Sports

Giants sign Buck O'Neil!

OK, so the late, great Negro League player is actually, well, late. But at this point, Giants fans would hardly be surprised by the move.

So I had five minutes to spare and that thought was bouncing around my head for days - weeks - now. I'm all about the Black & Orange but COME ON, sign someone of value for God's sake. I'm absolutely convinced that I'll wake up in the morning to read my beloved G-Men have given all of us loyalists a wonderful new Christmas gift - Jeff Bagwell.

Enough already. I'm going to watch some TV. But as a Giants fan, I think if we're not given Barry Zito and a five buck deduction on some of those premium beers, a boycott can't be ruled out.

Posted By: Tim Goodman (Email) | December 21 2006 at 09:50 PM

Why I Want To Be Omar Vizquel

Omar Vizquel is a stud.

Baseball purists know this. And so do people who are getting old. I'm not old enough to be jaded about idolizing certain individuals - Elvis Costello, for example. And any kid who grows up loving baseball (or any sport for that matter) wants to be one of those athletes. Why should that change when you're older - even older than the players? Anyway, I digress. But here's my point: I want to be Omar Vizquel. For these reasons in this order:

1) The dude is 39 and is playing like he's 29. Check that - 25. No limping. No whining. No IR. He plays all the time.

2) He runs fast. He's got seven stolen bases. Even better, he's hitting for average, currently at .311 (on a team that goes weeks without hitting anything, he's Mr Consistent).

3) If the ball is hit anywhere near him, he fields it. Simple as that. Reminder: He's 39. No holding his back in pain if one goes through the infield. He's a rock. Check out this bio.

4) Consummate professional. Stand up guy. Gets the job done. He's not going to embarrass the team off the field. He's not going to crash a motorcycle or push a camera away or disregard some kid who wants an autograph. He runs out his groundouts and pop-ups. He respects the game.

5) Wears No. 13.

6) He's on my Fantasy Baseball team.

7) He's on my favorite baseball team.

8) Have I mentioned he's 39? And he's got more good years left in him, no question.

Posted By: Tim Goodman (Email) | June 19 2006 at 03:08 PM

Bonds Goes Boneyard

ESPN and the production company behind "Bonds On Bonds" announced today that they were giving up on the series. Here's the announcement:

"Tollin/Robbins Productions and ESPN have decided not to produce any additional episodes of Bonds on Bonds. The next show was to have focused on a behind-the-scenes look at Barry Bonds hitting his 715th home run."

ESPN's statement: Bonds' representatives wanted creative control for the final episode, which Tollin/Robbins Productions and ESPN have been unwilling to give throughout the project."

Well. Two things here. 1) Couldn't call it unexpected. 2) Maybe Bonds wanted the last word to be, "See, I'm not so bad. And also, I'm totally innocent of everything. Goodnight."

Then again, he pretty much said that in every episode. So something much bigger must have taken place. Like, for instance, people stopped watching. Can't blame them. I love the guy and have him on my Fantasy Baseball team, but damn, that was a long time for those two homers. Nobody likes to wait in this country for anything. I was dutifully blogging each episode until they skipped its airdate once and my TiVo didn't catch it. I looked at that as an opportunity to ease the workload.

Maybe with the cameras out of the clubhouse, my beloved G-Men will concentrate a little harder on getting some hits, putting up some runs. Enough spin, boys. Let's play some ball.

Posted By: Tim Goodman (Email) | June 02 2006 at 03:17 PM

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Giants + A's: Can You Love Them Both?

Anybody in New York or Chicago can tell you that answer without thinking.

That answer: No.

But people in the Bay Area, an open-minded lot, have really gone in for this loyal-to-both-clubs thing. It's our inherent Nor-Cal non-jadedness, perhaps. My thinking on that: Unacceptable.

The One. Period.

The One. Period.

But here we are suffering through interleague play, so the idea is in the air.

