Tag:Sean Penn
Posted on: April 19, 2011 7:55 pm
Edited on: April 20, 2011 8:03 pm

Love Letters: The Bonds* trial edition

The jury delivered its verdict on Barry Bonds* last week, then I rendered judgment on the both Bonds* and the jury. And now, the stage is yours. ...

FROM: Gary K.

Since you [know] nothing about baseball, you should not have a vote for the Hall of Fame anyway. If Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth belong in the Hall of Fame, then so does Barry Bonds. I suppose the Babe didn't take a drink during Prohibition or Ty Cobb was a person that we would want our children to learn their morals from. You, my friend, are an idiot!

You're the one grouping a convicted felon who dragged the game through the mud with two guys who respected the game and were never convicted. And I'm the idiot?

FROM: HSC Shooter

I totally agree with Scott. Bonds will have to wait a very long time before anyone feels he's worthy of the HOF. You let Bonds in and that opens a lot of doors. You have to let Pete Rose in, as well as Shoeless Joe Jackson. These two individuals have the numbers and, last time I checked, betting doesn't increase power numbers or cap size, or shrink testicles. Bonds knew he couldn't get the numbers without a little help. Manny knew it and a whole bunch of others yet to be caught. Baseball has a very serious problem. As does the NFL.

Thank you for mentioning the NFL. Because if people think football players grow to those dimensions naturally, then I've got mansion belonging to Barry Bonds that I'd like to sell you.

FROM: Slappman

If Bonds does not get your vote for the HOF, then you should lose your status as a voter. You holier than thou writers are a joke. If Bonds doesn't get in, then take out Ty Cobb and anyone who used amphetamines in the '60s and '70s.

That wasn't on my watch. This is. The record book has never changed so quickly as when players changed so grotesquely. If having standards makes me holier than thou, then come find me in church, big man.

FROM: Vince

Then YOU SIR should not have a vote. In a game that it is CLEAR that many players were using ... for you to say you will not vote for a guy who HAD the numbers is absurd. I guess A-Rod does not get in either? You must be MAD!

Last I checked, A-Rod is an admitted HGH user. So he's out, too. So many marquee players from this generation --  not all -- should be ashamed.

FROM: John B.

Excellent essay, Mr. Miller. It seems we have a bit in common. My twin sister has been a Crown Prosecuting Attorney for about 30 years now. Has turned downed an offer of Judgeship feeling it would be too disruptive to her family, yet has given seminars and courses to many a judge on many an occasion. Your essay rang true and clear to me, although my sister would never say it, and I think you know where this verdict ultimately came from. Thanks for scratching the surface. A loyal reader.

Not only is my sister a lawyer, but she's hell on wheels in the kitchen -- steaks, pasta, cookies, you name it. I need to go visit her more often.

FROM: Twan

How can you not vote Barry in? He did not break any MLB rules. Your vote should be about a player who played the game, and not about your personal feelings toward the man. You need to keep your feelings out of it and just look at what he has done as a player within the rules he was given to play with.

I give you credit for a level-headed response. Thanks for that. A couple of things: My personal feelings toward Bonds are not negative. I've interviewed him several times, and he's almost always been cool to me. This is purely professional. And in that regard, the directive from the Hall of Fame pertaining to voting is that "voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contribution(s) to the team(s) on which the player played." For me, Bonds fails badly in "integrity, sportsmanship and character."

FROM: Andrew

If Bonds doesn't get your vote, then no one should. It is apparent that the media, including you especially, myopically view the period from approximately 1997 on as the steroid era. However, we know Olympic athletes were using them in the '60s and some ex-MLB players have been reported to have admitted to having tried them pre-1980. Therefore, everyone after 1960 should be deemed suspect. Your choice to exclude Bonds would appear to be based more on your dislike of him as a person, than any form of logical, reasoned judgment regarding HOF credentials. What are your qualifications to determine which of the thousands of players knowingly took steroids and which didn't, when our federal justice system was unable to divine that in the Bonds case? If you are going to vote based on who you like and dislike, disregarding baseball credentials, please turn in your voting credentials.

Make sure to read my answer to the note just above yours.

FROM: Oldnassau'67

About the cosmic unimportance of Barry Bonds, you are quite correct. Afghanistan, Iraq, the whole Middle East, budget, economy, national deficit, health care, immigration, jobs...... the list of infinitely more significant issues that the feds must deal with is endless.

And now we've got sleeping air traffic controllers on top of everything else.

