The shield honoring Barry Bonds’ 756th career home run that broke Hank Aaron’s record has gone missing.
Last weekend, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Scott Ostler wrote about the missing shield, which resided on the right-center field wall at AT&T Park to mark the spot where Bonds’ home run ball landed. All that is left is some adhesive residue where the shield used to be.
The Giants say they didn’t take the shield down, and don’t know who did or what they did with it. The team is working on getting the shield replaced.
Well, MoreSplashHits believes justice should be sought and the perpetrators pursued in this crime against Giant Nation. And we’ve assembled this list of some prime suspects.
No. 10 Jeff Kent
We all know Kent and Bonds were not the best of friends. And we know Kent can’t be trusted (He once told the Giants he broke his hand while washing his truck when he really did it in a spill on a dirt bike). He has questionable character (he signed to play with the Dodgers). AND he was at AT&T Park during the first homestand. Hmmmmm.
9. John Smoltz
Bonds’ didn’t have a lot fans around baseball, least of all among pitchers. There’s the story of Bonds walking into the clubhouse and pointing out pitchers who he had hit home runs off of. Well, no pitcher surrendered more of Bonds’ 765 career homers than John Smoltz. Actually, Bonds hit nine home runs off Smoltz and Greg Maddux, but Bonds had 39 fewer at-bats against Smoltz. That makes him a prime candidate.
That sneaky fox is always trying to swipe our stuff.
7. Greg Anderson
Anderson was Bonds’ boyhood friend and personal trainer. He refused to testify against Bonds during his perjury trial. Maybe the shield was part of the deal to keep Anderson quiet. Or maybe Anderson thought he deserved more. And we all know he’s willing to do the time in jail.
6. Matthew Parrella and Jeffrey Nedrow
Parrella and Nedrow were the U.S. attorneys who prosecuted Bonds’ perjury case after a four-year (FOUR YEARS!!!) investigation into whether a witness lied to a grand jury in a case in which the defendents were eventually found guilty. The perjury investigation lasted longer than the BALCO investigation. The case resulted in one guilty verdict out of four, and that was for obstruction of justice. That verdict is currently under appeal. That shield was a constant reminder of how this witch hunt failed. Maybe the government should spend four years investigating these guys and their predecessors.
5. AT&T Park Seagulls
We wouldn’t put anything past these ballpark scavengers.
4. Barry Bonds
Why not Barry? Perhaps he thought it would the shield would look nice over his fireplace. Bonds could be thinking “I hit the homer; the shield is mine.” Plus his personal service contract with the team is about to expire, so maybe he thought it was time to swoop in. And he is a convicted felon …. at least, for now.
3. Mike Bacsik
Bacsik’s name has gone down in infamy as the pitcher who surrendered Bonds’ 756th home run. Of course, if you asked your average fan “Who was the pitcher who gave up Bonds’ 756th home run?” They would struggle to come up with answer. Maybe that’s because Bacsik did not have a distinguished career. Or maybe it’s because Bonds’ record-breaker is not as celebrated as Hank Aaron’s 715th homer. So to keep from becoming the next Al Downing, Bacsik lifted the shield in an effort to send the moment more into obscurity.
2. Bud Selig
Back in 2007, the commissioner started to follow Bonds around as he approached Aaron’s record. And who can forget on the night Bonds tied Aaron’s mark at Petco Park the image of Selig standing with his hands in his pockets while the rest of the stadium cheered Bonds’ accomplishment. What a weenie. Selig is a friend of Aaron’s, having signed the slugger and bringing him back to Milwaukee late in his career. Also, Selig always consider Bonds the poster boy of his failings as commissioner to get PED testing done earlier and put an end to the steroids era. Bonds’ playing days are over, but maybe that shield serves as another reminder to Selig. Plus, he’s a weenie.
1. Torii Hunter
Oh, so we’re looking for someone who took something that rightfully belonged to Bonds. Who else are you going to consider than Hunter? Need evidence, we offer you this image from the 2002 All-Star Game.
