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#pounditThursday, January 27, 2022

Baseball

Barry Bonds gets Hall of Fame endorsement from notable ex-manager

Barry Bonds

Barry Bonds missed out on the Baseball Hall of Fame in his final year of eligibility, and one of his most notable former managers thinks the voters got it wrong.

Jim Leyland, who managed Bonds in Pittsburgh from 1986 to 1992, was critical of voters for excluding Bonds, arguing that the outfielder was a Hall of Famer before any speculation about performance-enhancing drug use began.

“I thought possibly being the last go-round on the writers’ ballot that he would get in, and disappointed that he didn’t get in. Disappointed that [Roger] Clemens didn’t get in,” Leyland told “The Stoney & Jansen Show” on 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit. “But when people are awarded that privilege of voting for the Hall of Fame, they also are awarded the privilege of making their decision. Whether you agree with it or disagree, that’s the way it is.”

Leyland questioned whether the Hall of Fame should be treated like “the Holy Land or the Promised Land,” and also blamed Bonds’ poor relationship with the media for Bonds’ exclusion.

“He’s arguably the greatest player to ever play, if you look at all the statistics. Not only one of the greatest, he could be the greatest,” Leyland said. “He was one of those guys who his attitude pretty much throughout his career — and this is why the media relationship was not very good — he just had to play with a chip on his shoulder. It was kind of ‘me against the world.’ That’s the way Barry was and consequently, that hurt him some with the media.”

Bonds came quite close to election in his final year on the ballot, but did not quite get enough support. There is probably a degree of truth to the fact that Bonds’ difficult relationship with the media hurt him, though the outfielder’s links to PED use are certainly the biggest factor.

Leyland famously cursed out Bonds in a 1991 spring training video, but the two are close and Leyland even attended Bonds’ jersey retirement ceremony in San Francisco. Perhaps Leyland’s endorsement will help Bonds when the Today’s Game Committee considers his case in December.

Augie Garrido had a legendary quote about recruiting Kyler Murray for baseball

Kyler Murray in shoulder pads

Kyler Murray has developed into a pretty incredible football player. But let’s not forget just how good he was as a baseball player too.

Murray had a standout season for Oklahoma’s baseball team in 2018, which led the Oakland A’s to draft him No. 9 overall in the 2018 draft. Murray didn’t end up playing professional baseball because he chose to pursue football instead after the Arizona Cardinals drafted him No. 1 overall in 2019.

So, just how good was Murray entering college? The late Augie Garrido was coaching at Texas at the time Murray was a high school recruit from Allen, Texas. The legendary baseball coach described in comments with reporters just to what lengths he would go to get Murray as a recruit.

“For [Murray], I would get in my car, drive down and pick him up, and give him the car afterwards,” Garrido joked.

Garrido was then asked if Murray was that good of a ballplayer.

“Yeah,” Garrido said. “So was (Johnny) Manziel. They’re a lot alike, except for the social part.”

Both Manziel and Murray ended up at Texas A&M. Murray ended up transferring to Oklahoma, where he won the Heisman Trophy and also played great in the 2018 baseball season for the Sooners.

Garrido coached at Texas through the 2016 season. He died in 2018 at the age of 79. He coached a lot of great players and knew talent when he saw it.

Photo: Oct 24, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) against the Houston Texans in the second half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Video shows David Ortiz’s reaction to Hall of Fame call

David Ortiz on the phone

There is only one member of the 2022 Baseball Hall of Fame class: David Ortiz.

Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling all failed to make the 75 percent voting cut and are off the ballot. Ortiz made it in his first year with 77.9 percent of the vote (full results).

Ortiz was hanging with countryman and fellow former Boston Red Sox star Pedro Martinez when he got the call from the Hall. You can see his reaction in this video:

Papi was loving it. And in his true fashion, of course he had a flamboyant shirt and some big chains.

Now that Ortiz is in the Hall of Fame, his next course of action is deciding whether to go in with a Twins or Red Sox hat.