This is a story about loyalty, the whims of youth, wiffle ball, voodoo and teaching your kids to hate the Dodgers: Read More »

Posted By: Tim Goodman (Email) | May 19 2006 at 09:24 PM

"Things Will Get Different When I Get To 713": Bonds on Bonds

Tuesday's installment of "Bonds on Bonds" continued a pattern of presenting the odd and/or touching aspects of Bonds' personality that fans may not know about, then got to at least a slice of the real meat we want - what's his mental health like, a comment on friend and trainer Greg Anderson and several glittering repeats of Bonds taking Met's closer Billy Wagner's hottest heat and smoking it into the stands for a dramatic, two-out, bottom of the 9th bit of theatrics last week.

Thankfully, the producers edited out the fact the Giants ended up losing that one.

This series works best when the producers jump immediately into the fray - and there's always some kind of fray with Bonds and the government's pending perjury case. But instead, we had to suffer through some nonsense at the beginning about how, if he wasn't a superhero baseball stud, Barry might actually be a wedding photographer. Honestly, nobody's watching "Bonds on Bonds" to hear him say, "I've always been fascinated with art." They want to hear him say, as he did near the end when addressing his tribulations of late: "Regardless of what happens, I'm going to go out there and try to whip everybody's ass." That's why we watch.

Sure, it's nice to know that Barry's good with the camera. But everybody who owns a camera and can press a button thinks they are good with a camera. It doesn't matter if Vince Coleman, who raved about Barry saving his wedding by shooting hundreds of photos, thinks Barry missed his calling. Nobody really wants to hear that. And anyway, Vince Coleman is, what, 50? - shouldn't he be in uniform for the Giants?

Once past that, the episode picked up nicely. Read More »

Posted By: Tim Goodman (Email) | May 03 2006 at 03:05 PM

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Feed The Machine: Bite Sized Bits, With Nougat

Just because the producers of "Lost" and the people who run ABC (see FAQs for who is responsible and where to vent) have lied to us like we're Montel Williams does not in any way mean there's nothing to watch. I mean, yeah, another dumb "clip show" from "Lost" is annoying because we wanted to break it down, but after finding out that ABC has turned the clue-hunting thing into a GAME, well, call us too cool for school but maybe now we'll temper our excitement for the whole damned thing.

  • Plus there's a new "Survivor" tonight. So I'll break that thing down like a cheap tent later on.

  • Also later (I'm hedging here because, well, just look at the weather), I'm going to spread all kinds of love onto "Saturday Night Live" for this weekend. I know, not normally my thing. But the whole night will be dedicated to "The Best of Saturday TV Funhouse," one of my most beloved TV skits/series ever. Robert Smigel - misunderstood visionary.

    American Genius

    American Genius

    During my annual TV Hootennany at the Parkway Speakeasy Theater - one of the coolest places in the Bay Area - I once showed "TV Funhouse" to a partly adoring, partly horrified and very select group of people. You know, when you can educate people and enlighten them at the same time you're eating pizza and quaffing beer, then you've done something great for humankind.

    Anyway, you'll want to TiVo that on Saturday night.

  • Plus, Stephen Colbert is going to be on "60 Minutes" this Sunday. Here's what I love about Colbert: Read More »

    Posted By: Tim Goodman (Email) | April 27 2006 at 10:12 AM

  • "In Your Face. It's Not Over." Bonds on Bonds. Ep: 4

    It was an interesting day for this episode to air. The morning papers had news of a poll that showed two-thirds of those asked had negative or mixed feelings about Barry Bonds. (Why that's breaking news is anyone's guess.) Later in the evening The Chronicle would post a story on www.sfgate.com that Greg Anderson, Bonds former personal trainer, was being called before the grand jury investigating whether Bonds commited perjury. In the middle of all that, Bonds hit a home run - No. 710 - in The House That Barry Built.

    So in a span of not many hours, Bonds' status among fans was reiterated pointlessly for the millionth time, the legal noose got tighter and he did what he does best, creeping ever closer to Babe Ruth's homer total.

    But it's that last point that's interesting, and not for all the reasons we would normally expect. When the hype machine began creaking awake and creating interest in the Babe's total - and beyond - the point at the time was that when Bonds got there it would be a big deal. A bigger deal would be Hank Aaron's homer record, but both were going to be duly noted with as much fanfare as possible, from the media, from the Giants and from a probably reluctant MLB.

