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January 13, 2007

 

Bonds dishes dirt better than he’s able to take it

Bonds

Associated Press/Lawrence Jackson
San Francisco Giants’ Barry Bonds, running the bases this past summer, was quick to blame a teammate for his latest troubles, testing positive for amphetamines.

By NANCY ARMOUR
AP Sports Columnist

Poor Barry Bonds.
Somebody’s always picking on him, writing nasty things about how he puffed up bigger than the Michelin Man and suggesting he’s as wholesome as a used car salesman. Worst thing is, they don’t have the guts to say it to his face. It’s always coming from some anonymous source or grand jury testimony that was supposed to be secret.
The stress and the pain it’s caused, well, most people couldn’t handle it.
“You can’t hurt me any more than you’ve already hurt me. You can’t hurt my family anymore than you’ve already hurt them,” Bonds said in last spring’s TV classic, “Bonds on Bonds.”
“You don’t see me bringing anyone else into this. I take it myself.”
So much for that.
For all his complaints about how unfairly he’s been treated, Bonds apparently has no problem throwing other people under the bus.
According to the New York Daily News, Bonds blamed a positive test for amphetamines last season on teammate Mark Sweeney. This after telling a federal grand jury in 2003 that he’d never knowingly taken steroids, implying that, if he had indeed doped, it was all trainer and good buddy Greg Anderson’s fault.
Anderson’s still paying the price for that one, sitting in prison for refusing to testify whether his boyhood friend lied.
At least Bonds publicly apologized to Sweeney, releasing a statement Thursday night to say he never got anything from him. But the damage is done. Anytime this story comes up in the future — and Bonds being Bonds, you can bet it will — Sweeney’s name will, too. With the cloud of performance-enhanced suspicion hovering over just about every player these days, rumors and innuendo can be as damaging as facts once were, no matter how many times they’re batted down.
That, as much as the positive test itself, should give the San Francisco Giants pause as they try and finalize a one-year, $16 million deal.
Baseball, moreso than any other sport, prizes the sanctity of its clubhouses. Players are together for eight or nine months, day in and day out. They see more of each other than they do their families and friends. With the season that long and the team that small, there’s no room for public soap operas.
Sure, there are problems inside those walls. To the outside world, though, things are always fine. You don’t air the family dirt, and you never, ever rat out a teammate, no matter the sin.
By the time Sammy Sosa skipped out on the Chicago Cubs at the end of the 2004 season, most fans would have cheered the player who took a bat to his boom box. To this day, though, nobody’s claimed credit.
As Bonds, Sosa, Mark McGwire and dozens of others got bigger and stronger in the 1990s, there was lots of suspicion as to how, but the baseball fraternity was silent. Steroids were banned after the 2002 season.
“We knew,” said Tony Gwynn, who was elected to the Hall of Fame earlier this week. “Players knew. Owners knew. Everybody knew, and we didn’t say anything about it.”
For those who do break the code of silence, punishment is stiff.
Jose Canseco might as well have had a communicable disease after naming names in “Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big.”
The Baltimore Orioles let Rafael Palmeiro stick around after he tested positive for steroids in 2005, despite that finger-shaking denial before Congress earlier that year. As soon as he tried to pin the blame on Miguel Tejada, the Orioles told him he was no longer welcome.
When Jim Bouton published “Ball Four” in the early 1970s, he didn’t spare anyone. The boozing, the pill popping, the womanizing — it was all in there, and so were the names. To say his teammates didn’t appreciate it would be an understatement. It took nearly 30 years before the New York Yankees let him come back for Old Timers’ Day. Even then, George Steinbrenner wasn’t all that enthused.
“The other guys on the team weren’t crazy about him,” Steinbrenner said then. “I wouldn’t say Jim Bouton is a great guy, but you have to forgive.”
Who knows how long it will take to undo the damage Bonds has done to the Giants’ clubhouse. But he’s shattered all the goodwill and trust that was built up last season.
“This year we had the best chemistry on the team. I felt like the team was clicking,” Omar Vizquel said. “It’s sad a stupid instance like this might rupture something that was going pretty good.”
Bonds has never been known as the ideal teammate. He’s a little too aloof, preferring to hang out in his corner of the clubhouse in his recliner.
But he, especially, should have known better.

 

 