Final vote count reveals how close Barry Bonds came to making Hall of Fame

Barry Bonds

Barry Bonds has officially been shut out of the Hall of Fame after coming up short in his tenth and final year of eligibility. A close look at the final tally reveals just how close he came to actually making it though.

The Baseball Writers’ Association of America announced on Tuesday that retired Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz had been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Ortiz was the only one of 30 candidates on this year’s ballot to receive 75 percent of the vote, the threshold needed for induction.

Ortiz received 307 votes out of 394 total ballots submitted (77.9 percent). Bonds was the next highest vote-getter with 260 votes in his favor (66.0 percent). Here is the fully final vote count.

With 394 total ballots, Bonds needed to get 296 votes in order to reach the 75 percent threshold. That means he came just 36 votes shy of making the Hall of Fame.

MLB’s all-time home run king, Bonds was arguably the greatest hitter ever by many metrics. But he will forever be linked to performance-enhancing drugs, which is also true of others who fell short here in their final year of eligibility like Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa. During his playing career, Bonds was notoriously standoffish with the media as well, which probably further damaged his case.

There were some signs that Hall of Fame voters were warming up to Bonds, who got as little as 34.7 percent of the vote in previous years of eligibility. While Bonds still got a solid amount of votes this year, it was not quite enough to get him into Cooperstown in his final crack at it.

Photo: Jul 8, 2017; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants former outfielder Barry Bonds looks on prior to a game against the Miami Marlins at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Roger Clemens issues statement after being denied by Hall of Fame in last try

Roger Clemens golfing

Roger Clemens issued a statement on Twitter Tuesday after learning he did not make the Hall of Fame in what was his final year of eligibility.

In his statement, the 7-time Cy Young winner downplayed the significance of the Hall of Fame.

“Hey y’all! I figured I’d give y’all a statement since it’s that time of the year again. My family and I put the HOF in the rear view mirror ten years ago. I didn’t play baseball to get into the HOF. I played to make a generational difference in the lives of my family. Then focus on winning championships while giving back to my community and the fans as well. It was my passion. I gave it all I had, the right way, for my family and for the fans who supported me. I am grateful for that support. I would like to thank those who took the time to look at the facts and vote for me. Hopefully everyone can now close this book and keep their eyes forward focusing on what is really important in life. All love!” Clemens wrote.

Clemens is saying that he long had come to terms with the likelihood that he wouldn’t make the Hall of Fame. Even if that’s the case, there’s no way that doesn’t sting him.

He and Barry Bonds, among others, were some of the best players in the history of the game. It’s hard not having them in the Hall when there are allegedly some other cheaters in there. It’s even harder when the man who was elected to the class of 2022, David Ortiz, has a reported past positive PED test on his record.

Clemens and the other players who failed to make it in their 10 years on the ballot will now be evaluated for induction by the Veterans Committee.

Photo: Jan 19, 2017; La Quinta, CA, USA; Former MLB pitcher Roger Clemens looks on at the second fairway during the first round of the CareerBuilder Challenge at La Quinta Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Kat Padgett is not Alex Rodriguez’s girlfriend, report says

Alex Rodriguez at the Packers game

Alex Rodriguez and Kat Padgett may have looked pretty cozy at the Green Bay Packers game on Saturday night, but that does not mean they are dating.

The New York Post reported on Monday that A-Rod is single and that Padgett is not his girlfriend.

In addition to the Packers playoff game, Rodriguez and Padgett attended a Minnesota Timberwolves game on Sunday. Rodriguez is a co-owner of the T-Wolves.

Based on his dating history, Rodriguez has long been a fan of blondes. He also tends to like physically fit women, which is exactly what Padgett is. Padgett is a fitness competitor and aspiring registered dietician.

Despite their national TV appearance together, they’re not boyfriend and girlfriend.

Girl with Alex Rodriguez identified as Kat Padgett

Alex Rodriguez at the Packers game

Alex Rodriguez attended the Green Bay Packers’ game against the San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field on Saturday night while accompanied by a mystery woman. That woman has now been identified.

Rodriguez was shown on the FOX broadcast battling the cold and dancing during the fourth quarter with a blonde.

