A’s bigger than Crisp or any other one player A’s bigger than Crisp or any other one player

Bay Area Buzz 3/10: Coco Crisp, Barry Bonds, Giants-Dodgers


A’s bigger than Crisp or any other one player

"With all due respect to the myriad talents and myths associated with Coco Crisp, if the hot adage being tossed around in many A’s circles is true, Oakland’s chances of winning a third consecutive American League West title are equal to the chances of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West lasting longer in holy matrimony than Rush’s 2112.Here’s the adage: As Coco goes, so go the A’s.Here’s what’s wrong with it: Pretty much everything.First and foremost, the adage is an insult to the rest of the roster, to manager Bob Melvin and his coaching staff, and to Billy Beane and his army of genius sweaters with zip-up collars.It’s a very nice compliment to Covelli, of course, and it pays a somewhat appropriate level of homage to his considerable influence on the field and in the clubhouse. He’s a sparkplug in several ways, no question about it.But sparkplugs are fairly easily replaceable, and if you’ve got a sweet ride to begin with, it’ll hum right along without the original plugs. If you’ve got a beater, on the other hand, even top-shelf sparkplugs aren’t going to keep you on the road to glory for long.This isn’t to say Crisp is easily replaceable. He’s a special player, capable of taking over a game in a number of ways. He is not, however, capable of carrying a team for a month. And that takes us back to why the “As Coco goes …” adage is an insult.The A’s don’t need anyone to carry them. They have depth, versatility and legitimate talent across the board. Not mind-blowing talent, mind you. (OK, Yoenis Cespedes is a mind-blowing talent.) But there’s a lot of just-short-of-superstar talent among the young core of the team, and what is Coco? He’s an older version of those guys, a just-short-of-superstar talent."

–Mychael Urban, San Francisco Examiner

No need to exile Barry Bonds from baseball

"Day one in the next chapter of the Barry Bonds saga begins Monday. And even in retirement, the legendary slugger is still a polarizing figure. This time, it’s less Bonds and more the refusal of baseball fans to get over it.Bonds begins his weeklong stint as a guest hitting coach for the Giants’ spring training. Somehow, that is unacceptable. Somehow, a convicted felon and baseball cheat has no right.Relax.Put down your stones and bricks. Fold up your picket signs. Temper your outrage. It’s better used on real matters … such as Lew Wolff’s temporary stadium.Bonds doesn’t deserve exile from baseball. The sport isn’t moral enough to exclude him. Nor are his crimes, per baseball’s standards, grave enough to deem him too unworthy.What’s more, it’s not like he’s going to be a front-office executive. Or hitting coach for the big club. Or the manager of the Triple-A squad. He’s going to practice to impart some tips. If he can’t do that, then baseball should be officially registered as a religion.Bonds was tried, convicted and sentenced. The system we are in has rendered its judgment. Anything else is outside the scope of justice.Let’s review. In 2011, baseball’s home run king Barry Bonds was sentenced to 30 days of house arrest, community service and two years’ probation. This was his punishment for being convicted of obstruction of justice.In 2013, his first year on the Hall of Fame ballot, he received a mere 36.2 percent of the votes. A resounding admonishment for using performance-enhancing belief. And if that weren’t resounding enough, in 2014, he received 34.7 percent.He has unsuccessfully appealed the felony conviction, as was his right. If he also wants to appeal the verdict levied by public opinion, that’s his right, too.So what if this is a PR stunt to rebuild his tarnished name. So what if the end game is getting into the Hall of Fame.What do people want him to do, give up on his Cooperstown dreams? Is the expectation for him to be resigned to his fate as villain and hide out in the blind spot of public eye? That’s not your call to make.And if that’s what bothers you, blame the Giants for giving him the platform to begin renovating his reputation.He is well within his rights to exist how he pleased within the confines of the law. And no doubt it bothers many he didn’t grovel at the feet of baseball’s national jury. He hasn’t shown the kind of remorse and humility that makes us forget past sins. He doesn’t have to. That’s his choice. The price for that he will have to pay.But that price isn’t baseball banishment. As if he hasn’t been punished enough.And guess what, this may just be the first step. He may end up coaching. He may end up working in some capacity in the league he once tainted.He could one day be manager of the Giants. Gasp!Relax.Bonds has every right to seek out, create and accept every opportunity. If there is a demand for him, he is free to supply it. If he wants to offer his service and someone accepts, more power to him."

–Marcus Thompson II, San Jose Mercury News

Giants-L.A. rivalry adds jolt of energy in Arizona

"Sunday was still spring training, a not-so-serious exercise that required binoculars to figure out who was pinch-running, an incomprehensible jumble of a scorecard by game’s end and an early exit plan for something cool and refreshing.But Sunday was also Giants-Dodgers, for the first time this spring. The opening salvo in what, at least the Giants expect, will be a seasonlong battle for NL West supremacy. So there was an added energy among the sold-out crowd, a mixture of blue and orange, and a little extra adrenaline for the players.Clayton Kershaw, the Giants’ main nemesis, was on the mound at Camelback Ranch. He was coming off two less-than-impressive outings and, after the A’s had roughed him up last week, had expressed some frustration. But he worked five innings and looked sharper.“I felt better,” said the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner. “It’s no fun to not pitch well, no matter whether it’s spring training or regular season.”Kershaw is a Giants killer. Over his seven-year career, he has an 11-5 record with a 1.38 ERA in 22 appearances against the Giants.On Sunday, the Giants had most of their starters in Glendale, a long trek from Scottsdale Stadium, where a split-squad Giants team played against “Futures.” Bruce Bochy and his staff came along with the big boys to Glendale, though Bochy said it didn’t have anything to do with giving his first-team players a long look at Kershaw.There was a classic spring training moment at the start of the game: a press box announcement that Pablo Sandoval had forgotten his jersey and would be wearing No. 97. Someone made a snide crack that whatever minor-leaguer had to give up 97 had to be a hefty guy. That person has not been paying close attention. Sandoval is truly as slim and fit as previously advertised.His own jersey has had to shrink a size or two. And he was able to don it, thanks to an assist from CSN Bay Area Giants beat writer Andrew Baggarly, who brought No. 48 to Glendale, delivering it early in the top of the first. Baggarly circumvented a terrible traffic jam and said his plan, if pulled over, was to produce the jersey of the 2012 World Series MVP as an excuse.A word about the traffic and the location of the Dodgers’ spring compound: ridiculous. The Dodgers left legendary Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Fla., and, though it’s been five years, it still seems strange to see Dodgers fans in Arizona in March. The new complex is pretty, but it’s a 30-minute drive from Scottsdale, and count on another 30 minutes crawling up the lone road to the parking lots. The stadium has been tagged Melanoma Stadium by some because it puts fans directly in the sun all day. Legend has it the McCourts didn’t want to flip the stadium to make it more comfortable because they wanted a view of the mountains to the south. This is definitely one area in which the Giants exceed their rival."

–Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle