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Barry Bonds Throws Out Giants First Pitch, Looks Like Normal Human Being Again

Much like Rangers legend Nolan Ryan who was asked to throw out the first pitch in the ALDS for Texas, Giants legend Barry Bonds was invited to throw out the first pitch prior to Game 3 of the NLCS in San Francisco Tuesday. Bonds was in excellent spirits and received a nice welcome from his home crowd. What stood out immediately was how much different Barry looks. He’s no longer all roided up on horse pills and cow hormones and he actually looks normal. More accurately, as LBS contributor Alan Hull put it, he looked deflated (and we’re not talking about emotionally). Check out the pictures of Barry Bonds now and back when he was juiced up for comparison:

Looks a lot different now, doesn’t he? Any wonder how he bashed 73 home runs? The prosecution rests, your honor.

Photo Credit: Photo/Jeff Chiu, Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Red Sox to Widen Fenway Bullpens, Shorten Porch in Right Field?

Could the Boston Red Sox be getting jealous of the way balls fly out of their AL East rival’s ballpark?  It’s no secret that the new Yankee Stadium was built with the dimensions of a Juicy Juice juice box.  The right field fence is a mere 314 feet from home plate.  Although right center is listed at 384 feet from home, that’s true right center — as in very close to center field.  It certainly doesn’t take much to poke a fly ball out of the park if you’re a lefty at Yankee Stadium, or even a righty with minimal opposite field power.

Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino told the Boston Herald on Tuesday that the Fenway bullpens are “old and substandard compared to the new state-of-the-art bullpens,” and that “there are issues about bullpen safety.”  Lucchino went on to talk about how the bullpens are too narrow and make it hard for two pitchers to warm up at once.

You buying that?  I certainly am not.  I suppose it would be nice to have wider, more luxurious bullpens, but I feel pretty confident in saying the Sox would like to see some more homers in their ballpark.  Lucchino even downplayed any talk of the way the upgrade would affect home runs, making the plan even more suspect.

It only takes a 302-foot poke to leave the yard in right field at Fenway, but to accomplish that a hitter needs to hit the ball right at Pesky’s Pole.  As soon as you start getting closer to center field from right, the fence darts out in a hurry.  David Ortiz had no problem putting it into the bullpens during his Flintstone chewable vitamin days, but the warning track seems to be getting closer these days even for Big Papi.  If the Sox brass is saying the change might be made, it’s going to get made.  I’m just not buying any nonsense about making it more comfortable for two relievers to warm up.

Meet Jared Macchirole: The New Jeffrey Maier in New York

We already touched on how the Yankees had both a Jeffrey Maier and Steve Bartman moment in Game 4 of the ALCS. Well leave it to the New York papers to take all of 15 minutes to find out the life story for the perp. By the third inning, we knew where the new Maier went to elementary school, what his favorite color was, and his current dating status. OK, maybe not that much, but we did find out that the obnoxious kid’s name is Jared Macchirole and that he’s a 20-year-old from Queens who attends Penn State.

Macchirole apparently played baseball in high school for Archbishop Molloy and has a pretty decent swing. His actions on Tuesday night have already inspired a Facebook group with the tagline “This kid makes all Yankee fans look like scum.” I agree completely. The worst part is Macchirole denied making any gestures towards Nelson Cruz after the home run was hit, according to the Newark Star-Ledger. Maybe Macchirole needs to see his own video tape:

Amazingly the Maier and Bartman repeats weren’t the only poor displays by the Yankees fans on Tuesday night. Awful Announcing caught some fan trying to dump beer on Cal Ripken and the TBS pregame set. Real classy huh?

