Posted by: Asterisk | August 6, 2007 2:16 PM | Report abuse

He could just not touch it: leave it lying in the grass for the ball girl to run in and retrieve it.

Posted by: sbrent | August 6, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Change my vote to sbrent's: "He could just not touch it: leave it lying in the grass for the ball girl to run in and retrieve it."

It's SF's show; let them own the whole damn thing.

Posted by: Hendo | August 6, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Bean Him.

Posted by: Hank Aaron | August 6, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

#4 - I don't see how you can leave Bacsik out of the starting rotation at this point. His number are equal or better than Chico's. (not that I want Chico dropped either).

I follow Hendo and change my vote as well to sbrent's idea. Brilliant!

Posted by: lowcountrynatsfan | August 6, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

I'd have a sharpie in my back pocket so that when he gets the ball he can mark it "#756 - Steroids Induced Homerun" then donate it to the hall. That way history will never be able to whitewash the steroids era away.

Posted by: Nats Fan In DC | August 6, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I'd have a marker in my back pocket so that when Kearns gets the ball he can mark it "#756 - Steroids Induced Homerun" then donate it to the hall. That way history will never be able to wish the steroids era away.

Posted by: NatsFanInKC | August 6, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

#4,
I'm curious what the chances are of Patterson being with the organization next year. His contract is up and I don't think we would be willing to offer him arbitration.

Maybe we can get him to sign an extension before that or we give him a slightly better deal in FA than anyone else (I can't see anyone giving him more than a 1yr $500k deal), he basically hasn't pitched in two years, though we was really good that one year...

Posted by: estuartj | August 6, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

I definitely like the Terrell Owenesque sharpie/asterisk plan. But to avoid direct confrontation, I'd throw the ball into the crowd rather than give it to Bonds directly.

Posted by: smarner | August 6, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see it thrown back home and have the catcher tag Bonds as he crosses the plate.

Posted by: WFY | August 6, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

sbrent is right on. I change my vote, too.

Posted by: i hate walks | August 6, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Here's a food for thought article on Slate.com today that I thought many of you would find worth the 5 minutes to read it and think about it.

http://www.slate.com/id/2171729

What if Doping Were Legal?
A Slate thought experiment.
By Daniel Engber
Posted Monday, Aug. 6, 2007, at 11:39 AM ET
It's been a rough stretch for pro sports. Last Thursday, Barry Bonds faced boos--and even a steroids awareness seminar--as he tried to break the all-time home run record in Los Angeles. The next day, Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Ryan Tucker was suspended from the NFL for using steroids. And we're just a week removed from the shameful drug haze at this year's Tour de France. We've reached a crisis point, it seems, when it comes to performance-enhancing drugs. But what if none of this cheating mattered? With your help, I'm going to conduct a little thought experiment: What would the sports world look like if every athlete could inject himself with God knows what?

The premise isn't new. After the Olympic doping scandals of the late 1990s, International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch tested the waters of drug legalization in an interview with a Spanish newspaper. "Doping now is everything that, firstly, is harmful to an athlete's health and, secondly, artificially augments his performance," he said. "If it's just the second case, for me that's not doping." But his proposal (if that's what it was) went over like a lead balloon. Sports officials sputtered about the spirit of competition, and doctors argued that legal doping would never be safe for the athletes. Within a few days, Samaranch backed off.

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | August 6, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

I echo what someone wrote earlier: He should run it to the side, find some young kid, and say, "Here's your college tuition from Uncle Barry." Unfortunately, if a kid's sitting that close at AT&T -- for one of these games in particular -- they can probably already afford collge.

Posted by: Farragut North | August 6, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

new thread

Posted by: Anonymous | August 6, 2007 3:43 PM | Report abuse

e sez: "Now, if only I can convince the Nats office not to schedule us Plan B 20-game ST holders Sunday home games next year."

Hey, e, I deliberately chose 20-game plan A this year because it had no Sunday games, even though that plan had several Wednesday games in it that I would have to miss due to a standing Wed night conflict I have. But under the Nats' season ticket exchange plan I was actually able to trade those Wed tickets (and several other tickets for which I had conflicts) in on tickets for other games. All that was required was for me to take the tix I wanted to trade in to the box office at RFK a couple of days prior to either the game I was trading in or the one I was trading for, whichever came first. The process worked very smoothly, and as a result I've probably only sat in my actual seat in 419 for about half the games I've been to so far. The seats I've received in trade have been comparable, usually only a section or two away from 419.