    And yet, nobody seems to care much about the homers anymore, or what they mean, Bonds in particular. Has there ever been a more deflated, tepid march to history? The real race now seems to be how soon the government can get its guns lined up and how soon 715 will come and go. Before an indictment? Before an injury? Before everyone, including Barry, can be bothered to rise for it? Who would have guessed that watching a second baseball player catch The Babe could be so utterly boring. Read More »

    Posted By: Tim Goodman (Email) | April 25 2006 at 10:32 PM

    "They Ain't Gonna Break Me" - Bonds on Bonds: Ep. 3

    People who hate Barry Bonds can hate this series all they want, but they can't say it's ducking the issue du jour. People in the know have said time and again that Bonds won't talk about steroids because there's a perjury problem at hand. Well, last week when it became clear that the government was heading in that direction, nobody needed to tell the ignorant why he wasn't talking.

    But the real issue for the television series "Bonds on Bonds" was how it would handle the Big Deal when Tuesday - air date of his weekly show - rolled around. Head on, it appears. Continuing it's theme of effortlessly weaving radio commentary and interviews from media observers into the Bonds story, Ep. 3 opened with Gary Radnich on KNBR talking about the perjury charges, then the camera poured over the headlines. At first, it seemed there would be no revelations - of a personal nature - from Bonds, because the series re-aired a snippet from Ep. 1 where Bonds says, "If you're not guilty of anything, why are you being charged? That's not the American way."

    Well, for starters, Bonds hasn't been charged with anything. It's just his persecution complex kicking in. But in light of the recent developments there's no mistaking that the government is going to make a case, or try to, on perjury charges. It's one of those Teach A Lesson moments of big time politics and THAT is very much the American way. If you don't believe it, go ask Martha Stewart.

    "Bonds on Bonds" got considerably better soon after because it needed to ask Barry about the investigation and to monitor the toll - that's essentially why he agreed to do the series. To get his side of the story out, "unfiltered" as it were. Read More »

    Posted By: Tim Goodman (Email) | April 18 2006 at 04:49 PM

    "Take Me Out To The Ballgame"

    Giants win, Giants win! There's nothing like catching a day game when the sun is out and the wind is down (and the rain is back in Seattle or wherever the hell it belongs). I blame My Life As A Blog for getting me there late, but I caught five innings and wasn't too let down by BART/Muni in the process. Nice to see Matt Morris win his home debut and even though Barry didn't put one in McCovey Cove, he cracked one hard into the wall. Sun: Hot. Giants: Hot. Rain: Gone. Gotta love that.

    Now here's the random part. I ran into Giants exec Larry Baer on the way out and we had a quick chat. He must have been surprised to find a member of the media putting money in the Giants coffer. A shirt ("Gigantes de San Francisco" of course) and a half-off jersey. IF I was a better dad, I'd probably have something for the kids, but no. "Are you here as a civilian?" he asked. Yep. Haven't had any tickets from the Chronicle in way, way too long. Note to self: Try to negotiate that instead of working for free on the blog. So I helped the cause with a ticket and some merch. I should have had a word with him about the SIX DOLLAR Diet Coke I had, however. Anyway, as we joked that I may be the only TV critic on the planet who liked "Bonds on Bonds" (truth is, most everybody else wasn't a real TV critic and, besides, I'm used to being alone when I'm right), look who brushed by: Fred Golding, one of the producers of the show. What are the odds that he'd find a TV critic who loves "Bonds on Bonds" on a random afternoon day game?

    Apparently he'd even read the blog about Ep. 2. And yep, I'm going to recap each episode every Tuesday. Just a little worried, as a fan and a guy who's got Bonds on his Fantasy Baseball team, that all those predictions from other MLB players on last week's show that Bonds will surpass Babe Ruth's homer tally THIS MONTH may not come true. Barry needs to get hot in a hurry.

    Posted By: Tim Goodman (Email) | April 13 2006 at 04:51 PM

    Everything We Know We Learned From Television. So don't lie to me like I'm Montel Williams.

    mugshotTim Goodman is the Television Critic for the San Francisco Chronicle. In addition to criticism, he covers the industry and writes trend and analysis pieces, mostly about failure. Bio | tgoodman@sfgate.com

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