Thanks to 310toJoba and Michael Tunison at SB Nation

Yankees Fans Have Jeffrey Maier and Steve Bartman Moment in Same Game

What were the odds that the Yankees would have not just a Jeffrey Maier repeat in Game 4 of the ALCS, but also a Steve Bartman moment? The Maier moment happened in the second inning when Robinson Cano hit a home run to right field. An obnoxious Yankees fan — Jared Macchirole — reached over for the ball as it hit the top of the wall and bounced over for a home run. A review should have been done by the umps to make sure it was a home run, but they elected not to. The best part was Macchirole who seemed to flip off right fielder Nelson Cruz after the ball cleared the wall:

The other incident took place in the top of the 5th. Josh Hamilton was up with two men on and two outs with the Rangers down 3-2. He flared a ball down the left field line that was extremely catchable and could have been the last out of the inning. Instead, a Yankees fan had a Steve Bartman moment reaching over to try and catch the ball. He blocked left fielder Brett Gardner from getting it and could have cost the Yanks an out. Luckily Hamilton flew out to end the inning otherwise that fan would have lived in infamy. Here’s the Yankees Bartman incident:

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Nolan Ryan, Rangers Providing Parking Refund for Overcharged Fans

When the new Texas Rangers ownership took over, their goal was to follow the Arte Moreno model of fan-friendliness and a family environment at the ballpark. Much like Moreno, their first step was to cut beer prices and parking. As much as I can’t stand the Rangers, I have to recognize and applaud Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan for doing right by the fans, just like I did with Moreno.

SI Hot Clicks informed us that the Rangers raised parking prices from $10 to $15 around the ballpark for the ALCS. There was negative backlash from the fans as you could imagine, so Nolan Ryan decided to step in and order the prices go back to $10. Additionally, he took the extra step of saying the team would refund fans who spent $15 to park in Game 1 of the ALCS.

In a day where we’re hearing parking prices around Fenway Park could rise to $40 and the Cleveland Browns are charging fans to walk into a parking lot to tailgate, any action that is fan-friendly will be applauded. I hope other teams can take a cue from Ryan’s actions and realize the goodwill established with your fans will be greatly publicized when you do something right.

Phillies Fans Bust Out the Pat Burrell Hate

A day after giving pitcher Tim Lincecum the poster treatment, Phillies fans decided to break out with some Pat Burrell hate. Burrell of course was drafted by the Phillies and played there from 2000-2008. He left the off-season after they won the World Series in 2008 and signed with the Rays who cut him. The Giants picked him up mid-season and he’s played well for them. Now that he’s back in Philly for the NLCS, they wasted little time in welcoming him back in a way only Philly fans can:

By the way, the guy on the left is not calling Burrell a wife cheat; the “S” was covered up, implying that Burrell’s wife is the one who cheats. I’m sure that’s gotta be comforting to see on a sign.

When it comes to Phillies fans, that’s nothing. Check this, this, this, and this out to see what I mean.

Photo Credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Bruce Bochy Pulled Jonathan Sanchez Too Early, Paid the Price in Game 2

In what seems to be a continuing theme in the 2010 MLB playoffs, Giants manager Bruce Bochy pulled starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez early in Game 2 of the NLCS and saw his bullpen blow a 2-1 game. Sanchez was pitching well, allowing just two runs through six innings. He had walked in a run in the first and gave up an RBI sac fly in the 5th. Yet after having the lefty start the 7th, Bochy brought out the quick hook after Sanchez gave up a single to fellow pitcher Roy Oswalt to lead off the inning.

Sanchez had already thrown 100 pitches at that point, but there was no reason to not let him go through the lineup again. Instead, Bochy pulled Sanchez and brought in reliever Ramon Ramirez who gave up a sac bunt, intentional walk, and run-scoring single by Placido Polanco. Next, Jeremy Affeldt entered the game and he struck out Ryan Howard before intentionally walking Jayson Werth. Of course Boch wasn’t done there, and he brought in Santiago Casilla who gave up the big blow — a bases-clearing double by Jimmy Rollins to make it 6-1.

We saw Rangers manager Ron Washington make the same mistake of pulling his starter early on Friday night. I know you’re probably saying that there’s a difference between the two — the Giants were already down 2-1 so it’s not like they blew a win, while the Rangers were up and blew a lead. True, but that’s not the point.

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