|Bonds, A-Rod, Jeter - all in an offseason week|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 17 November 2007 13:06|
Derek Jeter's tax troubles could barely merit a few precious inches on the back pages.
Oh, and there were Cy Young Award winners, Rookies of the Year and Managers of the Year. And then there's the story of the year.
It was all Bonds all season as he chased Hank Aaron's record. And it was still all about him in the past week.
Four years of pursuit by prosecutors culminated in the indictment that seemed nearly certain as his breaking of the home-run record. After walking to first base at a record pace, he'll be taking a perp walk soon for his arraignment on four counts of perjury and one for obstruction of justice.
His appearance in federal court is scheduled for Dec. 7 - which used to be a free-agent deadline day in baseball and marks the opening night of the opera season at the famous La Scala in Italy. There is, however, little expectation that Bonds will sing, not after all these years of denials that he used steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs.
That overshadowed all other sports news.
The New England Patriots are trying to match the 1972 Miami Dolphins for a perfect season and the Boston Celtics are off to their best start in 35 years, but baseball dominated the sports news in the past week. Pitchers and catchers don't start reporting until Feb. 14, but baseball news rarely stops, especially in the Internet age, when every scrap of information on every player, no matter big or small, creates a headline somewhere.
Commissioner Bud Selig likes to say this is a golden era for the sport, and he points to the piles of money the sport is taking in - a record $6 billion this year. The headlines are coming in faster than the bucks these days.
A-Rod's melodrama was of a sunnier sort than Bonds' inevitable journey through the justice system. There was a rapprochement with the New York Yankees that will culminate in a record-setting contract. Again.
Forget all that talk about the Yankees taking away his pinstripes forever and perhaps burning them like one of those bonfires that smoked outside the ballpark in the 1970s. After his $275 million, 10-year deal is finalized, he's destined to wind up in Monument Park, probably after breaking Bonds' home-run mark and assuredly after filling too many front and back pages to count speedily.
Now A-Rod gets more chances to flop or not in the postseason - assuming the Yankees continue their streak of 13 straight playoff appearances. Now he again gets to compete for attention across the clubhouse with captain Jeter, who must have been happy the other events reduced his headlines to near agate type. Now the tabloids can stay alert for blond strippers A-Rod might be seen with on future road trips.
New York tax officials contend that from 2001-3, Jeter should have been taxed as an in-state resident, not as a visitor from Tampa. If Jeter loses, he would have to give up a bit of the $189 million the Yankees are paying him under his no-less-gaudy but short-of-record-setting deal.
It was an even worse week for Scott Boras, at least in the arena of public perception. Apparently upset with the way his talks with the Yankees deteriorated, Rodriguez went around his longtime agent and used a managing director at Goldman Sachs to repair his relationship with the Yankees. New York was willing to take A-Rod back, but only if he was willing to forgo $21 million - matching the subsidy from Texas the Yankees lost when he opted out.
Then, on Friday, pitcher Kenny Rogers told the Detroit Tigers he would negotiate with them on his own behalf and not through Boras.
All this obscured the honors bestowed for some of the season's top accomplishments. Cleveland's C.C. Sabathia and San Diego's Jake Peavy won Cy Youngs; Boston's Dustin Pedroia and Milwaukee's Ryan Braun were voted the top rookies; and Cleveland's Eric Wedge and Arizona's Bob Melvin were selected as the top managers.
Next week come more awards, the biggest ones: Most Valuable Players.
On Monday, Rodriguez figures to pick up his third AL MVP. Philadelphia's Jimmy Rollins or Colorado's Matt Holliday likely will win the NL MVP the next day.
While baseball games have stopped for a few months, baseball news rarely comes to a halt.