From A-Rod to Zito, from Anadarko (Oklahoma) to Ottawa (Ontario), from a billy goat's revenge to Ol' Fluffy's dash to freedom, here goes:
People might think Larry Bowa's a boorish person, but love him or hate him, he doesn't back down from anything, does he? I have to side with him and the rest of the base coaches who think the helmet rule is a little over the top and the coach's box rule is stupid. What happened to Mike Coolbaugh was a freak accident and a shame, but at the same time, you can't protect everyone and you can't legislate everything. What's next, sending the first and third basemen out there with full body armor? How about we put the batting practice net in front of the pitcher, or better yet, just use a JUGS machine? I'm all about safety when it makes sense, but the new rules for base coaches are hardly sensible, especially the box rule. I don't think it should be mandatory for them to wear helmets, but instead they should be advised to do so. Also, unless they make the boxes uniform, what's the use of the rule? Larry's got a point. People admit to using steroids but they get to play. A coach "steps out of an arbitrary box" and he gets suspended for MLB's stupidity.
Brian Longo, Hampstead, N.C.
You've just established the Rules Committee's agenda for next winter, Brian. Way to go.
There is also a batters' box that batters are required to stay in. That box doesn't even survive the first batter. Are the umps going to start enforcing that box also?
John Engbarth, Aliso Viejo, CA
There's a batters' box?
For Larry Bowa (stolen from Billy Joel): And there's always a place for the angry young man, With his fist in the air and his head in the sand. And he's never been able to learn from mistakes, So he can't understand why his heart always breaks. But his honor is pure and his courage as well, And he's fair and he's true and he's boring as hell. And he'll go to the grave as an angry old man.
Curt Alliaume, Naperville, IL
You may never understand
How the stranger is inspired
But he isn't always evil
And he isn't always wrong.
If MLB did not act in the aftermath of the minor-league coach's death and, God forbid, Larry Bowa was struck and killed by a foul ball this year, his family and fellow coaches would be absolutely outraged at MLB's inaction and, odds are, you would have written an article condemning MLB's inaction – and it would probably be very poignant. As for my question, even if the rule is ludicrous, does that give Bowa permission to act like a complete jackass?
Robert, Portland, OR
There are, I believe, dangers inherent to the game. One of them, apparently, is telling Larry Bowa where to stand.
As a Dodger fan and occasional wearer of silk ties, I would like to point out that Mr. Bowa wears to work what I wore to bed as a young child. And as much as I loved my Dodgers PJs, I grew out of them just as I grew out of throwing the type of tantrums Mr. Bowa exhibits on a near daily basis. I very much regret that he wears the uniform I so cherished as a child. His passion is admirable. His total lack of self control and awareness is shameful. How close is the relationship between Mr. Bowa and Mr. Torre? In other words, how long a leash has been placed around Mr. Bowa's neck in Los Angeles?
David Baker, Boston
From Torre: "You know, that's part of his personality. That's like me telling a base stealer when to steal. Larry, what makes him what he is, is the passion he has."
A better analogy for Bowa would be Sonny Corleone, the perennial hothead who ends up being baited into a drive-by.
"You touch my coaches' box again, I'll kill you."
Barry Zito a bust? Let the Giants sign one positional player that any other ML team would even want on their roster and THEN let's see how Zito reacts. The Giants lost the opener 5-0, so that means that if Zito threw a 3-hit, 1-run masterpiece, the Giants would have lost 1-0! Zito, Cain, Lincecum … They are going to be on the receiving end of a whole-lotta losses where the level of their pitching will not even come into play because there is no offense to pick them up. Not much defense either! Maybe next year!
Tony Ingalls, Sacramento, CA
My point is, Zito is supposed to be part of the solution in San Francisco. In a season and a start, he's not been.
I'm a Dodger fan and I'm glad Zito had a bad game. But how do you figure one game into the season that the Giants made a bad decision with Zito's contract. Give it a break already will you? What an idiot. If he is a 20-game winner this year you're gonna eat crow. After one game, come on dude. Fricking moron.
Donald Stubbs, Tatum, S.C.
He's made 35 starts as a Giant, 18 of them quality starts. I'm just sayin'.
Coming to Erik's defence!! Tim I don't know you from Adam, but with that much experience you should have met and seen lots of different athletes. Also you are old enough to have teenage kids. Therefore you are well aware that everyone is different!! Our families have been friends for 30-plus years. Erik and my son were born just days apart in Ottawa. They have both grown up to be fine young men. This might help you understand why he is not boisterous or even talkative in interviews. Erik is from a French-Canadian family and was raised educated in a French-first atmosphere so English can be considered his second language. In a way he is quite shy. He has only a few years of the big leagues under his belt and just made the biggest move in his life!! He has overcome many hurdles just to stand out there and perform in front millions of eyes. Could you do that????!! And if you knew people were going to interview you then come back with derogatory remarks the way you have in this article "The grace period is over" I am sure you wouldn't have much to say to them either!! I think you should look at this young man as if he was your own son. Let's see what you would be saying about him.
Brian Rotar, Ottawa, Ontario
I'm sure, Brian, Erik is a very nice young man. He ought to allow the rest of us to see it. His choice.
I had to laugh at your article about Bedard, man. What did you expect? These guys have no incentive to perform. All they want to do is get a long-term, mega-million-dollar contract, and then show up just enough to continue to get paid. Happens time and again. It's people like you who make these guys. You pump them up like they're the second coming of Christ. Looking for someone to blame? Check the mirror.
I checked with the mirror; it had no comment.
