Tuesday, August 7, 2007

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In honor of Tom Glavine

While I was away for the weekend, Barry Bonds tied Hank Aaron's home run record, and Tom Glavine won his 300th game.

In honor of these accomplishments, it seems appropriate to resurrect the this Nike commercial from a decade ago, featuring Glavine, Greg Maddux, Heather Locklear, and a somewhat tarnished slugger:

Seen in retrospect, the commercial is ironic for two reasons.

First, does anyone doubt that Glavine (and Maddux) will be held in higher esteem from here on out?

Second, as Jack Wilkinson wrote in this SI.com story, Glavine was actually quite accomplished at the plate -- just not in the same way as Bonds:

"Tommy goes beyond pitching, though," said [Atlanta Bravers manager Bobby] Cox. "He's always been the best bunter. You can squeeze [bunt] with him with two strikes, which we did dozens of times. And he's a great fielder and an all-around guy. A first-ballot Hall of Famer, too."

posted by Dan on 08.07.07 at 12:10 PM


I still can't watch Tom Glavine and get the image of him during the player's strike out of my head. Earning millions of dollars a year, complaining about being taken advantage of and criticizing players who went to play with the replacement players. Anyone who earns millions of dollars should not be allowed to unionize - no matter how many more millions owners might be making.

As for Bonds, I'm not a particularly huge fan, but you have to respect his talent and what he's accomplished. Yes, he probably used steroids, and yes, if he lied in the BALCO investigation he should be held accountable. But too many baseball fans, right up to Bud Selig, seem to think that the steroids scandal begins and ends with Barry Bonds. If every player was tested today, people would be shocked by how many people come back positive for steroid use. Instead, people prefer to think if they just got Bonds out of the league, the scandal would go away. How many other records were broken, all star teams were made, world series were won, etc involving players who had used steroids? No one wants to do anything about it except boo Bonds. Until you're ready to actually do something - mandatory, unannounced testing for all players on a much more frequent basis and much harsher penalties, then you have no leg to stand on in just booing Bonds. Of course, stricter testing and harsher penalties will never happen because gazillionaires think they need to unionize.

posted by: Dan on 08.07.07 at 12:10 PM [permalink]

I actually don't think that there is much question that they would have been held in higher esteem than McGwire even if steroids had remained under cover. Suppose you had made the commercial in 1961. Ford and Koufax with Roger Maris. I think that's the question about McGwire - Is he really just Roger Maris (or Dave Kingman) with a little chemical help? (Not to knock those Maris and Kingman - I'm just comparing different levels of elite players and they aren't HOF players.)

As far as Bonds goes, if he had kept the same hat size and never hit over 50 home runs I'd probably consider him the greatest player I had ever seen play. Now, I'd rather forget him - I don't know what to think.

posted by: Bob R on 08.07.07 at 12:10 PM [permalink]

Wow, I can't believe Dan doesn't like Glavine's impressive 300th win because he was a union organizer. Instead he'd rather root for a known cheat. Yes, Dan, Bonds admitted to the grand jury he did steroids only he claims he didn't know it was steroids at the time. His extensive use of steroids and other PEDs has been covered in great detail in a book whose authors have yet to be sued by anyone for slander. And I have news for you, Dan, every player is tested today. And there are even some who are tested multiple times through random unannounced testing. And even before when they did anonymous survey testing, only about 6% of players tested positive. So you are wrong on many counts.

You may not like Glavine but his record is clean and much more impressive than that sham of a HR record just set by that disgraceful cheater.

posted by: Ben on 08.07.07 at 12:10 PM [permalink]

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