The San Francisco Giants now have a six-pack of NL MVPs in their history.
Buster Posey became the first Giant to be selected NL MVP since Barry Bonds won his fifth as a Giant in 2004. Posey collected 27 of 32 first-place votes to easily outdistance runner-up Ryan Braun of the Brewers, last year’s MVP. Braun picked up three first-place votes. Yadier Molina of the Cardinals, who placed fourth behind the Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen, picked up the other two. Posey had 422 points, followed by Braun (285), McCutchen (245) and Molina (241).
Posey was second on four ballots and third on the other.
Andy McCullough of the Newark Star Ledger and Andy Rubin of ESPN New York voted for Molina (both had Posey second). Oddly enough, the two St. Louis Post Dispatch writers (Rick Hummel and Joe Strauss) voted Posey first. Hummel had Molina second, Strauss had him third behind Braun.
Doug Padilla of ESPN Chicago had Posey third (behind Braun and McCutchen). Braun’s other two first-place votes came Tom Haudicourt and Todd Rosiak, both of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (both of them had Posey second).
Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence each received one 10th-place vote (Hunter Pence??)
Posey finshed with 24 home runs, 103 RBI, 39 doubles, a league-leading .336 average, .408 OBP and .549 OPS in 148 games for the Giants this season. He placed 114 games at catcher, 29 at first place and three as the DH one season after a serious ankle injury ended his season in late May of 2011.
Here’s a look at other San Francisco Giants NL MVPs:
Barry Bonds, 1993, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004
- 1993, Bonds had 46 HR, 123 RBI, .336/.458/.677;
- 2001, 73 HR, 137 RBI, .328/.515/.863;
- 2002, 46 HR, 110 RBI, .370/.582/.799;
- 2003, 45 HR, 90 RBI, .341/.529/.749;
- 2004, 45 HR, 101 RBI, .362/.609/.812
Jeff Kent, 2000
- 33 HR, 125 RBI, .334/.424/.596
Kevin Mitchell, 1989
- 47 HR, 125 RBI, .291/.338/.635
Willie McCovey, 1969
- 45 HR, 126 RBI, .320/.453/.656
Willie Mays 1965
- 52 HR, 112 RBI, .317/.398/.645
And we can’t forget the New York Giants NL MVPs
Willie Mays, 1954
- 41 HR, 110 RBI, .345/.411/.667
Carl Hubbell, 1934, 1937
- 1933 – 23-12, 1.66 ERA, 156 K
- 1936 – 26-6, 2.31 ERA, 123 K
Barry Bonds held court before Monday’s game against the Diamondbacks.
Barry Zito held court during the game.
The left-hander had one of his better starts of 2012, which is saying quite a bit.
Zito gave up two runs on seven hits and one walk in 7-plus innings. He was pulled after giving up a leadoff home run in the eighth on just his 93rd pitch of the game.
As Tim Lincecum continues to struggle, its refreshing to get quality starts out of Zito.
And if Lincecum can’t figure out his troubles, he could always ask Barry Bonds.
The former Giants slugger seemed to think he has an idea on how to fix the Freak.
Actually, Bonds thinks he has a lot to share with the younger Giants. And he indicated he’s has discussions with the Giants to do just that.
“I had a nice conversion with (Giants managing partner) Larry Baer,” Bonds said during a visit to AT&T on Monday. “The Giants have a lot of young players with a lot of ability. And hopefully I can get the opportunity to work with them.”
MoreSplashHits has always thought Bonds would be a good hitting instructor, sharing tips on pitch selection and hitting approach with Giants hitters.
But there’s been a fog over Bonds since he retired. First, it was the ongoing witch hunt by federal prosecutors that lingered on year after year.
That pursuit ended last year with a conviction for obstruction of justice, the least of the charges brought against him.
That conviction, which is currently on appeal, may be a stumbling block in Bonds pursuit to work for the Giants.
Even if the Giants agree to some arrangement for Bonds to be a roving instructor, commissioner Bud Selig, who has never had a soft spot in his heart for Bonds, could block on the basis of that conviction.