Nice piece on Bedard. Pretty much what I've been hearing about him since he got to town. I like the move and think he'll do well. That being said, you should think about something. The Mariners' front office isn't in any way taking a risk. We already know they're idiots. I could field a better team, and I'm just a geek.
Geeks are people too, Ken. Hang in there.
I read your article regarding Bedard's grace period being over. I think what Bedard is trying to say is: F you and your ridiculous questions! In case you didn't catch that the first time, you should go back and re-read his responses. I think you will find the message throughout the "interview." I actually appreciate it when an athlete doesn't waste his time answering questions that either have no answers, or the answers are so blatantly obvious that the questioner should receive a firm kick to crotch before he/she should get an answer. I equally appreciate seeing a journalist struggle to justify his own existence by attempting to psycho-analyze a non-cooperative player. It amuses me. One last thing: Do you think Bedard cares about your "grace period"? I'm sure he will evade your questions just as easily post-grace period as he did during the grace period. If you haven't noticed, you can't touch Erik Bedard, so just accept it and go salivate over the cooperative, albeit flowery and worthless, answers of Derek Jeter.
Uh, yeah, I caught Bedard's subtleties there, Garrett.
Just a little note regarding Jose Canseco. If there was ever a "where are they now" story on a former major league star, this might be the best one. Canseco is playing softball, Sunday nights in Thousand Oaks. This might not raise an eyebrow but it's a COED league. I didn't believe it at first but it's really him.
Rich Liddle, Thousand Oaks, CA
Not only that, I hear A-Rod has his eye on Canseco's left fielder.
You are a fool. That kind of denial caused this whole mess. Some people never learn.
James Woodcock, Whitby, Ontario
Man, people from Ontario hate me.
You are a fool.
Hey, Dave! Let me guess where you're from.
Fools love company. I'm with you, even as a dissed M's fan and true Yanks hater.
Joe Sampsel, Missoula, MT
Keep an eye on the border for me, will ya, Joe?
You're with A-Rod. Good for you. I, however, am still on the fence and will most likely stay there even after A-Rod retires. Why? 'Cause we won't ever know for certain who did the Juice and who didn't. It will be like one of those many mysteries of the universe, like the Loch Ness monster or something.
C'mon, dude. You ever see the size of Nessie's head? Total juicer.
Do you think that since George Bush owned the Texas Rangers while Canseco played there, that maybe Bush had Canseco looking for WMD's? That would make the reports more logical.
James Tillett, Spokane, WA
I have no idea what to add to that.
Good column re Canseco, but something's been bothering me recently: Why does every steroid story have to include at least two separate not-that-there's-anything-wrong-with-that references to male rear ends? Ordinarily I'm not the first to call homophobia – and I've never seen anyone say this yet, though maybe I just missed it – but do you think American sports fans would care as much about the steroid issue if it didn't involve two guys injecting things into each other's butts?
Aaron, New Jersey
Why is it dopes like you come around every spring to give the Cubs grief? Can't you just write another stupid Yankees story and be done with it? Yes, I'm an eternal Cubs optimist, but that's all we've got. So do us a favor and get on the bandwagon, or take it from Jim Hendry and shut up.
Your Momma, Chicago
Sorry, Y.M., but the lure of going to Mesa, Ariz., to write a supportive piece on the Cubs was simply too great to ignore. I've learned my lesson.
Your bio says you "studied journalism." Really, does a major in "journalism" actually require "studying?" Do journalists pass any official test of competency, need a license or take an oath of professional conduct? Any ongoing certification of skills? Of course not. By the way, did you ever play in any sport? So, don't pontificate (look it up) about the Yankees or other teams. You're all hot air.
George Hicks, M.D.
Hmmm, I sense some sort of comparison here, but I can't quite grasp it. Licensing, oaths, certification, wait, don't help me …
You are disgraceful. A young man trying to get to the majors has his wrist broken with possible career-ending implications as the result of some macho punk trying to get headlines and you harp on those BAD, BAD Yankees. Another Yankee hater, another bigot (look up the word, stupid). God I can't believe I read your moronic column.
George Schreiber, Glen Mills, PA
Damn, I was still working on "pontificate." Is that before or after "bigot"?
God you are such a Yankee hater it makes me smile. But it figures, you are not from New York and most haters are not. You could never understand the love for the Yankees unless you were born and raised a true New Yorker. It's really that simple. You will never know the privilege of being a New Yorker and I pity you. We make and create and the rest of the country and the world envies and copies.
Joey, Brooklyn, N.Y.
This is gonna crack you up, Joey, really it is. I'm, uh, from New York. Born there. Raised there. Am I out of the club?
Thanks so much for sharing the fear and pain of a poor animal being dashed onto the asphalt at 65 mph (oh my mistake, a few clicks below 65 mph). Maybe it was funny to you, but it made me sick. Shame on you. Oh yeah, it did nothing for your baseball story.
Matt Weintraub, San Francisco
Sorry. Ol' Fluffy was just such a courageous little guy.
Come on. Enough with the butt kissing for this guy. He is arguably the worst shortstop in baseball. And, he is the most overrated. But, I guess you have to write to your target audience – people that really don't understand baseball. Jeter winning the Gold Glove two years ago over Alex Gonzalez, most absurd gift of an award in my lifetime.
Norm, Norwich, CT
Why are we always talking about butts? You people are obsessed.
Tim, I believe that Derek Jeter is highly overrated and is an average player. If he played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, would you give him the same press coverage that you give him as a NY Yankee? Thank you.
Eric Smith, Anadarko, OK
Not in October, I wouldn't.
In a professional baseball game has a centerfielder ever caught a foul ball?
Wayne Marshall, Birmingham, AL
No. One tried once, but slammed into Larry Bowa.