I'm hoping (and thinking) that the Nats will let us 20-game plan folks choose the plan we want next year rather than arbitrarily assigning us to one. The schedule should be set long before they reach their announced deadline of the end of the year to re-seat all current STHers, so I wouldn't think it would be a problem for them to do that. But even if they don't, if they continue the exchange program next year it will still be possible to customize a 20-game plan to remove games you don't like, such as Sunday afternoons.

Posted by: Section 419 | August 6, 2007 3:47 PM | Report abuse

What you guys are missing is that the hate bonds hype was created by sports writers who bonds were short to and perpetuated by those same sports writers once bonds admitted using the cream and clear. We as fans are being kind of duped in the fact that bonds is a great player and this record will stand and it should if all we know is he rubbed cream on his joints to enhance his workouts without injury. Now im not arguing that taking the cream and clear does not give bonds an advantage while working out but he did have to work out and is still a great hitter regardless. I think as history goes on we will regret not giving this player the respect for this accomplishment he should get. Now as for bonds being a jerk, I am reading some of the post on this forum and we all can be selfish self centered, cynical jerks when we want to be. Why does bonds have to be perfect just to break a record. Bonds is no more a jerk than Lou Pinella but we all love sweet Lou. I for one would like to see bonds break the record and extend it by 73 homers which is the number of homers he hit during the season of his alledged steroid use. That way he could say he made up for the homers in question. Once bonds breaks the record the sports writers will have to find someone else to hate to keep their fans base interested and so will we.

Posted by: gdavis4 | August 6, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

"Giving it back to Bonds is the right move, makes a simple, but powerful statement: "Here you go, Barry. I know this means a lot to you. To the rest of us, not so much." Da Hook got it right.
Posted by: Section 314
======================

Absolutely !

And if BB decides to give it to the HOF, I hope he has to beg them to take it (better yet, I hope they refuse completely).

Posted by: one of Barry's Babes | August 6, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Sec 419 --

I would have normally switched my plan except I like all the other Plan B'ers that sit in my section. I look forward to catching up with them on game day and wouldn't miss it for the world. Plus if I switched, they'd miss out on seeing my daughter grow up as they were all there when I brought her to her first game when she was two weeks old.

I just don't like how the Nats differentiate between the two 20-game packages. Splitting them up by days of the week (Plan A gets mostly Wed/Fri/Sat games while I get stuck with Tue/Thur/Sun games) is plain old lazy (and don't get me started on how uneven the promotional giveaways has been the past two years!). Plus, the marquee games are Plan A loaded for no apparent reason (I wasn't privvy to O's, Dodgers, Indians or Reds games and only get to see the Mets once).

All I want next year is to enjoy a weekend game that doesn't involve baking in the sun. I'm lucky that my seats now are in the shade but it's still oppressively hot in RFK during day games, and I won't have that luxury next year since there are no shaded seats in the new ballpark.

Posted by: e | August 6, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

speaking of asstorisk, I am enjoying laughing at the tough guys here ("If I had it: wipe my *** with it and throw it directly at Bonds' face. Posted by: Me | August 6, 2007 02:05 PM ") who can't even sign their real names in a blog. Dis Barry to his face --- sure you would.

Posted by: cevans | August 7, 2007 12:49 AM | Report abuse

Chiming in light, having been away from the Internet for a few days. I'm with the Schneid on giving the ball to the HOF.

I also liked Dmitri's whoop-dee-[edit: RF-ing]-do comment. Let's just play ball!

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 7, 2007 8:56 AM | Report abuse

I would put a price on the ball, say $500,000, and announce that I'm taking donations toward that amount from all true fans of the game. If enough true fans donated enough money to reach that amount, I would make a public ceremony out of destroying the ball, mocking Barry Bonds as he has made a mockery of the game so many of us have loved for so long. And if someone else pursued such a course, I would gladly donate $100, myself.

Posted by: PatrickStar | August 9, 2007 8:45 PM | Report abuse

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