Baby, You’re a Rich Man…and I Guess a Free One Now

The posthumous sequel by Bernard Malamud?

The posthumous sequel by Bernard Malamud?

Bulletin: The Department of Justice will not appeal a court ruling that clears Barry Bonds of obstruction in a probe over steroids. Such ends criminal prosecution of Major League Baseball’s career home-run leader. Thank goodness for this news on the eve of the National Baseball Hall of Fame inductions. Is this bigger than a discovery of life on Pluto? Maybe I (Evander) could sleep much better now.

Naturally, there is also the court of public-sports opinion and more: the jurors consisting of the baseball writers who sit as deciders over which Major League ballplayers are honored in Cooperstown—the fictitious Eden of the American National Pastime. (Is the whole thing just a shell game?)

Randy Johnson is ready for his closeup in about ten days. So are Pedro Martinez (with little question one of the rarefied truly greats, as there is even a pecking order, in my view, within the Hall community), John Smoltz, and Craig Biggio.

In the meantime, all-time hits’ king Pete Rose finds himself crankily on Fox as “an opiner” as well as in ever-deeper doodoo amid fresh allegations that he bet on (or against?) his own team. (This blog has already covered organized crime and gambling, especially prevalent amid Pakistani cricket.)

But the leading steroid-suspects (none of these ever tested positive you realize)—Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, of course Bonds himself for starters—all must pay their way into the Hall for another year if not forever.

Yet another category of player exists, the one around which innuendo drapes like a cheap suit. This includes, above all, Mike Piazza. There are no specific allegations with respect to Piazza mind you. But he was just so good and so strong that he must wait: he surely was on the Juice it is rumored, tho The Big Hurt (Frank Thomas, who works the airwaves with Rose), even larger, even stronger, never much of a fielder and in short something of a one-dimensional force, was eagerly and speedily elected in 2014, maybe as much for his tirades against PED as for his (considerable) batting stats.

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About rightoffthebatbook

Co-author of the book, "Right Off the Bat: Baseball, Cricket, Literature, and Life"
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