Trojans’ gift: upending McGraw

By TOM VARTANIAN
Staff Writer

There was a birthday party at Homer High School Friday night for head basketball coach Jim Luchsinger and McGraw Centralwas the entertainment.
The Trojans did not ruin the party as they pulled away in the second half for a solid_70-47 victory over the Eagles in the non-league contest.
Senior guard Tristan Hartnett led Homer (6-9 overall) with 20 points, six steals and four assists while classmate Jake Andrews netted 12 points. The Trojans shot 43 percent (29-for-67) from the field and held a 47-42 edge_in rebounds.
Defensively, Homer forced 20 McGraw turnovers.
“We have been close to winning games lately,” said Luchsinger. “We had just one bad quarter Tuesday against Whitney Point and that could have been a win.”
“Obviously, we got a great game out of Tristan as he athletic ability took over,” Luchsinger added. “We got some good minutes out of Paul Armideo and Jake Andrews. Derrick (McCall) came off the bench and played a great game. All the big guys (Mike Carboine, Jon Morrison, Derek, Joe May, Adam Darr) inside did good things.”
McCall had one of his best outings of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds for the double-double. The junior post player also two blocked shots.
“Derek is starting to fill in more and get more minutes,” said Luchsinger. “I would have liked to have him in a little more at the end, but I wanted to make sure everyone got some playing time. It is great to have Derrick back on the team this year. He did not play last year and he is a big addition for us this year.”
The game was close in the beginning before a 6-0 run by Homer gave the Trojans a 13-7 lead. Armideo started the run with two free throws. He then stole the ball and fired a pass to Hartnett for an easy lay-up. Armideo close out the run by taking a pass from Morrison and scoring the fast-break lay-in with 1:53 left in the quarter. Homer would end the quarter with a 16-11 advantage.
McGraw (5-6) forced some Trojan mistakes and capitalized on free throw opportunities to start the second quarter. Josh Shepard hit three of four chances as the Eagles used a slow start in the quarter to close to within 16-14 with 4:50 left in the first half. That would be as close as the visitors would get the rest of the night.
With an 18-15 lead, the Trojans used another 8-0 run to open up a 26-15 lead with 2:53 left in the half. McCall started the run with a nice jumper and he added a free throw later. A steal and lay-in by Hartnett was next before Andrews buried a 3-pointer.
The Eagles continued to battle, but Homer enjoyed a 31-21 advantage at the break. McGraw tried pressing full-court, but Homer did a better job, turning the ball over just four times in the first 16 minutes.
“The press did not bother us as much tonight,” said Luchsinger. “We did throw_the ball away a couple of times, but the mistakes were more on our guys not making the right decisions.”
Homer turned up the pressure and got their transition game rolling. Leading 33-23, the Trojans pulled away with a 16-0 run. Hartnett scored seven points during the run, twice off steals, while assisting on inside buckets by McCall and Carboine. After Andrews hit from 3-pointer, McCall concluded the run with 3:35 left in the quarter by depositing an offensive rebound off his own miss for a 49-23 advantage. The third quarter would end with Homer on top 55-35.
Both coaches emptied their benches during fourth quarter play.
“We could not get a field goal in the second half,” said McGraw coach Ben Albright. “It is a good thing that we did shoot our free throws well. We are in a little rut right now and we have to work some things out. We will go back to the drawing board and get ready for our league games.”
“Give Coach Luchsinger a lot of credit,” Albright continued. “He has his kids playing well. He has those kids giving 100 percent the entire game, which is the difference from years past. They are a tough team and it is always tough for us to play a bigger school.”
As a team, McGraw shot just 20 percent (11-for-56) from the field while converting 21-of-26 free throw attempts. Evan Emery led the Eagles with 17 points, nine rebounds and three steals. Brad MacLean added 13 points and eight rebounds with Ryan Russell also pulling down eight caroms and recording four steals.
Homer will return to action Wednesday when the Trojans travel to LaFayette. Junior varsity action tips off at 5:30 p.m.
McGraw will return to CCL play at DeRuyter Wednesday with JC action starting at 5:30 p.m.
HOMER JVs had little trouble winning their 10th game of the season as the Trojans rolled pasted McGraw 82-16.
Homer (10-3) jumped out to a 27-3 lead in the first quarter and built a 48-6 cushion by halftime.
Brandon Simonetta led the Trojans with 16 points. D.J. Canfield added 11 points to the Homer attack while Ricky Newman and Brett Stokoe each netted 10 points.
Cody Brown and Kyle Tuttle each scored five points for the Eagles (0-11).

 

 

Purple Tigers better

The Cortland High volleyball team’s match with visiting East Syracuse-Minoa Friday was even better than Purple Tigers coach Mary Lou Bordwell expected.
“I expected an improvement from the first time, and what an improvement,” Bordwell said of her squad’s 25-18, 25-23, 24-26, 25-22 win over the visiting Spartans.
CHS is now 4-7 in the OHSL Freedom Division and overall, two of those wins against ES-M.
“The first game was pretty even. We did manage to work out a rotation with Kaitlyn Glover out due to an injury, and it was nice to settle down, get a lead and keep it. The best run of the game was from 21 to 25, with Alissa Claiser serving and kills from Katelyn Anderson and Kim Natoli. Brittany Babcock had four kills and Amanda Cheetham, playing ill, still had five assists,” reported Bordwell.
ES-M moved to an early 5-1 lead in the second game and was up by as much as five, at 14-9, before Rachel Pisa served for five points in a row, including two kills by Chelsea Tollner and a block by Anderson, to tie the game at 20-20. Tollner served for points 22-24 with an ace and Babcock had a kill for the game-winning point.
The visitors (2-01 league, 3-10 overall) rallied in the third game after being down 12-6 and led 18-14 before Cortland rallied back to tie it at 20-20. The teams were deadlocked at 24-24 when two unforced errors cost the Purple Tigers the game.
“Game four was dig and hit the whole game,” Bordwell said. “At no time was either team up by more than three. Luckily our best run was at the end, with Claiser serving an ace, Rachel Pisa an ace, Natoli getting a save for a point and no third hit by ES-M for the game.”
Natoli was 15-for-15 on digs to lead the defense, while Pisa was 14-for-15 with three saves and five assists. Anderson went 22-for-28 and Cheetham 73-for-77 with 13 assists, a kill and six saves. Babcock led the attack with 10 kills and went 24-for-24 hitting with a block kill and two aces. Natoli had five aces and five kills, Anderson four kills, a block kill and two aces, Claiser and Tollner two kills and two aces apiece, Katie Owens two kills and Natalie Stiles one kill.
CORTLAND JVs lost 25-10, 18-25, 25-15 as Nicole Wageck had a kill and led the defensive coverage in the second game, Sarah Curtis had two point kills and a kill and Julie Bush scored 12 straight serves in the first game, including five aces in a row.