“I’m a convicted felon of obstruction of justice and that’s what I am,” Bonds admitted Monday. “I live with that. It will never go off your mind. You never forget those things. You move on (but) I’ll never forget.”
That being said, Bonds appeared in good spirits and good health. He’s dropped 20-25 pounds since his playing days as he spends his time running and cycling. And he cheered on the Giants as he hosted some inner-city youths who earned a day with Bonds by keeping up good grades.
As Barry said, the Giants have only lost once when he’s returned to AT&T as a spectator. His hot string continued Monday, which is reason enough to keep Barry coming back to the yard.
During the offseaon, Pablo Sandoval went to see his eye doctor and learned that he’s near-sided.
Since then, the Giants third baseman has debated between wearing prescription googles, contacts or nothing at all.
Perhaps that’s why he hasn’t look right yet this season. Or maybe he’s just been pressing.
Whatever it was, it seems to be a thing of the past after Sandoval hit the ball hard three times Sunday in a 6-3 win over the Braves.
“This was the starting point,” Sandoval told reporters afterwards. “This is the point to turn it around and help the team.”
Even though Sandoval entered Sunday’s game with a .290 average. He only had one RBI, and that came on a groundout. Many of Sandoval’s hits this season came a bloopers, infield hits or soft liners. Not so on Sunday.
First was a two-out triple to right-center in the fourth that led to the Giants’ first run. Then came a sharp single to left that led to the Giants’ second run. And finally came a mammoth homer to right-center that put the Giants up 5-2 in the eighth.
“Even Pablo will get out of sync occasionally,” manager Bruce Bochy told the San Jose Mercury News. “But even then, he finds a way to get hits.”
Members of the 2000 San Francisco Giants team showed up at AT&T Park on Sunday, but didn’t get to take part in the planned pre-game ceremonies because of the rain delay.
But we did learn some things about the members of that team.
A member of that team said Sunday he used steroids. And a member of that team says he’s retiring from baseball.
Of course, neither one of those statements was made by Barry Bonds.
What Barry did say is that he is proud of Mark McGwire for his admission of steroid use. Bonds also says he likes offering batting advice to younger players.
Bonds said the he’s had a good friendship with McGwire over the years, “and I’m proud of what he did, and I’m happy for him.”
Bonds also spent a few days last winter offering hitting advice to the Phillies’ Ryan Howard. He said he enjoys coaching and would like to do more of it in the future. However, it seems that coaching would be on a free-lance basis, so don’t expect Barry to replace Hensley Meulens as the Giants hitting coach.
But maybe the Giants could hire Bonds to teach Giants hitters not to swing at 2-0 pitches out of the strike zone.
That is, if they don’t sign Bonds as a free agent. Officially, he has not retired from baseball, even though he hasn’t played since 2007. His lack of retirement could be linked to a potential grievance of collusion against Major League Baseball for keeping out of the game.
One ex-Giant who did announce his retirement was Rich Aurilia. Aurilia, now a Giants broadcaster, said he contact club president Larry Baer to state his intention to retire.
One ex-Giant who admitted to steroid use was Marvin Benard, who said he used the drug to help him recover from a knee injury
More Posey news
Buster Posey went 2 for 5 with three runs scored and his first home run of the season in the Fresno Grizzlies’ 14-2 win over the Reno Aces on Sunday.
Posey is now 9 for 18 for the season.
Also on Sunday, Fred Lewis went 2 for 3 with two walks for Fresno, and Joe Martinez pitched five scoreless innings for the win.
Pirates come to town on Monday
The Pittsburgh Pirates open a three-game series with the Giants on Monday at AT&T Park. Here’s a look at the pitching matchups
- Ross Ohlendorf (0-0) vs. Barry Zito (1-0), 7:15 p.m. Monday
- Paul Maholm (0-1) vs. Matt Cain (0-0), 7:15 p.m. Tuesday
- Charlie Morton (0-1) vs. Jonathan Sanchez (0-0), 12:45 p.m. Wednesday