The Rockies finally won a game last night. Jamey Wright did what he needed to do to keep himself in the running for a place in the Rockies future. Wright pitched 7 excellent innings and Shawn Chacon got a clean save: no sweat, no nerves, just coming in and taking care of business.
However the Rockies have been taking flack from the national media. What!? That's right, the Rockies got a mention on ESPN's PTI
today. But it not for anything good (of course). In case you haven't watched or listened to the Rockies games against the Giants, Clint Hurdle has adopted the strategy of intentionally walking Barry Bonds in almost every circumstance. And it has worked. Of the 19 times Bonds was intentionally walked, he only scored on three. But the Rockies have been attacked for not pitching to Barry.
So what is to be made out of this issue? There are two questions to consider here. First, is it worth it to put Barry Bonds on base and second, is it sportsmanly? There is no arguing with the numbers: it is without a doubt effective to put Barry Bonds on base. He is such a dangerous batter that giving him first is called for in a majority of situations.
That means the real question is if walking Barry Bonds is good sportsmanship? My personal belief is similar to the famous Huey Long quote "Don't tax you, don't tax me, tax the guy behind the tree". Simply: It's bad sportsmanship... even when the Rockies do it effectively.
Yes, I know that, to quote Herman Edwards, we play -- to win -- the game. But putting Barry Bonds on base is a violation of everything baseball, and possibly sports in general, is about: competition. Sports is about competition, courage and, most of all, athletic abilities. Walking Bonds cheapens the competition, shows a lack of any courage and takes the athletic ability of both Bonds and the Rox pitcher completely out of the game.
Clint Hurdle: pitch to Barry Bonds
. Please. We're 21 games out of first place and a mile from the wildcard. Losing isn't a huge deal at this point in the season. Keeping the integrity of the game and the honor of the Colorado Rockies intact is more important than potentially giving up a homerun to Barry Bonds. Yes, yes, it's within the rules of the game, but its still cheap. Man up and pitch to Bonds.