Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Batter Up Published Saturday Feb. 28th in the ANG Newspapers

Batter up Feb. 28th

You will hear the word “knowingly” all the time as the BALCO case unfolds. The interested parties are choosing their words very carefully lately, saying they never “knowingly” took or distributed illegal substances. What’s up with all these sophisticated trainers and athletes, didn’t anyone ask any questions when the expensive designer supplements were given out. Were blindfolds handed out too?

Click below for my column…MartyWe will never know for sure, if Barry Bonds took performance enhancing drugs during his 73 homer season. That is, unless Bonds admits it or someone finds a forgotten drug test from 2001.

Turk Wendell thinks Bonds took steroids. Funny accusation coming from a guy who wears a necklace made from bones, brushes his teeth with licorice between innings, and hops over the foul line for good measure every time he pitches. Talk about credibility, Wendell is on the bottom of the food chain?

As far as the offers by the well known sluggers to take drug tests today, big deal, how about answering the question about whether or not they took “supplements” two years ago for openers?

Houston manager Jimy Williams, goes to the bullpen too often. He burns relievers out. He may get lucky in 2004 with second year pitcher Jeriome Robertson, who lost his spot in the rotation to Andy Pettitte. Robertson will be the Astros lefty out of the pen. The kid can pitch and will be fine unless Williams burns him out in September too.

Righty Brad Lidge, who disappeared during the Astros stretch run from overwork now sets up new closer Octavio Dotel. As these two go, so go the Astros, no matter what Roger Clemens and Pettitte do.

Things aren’t all bad for Lou Piniella and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The best looking young hitter in the Arizona Fall League this past November was Tampa’s first round draft pick in 2003 Delmon Young, the brother of Tiger slugger Dimitri Young. The 18 year old reminds the scouts of a young Albert Belle, except his head is on straight.

The test will come early for A’s closer Arthur Rhodes when he is asked to work his way through the Angel’s righthanded power. Vladimir Guerrero, Tim Salmon, and Troy Glaus will pose a huge challenge the first time Rhodes sees them in a save situation.

Somehow, I see righty Chad Bradford in the ninth inning mix before too long.

AJ Pierzinski didn’t do himself any favors by winning his arbitration case. If he has any sort of success this year, his salary heads into the 5 mil range in 2005 and a sure ticket out of Dodge.

Maybe that’s why the Giants won’t part with Yorvit Torrealba. The Cubs would love to have Torrealba and would give up starting pitcher Juan Cruz in a second, if they could get the Giants backup.

Two Alameda kids in the spotlight: Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins who hopes to revert back to his all star form and Dontrelle Willis who was the key last May when the Marlins started their climb back into the playoff race. Rollins actually enjoys playing for the Phillies unpredictable manager Larry Bowa. For that alone he gets my all star vote.

Rich Harden is the sleeper on this year’s A’s pitching staff. Harden has filled out which is scary because the kid already has a big league arm. All Harden needs is consistency to go along with his 97 mph fastball, then folks watch out.

Marty Lurie hosts “Right Off The Bat” and “Memories of the Game” on KFRC before A’s games. His website is and his e-mail is


1 Anonymous { 02.29.04 at 11:22 am }

I agree that we will probably never know the true story about BALCO and Barry. Barry’s good friend Anderson is not going to admit that he gave anything illegal to Barry either knowingly or not. ( What kind of friend would sneak this by his supposed friend? Not a friend I would want). Barry will not admit he ever took anything, and no one can prove otherwise. He can offer to take a drug test on a daily basis now, but that will never answer the questions about “before now”. The lawyers making ludicrous statements that Barry took nothing are just so very ridiculous. Makes one even more suspicious about why this is necessary.

Is Barry guilty by association? Yes, in many people’s eyes. He can never make believers of everyone and his baseball achievements will be forever tainted for many. If he is innocent, he can never prove it. Perhaps he should have been more careful about the company he keeps.

2 Dave { 02.29.04 at 6:53 pm }

It seems like all Turk Wendell did was start a new level of accusations of steroid use. Wendell’s comments confirmed what many fans and columnists believe: Bonds’ addition of 20 or so pounds two offseasons ago at age 37-38 probably wasn’t completely natural. Wendell’s credibility or wackiness doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s right, or even of high intelligence, but there’s just a new chapter in the BALCO/steroids book now.
Gary Sheffield is all for taking a drug test, John Smoltz wants tougher drug testing for all of baseball, and it doesn’t matter one bit. The players can say whatever they want, but they’ll always have Gene Orza and the player’s association to fall back on. When the CBA expires in 2006, will the #1 issue be steroid testing and punishment for a positive test, contraction, or minimum player salaries? I bet it’ll be the first one.

3 Anonymous { 02.29.04 at 7:27 pm }

I think you have to pretty naive to believe Bonds has not taken any performance enhancing drugs, but we will never know.
Speculations of his steroid use was already out there the last two years, but now you find out his PERSONAL trainer distributes steroids to major league players. Give me a break “test me Everyday” Barry.

4 marty { 02.29.04 at 9:12 pm }

The lawyers must realize that there are no tests waiting in the wings which would destroy Barry Bonds’s credibility. Otherwise, he is missing the boat on his denials. I agree it is naive to think that Greg Anderson didn’t have Bonds on some sort of enhancement program. Does it matter if he took steroids or the human growth hormone? Either one taints his records to some degree, but I will tell you this, I saw him hit so many homers after just getting one pitch to hit, that in my book he is still an incredible hitter no matter what he took.
I agree with Dave that this issue will be dealt with differently in 2006.
Now, if the little guys go back to being little guys and the home run hitters hit 40 instead of 50 or 60, we will see a return to fundamental baseball, you know those days of bunting a runner along or hitting behind a runner to create a run? Or perhaps a stolen base or two?
I’ll get a much better read on baseball during the next few weeks as spring training gets underway.

5 marty { 03.02.04 at 12:00 am }

Sounds like the Cubs are concerned about the injury to Mark Prior. Did he pitch to many innings last season? Also, Kent Mercker and Mike Remlinger are slow coming around. Good thing it is only March first. You can never underestimate injuries.

6 Anonymous { 03.02.04 at 1:44 pm }

Denny Neagle also backed up what Turk Wendell said. To me, Wendell’s eccentricities doesn’t hurt his credibility. So, the guy marches to his own drum. All the better to lift the top off something that was brewing in baseball that nobody else wanted to talk about. I admired his candour and agreed with him. In contrast, I have found Bonds’s statements in the past week to be at best cautious, at worst, arrogant. The name calling of Wendell and complaining that other pitchers brushing him back weren’t giving him respect from a player who with his padding takes up a great deal of the plate makes me wonder further about Bonds and his view of reality.

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