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Barry, Barry, Barry. What to
2002-09-18 11:35
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Barry, Barry, Barry. What to do about Barry - that's the big question these days. (That, and will the Dodgers have any starting pitching remaining by the end of the season?)

I don't think you can adopt a universal rule for whether you pitch to Barry Bonds or not. I do agree that when in doubt, you should probably walk him. But before you decide to walk him at any moment the game is in doubt, even with the bases empty or the bases full, you have to consider the hidden cost of walking him intentionally. Not only does it obviously insure an extra runner on base that can now score on a double, but it also insures that Barry will keep coming up sooner and sooner. Also, it does seem to be hard for pitchers to settle down and execute their pitches to the next hitter after throwing Barry four wide ones.

But he is just something. He has come as close to simply mastering the game of baseball as any hitter I've ever seen. Seeing him at the plate is like watching Calvin Murphy at the free-throw line - it just looks automatic. Believe what you want about steroids and the like, but there is no accounting for how well he sees the ball and times his swing other than pure greatness.

He's still overrated as an defensive player, though!

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