A-Rod’s date, if we can call her that, was Kat Padgett. She appears to be a fitness trainer who takes part in fitness competitions. Andrew Holleran of The Spun noted that Padgett had some activity on her Instagram story that indicated she was at the Niners-Packers game. She was then at the Minnesota Timberwolves’ game on Sunday. Rodriguez, of course, is a co-owner of the NBA franchise.

Here are some photos from Padgett’s Instagram page:

Some were surprised to see A-Rod wearing a Packers hat now that he owns an NBA team in Minnesota. He explained his wardrobe choice during an interview at the T-Wolves game.

A-Rod previously went through a highly-publicized breakup with ex-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez. She has since rebounded with Ben Affleck and scrubbed A-Rod from her social media profiles. Rodriguez appears to be moving on just fine, as well.

Alex Rodriguez explains why he was at Packers game

Alex Rodriguez at the Packers game

Alex Rodriguez had some damage control to do after being spotted at Lambeau Field for Saturday’s Green Bay Packers playoff game.

Rodriguez was spotted in the crowd during Saturday’s NFC Divisional game between the Packers and San Francisco 49ers. That was enough to raise some eyebrows: not only was Rodriguez with a mystery woman, but the former MLB star is an incoming co-owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Packers, of course, are not particularly popular in neighboring Minnesota, where the Vikings are the preferred NFL team.

Rodriguez briefly chatted with the Timberwolves’ broadcast on Sunday, explaining that attending a game at Lambeau Field was a “bucket list” item for him.

“It was a bucket list. I’ve always wanted to go there,” Rodriguez said. “It’s funny, my daughters call and say ‘Dad, are you a Packers fan?’ I said ‘no honey, I’m not a Packers fan’. But I am a fan of Lambeau Field. I’ve always wanted to go there. It was a terrific game, and Viking fans should be thrilled because the Packers lost.”

Clearly, Rodriguez heard from some people who were not pleased he seemed to be rooting on Green Bay. There’s no explanation for the fact that he was wearing a Packers hat, but maybe it’s best he didn’t dive deeper.

A-Rod’s tenure as Timberwolves owner is not exactly off to a great start. He’s gonna have to get some Vikings gear to start making up for this.

Alex Rodriguez shown on TV at Packers game with new girlfriend?

Alex Rodriguez at the Packers game

Alex Rodriguez’s bosses at FOX seemed to do the former MVP a big favor on Saturday night.

A-Rod attended the NFC Divisional Round playoff game between the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field. During the fourth quarter of the game, FOX showed Rodriguez in the crowd having fun with a blonde.

Everyone quickly wondered who the mystery blonde was.

Rodriguez was recently linked to sports reporter Melanie Collins, but it was hard to tell in that weather whether that was Collins.

So, why was that a favor for Rodriguez?

A-Rod previously went through a highly-publicized breakup with ex-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez. She has since rebounded with Ben Affleck and scrubbed A-Rod from her social media profiles.

Rodriguez works as an MLB analyst for FOX, so maybe they did him a favor by showing him in front of millions of TV viewers having fun with a new girl at the game. That sure makes him look like he’s doing pretty well despite the breakup.

Braves took funny shot at Astros on Twitter

Dansby Swanson in his Braves uniform

The Atlanta Braves took six games to beat the Houston Astros in the World Series last fall. But they only needed one tweet to beat the Astros again on social media this week.

On Friday, the Braves took a hilarious shot at the Astros on Twitter. They responded to a tweet from Delta Airlines that read, “Name a city that changed your life.”

“Houston, Texas,” the Braves wrote in reply.

For reference, Atlanta won the clinching Game 6 of the 2021 World Series on the road in Houston. It was the Braves’ fourth World Series title in the 151-season history of their franchise and their first since 1995.

Atlanta already got in funny taunts at Houston’s expense during the World Series matchup. They could not resist getting one more in on Friday too.

Photo: Nov 2, 2021; Houston, TX, USA; Atlanta Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson (7) reacts after turning a double play against the Houston Astros during the fourth inning in game six of the 2021 World Series at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports