Monday, April 18, 2011

Barry Bonds and Eldrick T. Woods

There is a scene in the classic 1967 movie, “A Guide For The Married Man,” in which Bobby Morse is explaining to Walter Matthau what one is to do when caught by your wife in bed with another woman.

As Morse describes the scene we see Terry Thomas in bed with Jayne Mansfield. In walks his wife who instantly starts screaming. Without missing a beat, Terry Thomas gets out of bed, gets Ms. Mansfield to help him make it; helps her into her clothes and then puts his own on; walks her to the door, kisses her goodbye, then walks back into the house and sits down in his living room chair and begins reading the newspaper.

His wife, who has been screaming the whole time, finally says, “Well, how do you explain this?”

“Explain what?” he answers very calmly.

She looks around. There’s no sign of another woman. The bed is made. There is absolutely no evidence that he has anything to explain. She finally looks at him and says, “What do you want for dinner?”

Which brings us to Barry Bonds and Eldrick T. Woods.

Apparently they saw the movie. Either that or they (and you can throw Roger Clemens and others in here too) have figured out that if you simply deny everything, SOMEONE will ask you what you want for dinner.

Raise your hand if you are among those who believe for one second that Bonds didn’t know what he was doing when he took steroids. While you are laughing, consider this: a jury of 12 of Bonds’ peers (a misuse of terminology on every level since Bonds would be the first to tell you he has no peers) could not conclude that Bonds perjured himself when he told a grand jury he ‘accidentally,’ took steroids that just about doubled his head-size and turned him from a Hall of Fame player destined to hit about 500 home runs into baseball’s tainted all-time home run king. (lower-case letters intentional).

And yet, after hearing weeks of evidence from, in some cases, first hand witnesses, the jury only convicted Bonds on an obstruction of justice charge for being ‘evasive,’ while answering questions. The vote on one of the perjury counts was 11-1 for conviction. My guess is that the woman who voted not to convict would have voted against conviction if Bonds had walked into the jury room and said, “are you kidding, of course I lied, I was counting on SOMEONE being stupid enough to buy my story.”

She probably wouldn’t have found him to be a credible witness.

Bonds should write her a check for at least $1 million because she single-handedly kept him out of jail. He won’t do jail time on the obstruction charge but if he had been convicted of perjury, there would have been no choice but to give him SOME jail time. That perp walk would have been recorded forever and would have been seen for generations far more often than Bonds’ 756th home run.

But he got off. No, he won’t go to The Hall of Fame but not going to the Hall of Fame as a punishment is a lot better than going to jail and THEN not going to the Hall of Fame. So, Bonds got off the way so many famous people get off. Heck, there were people then and there are people now who think Richard Nixon was railroaded out of office by the media in 1974. I know this for a fact because on the day Nixon resigned there was a New York Times headline that said, “Nixon’s Last Bastion of Support.” The dateline was Shelter Island, New York—where I spent summers as a kid. Many of the people quoted in that story were members of Gardiner’s Bay Country Club, where I worked in the pro shop. Several had complained to my boss about my “Impeach the Cox-Sacker,” bumper sticker.

No doubt there are people who think the media has railroaded Bonds because he’s been a pain-in-the-neck to deal with through the years. Or that the federal government was making some kind of example of him. I would suggest reviewing the testimony. I would also ask how then you explain what is happening to Clemens, who was actually very good with the media—especially later in his career. My sense of the federal government is this: If they think you’re lying, they come after you. Period.

As for my friend Mr. Woods, here is my second question of the day: Those of you who still think he’s ‘changed,’ since November 27, 2009 please raise your hands too. Maybe his golf has changed, but Tiger is still Tiger: dismissive (see Macatee, Bill—attempted post-round interview on Sunday at Augusta) arrogant, unwilling to do even the smallest things to make himself a little more fan friendly (please, go ahead and tell me it would kill him to play the par-three at The Masters. And don’t give me the, ‘he doesn’t want to change his pre-tournament routine,’ line. He changes it every year and, fact is, he hasn’t won there since 2005 so why NOT change?).

And yet, like with Nixon and Bonds and Clemens, there are still people buying Tiger’s lines. His new thing is to say he can’t change his schedule and can’t play more golf because he needs time with his children. It’s a good line—one that’s tough to argue with. Of course it doesn’t explain why he was seen in The Bahamas gambling a few days before going to Augusta; then, after nine days in Augusta, jumped on a plane to go to China to sell Nike product a few minutes after his last blow-off line to Macatee.

Look, you want to go to the Bahamas and have fun—go for it. You want to be a Nike salesman and go halfway around the world—heck, maybe it’s in your contract. But DON’T do those things and then try to tell us how much you miss your kids. In fact, during an infomercial last Thursday on Golf Channel (which posed as an ‘interview,’) during which viewers had to sit and listen to the president of Nike golf pitch the new spring products right there on-camera with Tiger, co-host Erik Kuselias, trying to make the interview at least semi-legitimate, asked Woods about being away from his kids so much.

“That’s why Skype is so great,” Tiger said with a straight face. “It’s almost like being there.”

I am not a crook.

I didn’t know what I was putting in my body.

Skype is just like being there.

What do you want for dinner Mr. President? Barry? Tiger?

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pretty minor points on Tiger. I was hoping for some insight on his golf. I love your opinions and wouldn't tell you to ever change. No problem, we are all petty at times. You're still the best, John.

brad said...

Give it a rest john!! Phil is NOTORIOUS for stop offs in vegas and other gambling establishments and most golfers all do sponsorship meet and greets. I'm not defending tiger (nor do i like him) but what you are saying makes zero sense. Please give us something other than he doesn't do a good interview (wouldn't do one for you and rocco...we get it)

Erik J. Barzeski said...

More of the same from John. It's gotten old.

I really almost couldn't care less about Tiger the person. He hasn't cheated like Bonds, so the purity of his record remains intact. I care about his golf and little else.

JMcD said...

John you are so right about Tiger. He seems to be even more arrogant than before. His dismissive attitude towards Macatee after the Masters was awful particularly when contrasted with the Rory McIlroy who was a class act in facing the media. For someone who lost millions in endorsement deals and was reportedly reentering the market for endorsements you would think he might care more about his image. His image is becoming even more toxic than it was in the immediate aftermath of his scandal and not because he isn’t winning tournaments. Barry Bonds is a great analogy. Due to his “personality” he did not get any significant endorsement deals. I guess Tiger figures he is immune to it all and is entitled to those millions in off course revenues.

Anonymous said...

I posted this earlier at GeoffShackelford.com:

I want to say that I've stopped caring; my interest in the petulant, unappreciative former golfing superstar has completely evaporated.

Except for this: Woods has always been about HIMSELF -- his winning, his image, the controllng of his environment. What Woods has proven, over and over again, is that he is most certainly NOT about Respecting The Game. The profanity, the autograph snubs, the never-ending curtness with the media only shows that the selfish athlete.... spoiled, fawned over and coddled from early on... simply isn't going to change. He's had a fabulous career and will probably win a few more here and there but along with his tournament record he will leave a legacy of selfishness that supercedes all else. We're all well-acquainted with the generousity toward the media of Palmer and Nicklaus, the fan friendliness of Mickelson and many more but isn't it quite apparent that the great TW is above all that? Sure, he's offered lip service toward wanting to be "a bertter man" and "respecting the game more," but those words were were certainly uttered only at the urging of his PR arm.... desperate to again ingratiate Eldrick into the warm green arms of corporate America.

Woods isn't going to change. He will continue to stonewall the media, brush off fans, explode with epithets and do pretty much what he wants... because That's The Way He Is. While there are millions out there who car not a whit about attitude, his manners, his decorum or his grating personality, I for one, am pretty much ready to see him leave the world's stage. Let him play out the string as a newer, younger and vastly more interesting crop of professionals takes center state.

No, none will be "the next Tiger," but seriously: isn't that a good thing?

Gunnar said...

I love seeing Jack, Arnie and Gary still teeing up the golf ball. Watson, Crenshaw and others will forever hold my interest.

There is an appreciation that a golf fan has for their golf heroes, and embassadors to the sport. Tiger has won a lot of tournaments, including major tournaments. But when Tiger's shotmaking diminishes, I don't want to see him on the golf course any more. He is not an embassador to the sport.

Jason Connor said...

John,

I think you're wrong about Bonds and the Hall of Fame. I'll bet you he makes it. Enough writers will chicken out and say he had a HOF career before he started using.

So Pete Rose played his career and cheated as a manager and isn't in. But Bonds cheated at the end of his career, set two of the most storied records in all of U.S. sports in the process, and WILL make it because not enough BBWAA members will have the guts to keep him out.

John from Indiana said...

Tiger and Barry are a little bit like watching a train wreck... You know it won't be pretty, but damn it is hard to look away.

Telling engaging stories about the Bill Brill's of the world and his kind certainly suits your strengths and my preferences better than hearing more about those two knuckleheads. Illuminating complex, interesting personalities is what I look for in reading JF, not hearing more about people I find worn out and unpleasant.

Mark Stryker, Detroit said...

Points well taken, though I take issue with characterizing "A Guide to the Married Man" as a classic -- only true if you mean it in the sense of period-piece camp. It is a remarkably sexist film, even allowing for the pre-feminist period in which it was made and the moralist ending. This might be excusable if the bits were funnier, but alas, they are not. I'm with Pauline Kael: "A series of dumb skits on how to cheat on your wife. It's hard to know what's more tiresome about this picture: the camera's fixation on bottoms (and on bosoms that look like bottoms), or the this-movie-is-moral-after-all finish, with the common man at the higher income level (Walter Mathau) deciding he loves his wife too much to be unfaithful after all."

Also, this errata: The scene in question is not the Thomas-Mansfield vignette but rather the one with Joey Bishop and Ann Morgan Guilbert (Millie from the "Dick Van Dyke Show") as the screaming wife. Thomas and Manfield are in the scene where the mistress (Mansfield) looses her bra in the husband's bedroom and, sick with worry, he ages 30 years in just a few weeks.

goodman.dl said...

I'd still like to know what makes steroid use so different from all the other types of baseball cheating that are okay.

Whitey Ford was a notorious cheater, but I guess pitchers doctoring the baseball is okay.

Pud Galvin openly used PEDs. He's in the Hall of Fame.

And obviously, amphetamines are okay, right? Didn't Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, and basically everyone in the bigs from the 60s to the 80s use them?

David said...

Apparently your standards are no better now than they were in the Duke case -- still inventing false "facts" like Bonds' head getting bigger.

Mike in MN said...

Impeach the Cox-Sacker, you say. Another great Trickster story, they never get old.

Anonymous said...

So Tiger isn't likable, and JF, yet again, makes it clear how much he doesn't like Tiger. Alert the media! Here's a news flash: All elite athletes in individual sports (all sports, really), are thoroughly self-centered. Any image to the contrary, even for the good guys, is just spin with a compliant media. Anybody who thinks prior golfing greats were faithful in their marriages is a fool, and every single media member knows it (including JF). It's just that they liked the golfers in question, and -- as was true generally for all public figures in sports until Tiger -- didn't think it was the public's business. Maybe we should report on the private lives of famous journalists?

Anonymous said...

Hey, here's a difference between Tiger and Bonds (and Clemons, too): There's zero evidence, and that means zippo, zilch, nada, that Tiger ever once cheated at his sport. Nor have there been any accusations to the contrary, much less credible ones. Oh, and Tiger isn't obviously a criminal.

Salient differences, no?

(It's also worth noting that Tiger is liked and respected by his peers, in a way Phil can't even dream of, while Bonds is universally reviled, even by his teammates.)

John Matthew IV said...

Curious, how do you know that Bonds is universally reviled, even by his teammates?

I have spoken to three of them, hardly a comprehensive survey but the only ones I've met, and they all had only positive things to say about Barry Bonds.

Anonymous said...

Multiple, consistent reports over . . . his entire career that he was a jerk in the Clubhouse, and everyone hated him. So maybe not "universally" reviled. How 'bout "generally" or "widely" reviled?

And if the Bonds partisans are now resting on the proposition that he's actually a good guy, good luck with making that case. It's a laugh. Hell, Bonds doesn't think he's a good guy.

Steve said...

Bond and Woods are both very talented and will leave a legacy, both good and bad. I applaud them as athletes and can't stand them as people. Its bitter sweet as a fan of both sports and having taken my son to see Tiger at Congressional. We want almost a fantasy person when discussing these types. A cordial, diplomatic and smiling talented person who is philanthropic and an every day guy. It doesn't happen too often and we don't always appreciate it!

Anonymous said...

Come on Feinstein, time to step up. You gotta do some of that fancy reporter stuff and find out the poop on Tiger's PED use. Take some of the WP news guys with you, it's not like their busy reporting actual news (get them before a tea partier gets in office - they will be busy writing fiction then). Tiger is a scuz, go get him. It is up to you. Put the bum away.

Anonymous said...

Credit to JF for being a lone wolf who has the guts to consistently calls out Tiger for who he is...an astoundingly shallow, petty, unfaithful, unlikeable, un-admirable person.

Its a pathetic sign of what our society has become that so many actually have reverted to rooting again for Tiger (such as in the Masters final round), despite his track record as a husband, a father, a spokesperson for golf, for certain values and products, etc. Actions speak louder than words...judging by his actions, Tiger has little remorse for his past.

Nicklaus proved that you can win countless majors while still respecting your family, your fans, and the game. Its a shame that Tiger missed the memo on this.

Hustle said...

....Look, you want to go to the Bahamas and have fun—go for it. You want to be a Nike salesman and go halfway around the world—heck, maybe it’s in your contract. But DON’T do those things and then try to tell us how much you miss your kids"...er, yes he can John because it's ACTUALLY possible. Now, you may chose not to believe him since you have your bias against him, but it's entirely possible to fly all around the world and back and miss your kids at the same time. If he wants to go to the Bahamas to unwind, he's free to do so. If he has to go to China to promote for Nike, he can do that as well...heck, he wouldn't be the first to do so and sure as hell won't be the last. He can spend time with his kids when he choses to, not when YOU want him to. Stay away from his personal life, just report on his on the course activities, okay? Can you actually do that? By the way, Simmons wrote a GREAT article on Tiger...you should check it out...http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/110411.
As for Bonds, this was ALWAYS about Bonds, not Balco. If not, can someone PLEASE explain to me why perjury charges were never brought against Gary Sheffield even though he basically told the grand jury the same thing about not knowing what he was taking was HGH???

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=1895380

Anonymous said...

It was rainy and muddy in Orlando the week before the Masters. He was in the Bahamas primarily to practice his golf game.

If Feinstein had any objectivity, he would have mentioned this. Feinstein probably didn't know, didn't care, and didn't bother to find out.