FROM: Christopher B.

You over-value public sentiment. The public is spoon fed how to think, and you hold the spoon. That you vilify Bonds is not surprising. You are grand-fathered in. Perfect. Spotless. You may wear your underpants up to your neckline however, and should try loosening up some. This is what I think of you. There but for the grace of God go I.

"There but for the grace of God go I"? That works when it comes to natural disasters. Not here. We all have choices to make, and Bonds made his. And leave my underwear out of it.

FROM: Stan A.

What a bunch of worthless BS this was. So, how much was spent on this trial ... to get to the conclusion that obstruction occurred with NO lying. If a person is a celebrity, politican or of the elite super-rich class, you can get away with almost anything -- for a price. That's what our Justice system is based on, who can pay and who has to serve. Geez what a joke this trial was. Hopefully, any HOF voters with gonads will say NYET to any of the steroid superstars.

Amen, brother, amen.

FROM: Larry Y.

The real problem with steroids and baseball was not Barry Bonds. The real problem was Donald Fehr and the players union. Add Bud Selig and the owners to that list. Imagine if the NFL players union had blocked testing for steroids and Roger Goodell and the owners were OK with it. ... The poster boy for the steroid era should not be Barry Bonds. It should be Donald Fehr and it should be Bud Selig.

There's lots of guilt to go around, my friend.

Likes: If you can't get enough of the Giants' World Series title last year, make sure to check out Andrew Baggarly's book, A Band of Misfits. Andy knows the Giants as well as anyone and he worked his tail off on this book over the winter. You can check it out here. ... Fair Game, the film version of former CIA operative Valerie Plame having her identity leaked by the government when her husband wrote an op-ed piece criticizing the Iraq war for the New York Times. Not a great film, but pretty good. And Sean Penn is always excellent. ... Nicolas Cage arrested in New Orleans for publicly arguing with his wife in the street in front of a house he said they were renting ... and she said they weren't. Now that's entertainment. Great actor, messed up dude. ... Jason Isbell's new disc, Here We Rest, is really good. Many terrific tracks, none better than Codeine.

Dislikes: The Switch isn't even worth a look on DVD. Poor Jennifer Aniston. She seems like such an attractive and nice gal, but she's made awful choices in some of her film roles and men.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"If there's one thing I can't stand
"It's this bar and this cover band
"Trying to fake their way through 'Castles Made of Sand'
"Well that's one thing I can't stand
"If there's one thing I can't take
"It's the sound that a woman makes
"About five seconds after her heart begins to break
"That's one thing I can't take"

-- Jason Isbell, Codeine


Posted on: February 20, 2009 10:42 pm

Where have you gone, Dontrelle Willis?

LAKELAND, Fla. -- New spring, new start for Dontrelle Willis, the former Florida Marlins ace who has been covered in rust since landing in Detroit last season.

"Every year, I feel like I have to win a job," Willis says, referring to both his golden years in Florida and his current, slump-ridden stretch. "There's no different mentality."

There is a different vibe, however. The Willis who was selected as National League Rookie of the Year in 2003, named to two NL All-Star teams and once was one of the game's most dominant and effervescent pitchers, is gone.

In his place is an older (27) model who is attempting to keep his career from slipping away. Willis appeared in only eight games during his first season in Detroit in 2008, starting seven, and going 0-2 with a 9.38 ERA. Most baffling was his 35 walks against only 18 strikeouts in just 24 innings.

New Tigers pitching coach Rick Knapp is watching a determined Willis who has tweaked his mechanics on the advice of the club's minor-league coaches who worked with Willis in the midst of his control problems last year.

"The stuff the guys in the minor leagues worked with him on really took," Knapp says.

While Willis' delivery remains unorthodox, his current version is simplified. He doesn't twist away from the plate quite as dramatically as he once did -- "he's not as violent with his head," Knapp says -- and his leg kick is a little more deliberate and not quite as high.

"He still has his personality," Knapp says, adding that he is relieved with that.

"As a teacher, sometimes the more you get in guys' heads where his mechanics are concerned, the more chance you have to lose him," Knapp says.

So Knapp is attempting to take it slow with Willis and sprinkle in timely suggestions.

So far, it's been a good first impression on Willis.

"He's explained a lot of things, like about us playing catch properly," Willis says. "Things I had never heard before about things that are like second nature to me."

The theory being, of course, is that if you play catch properly, the odds of developing bad habits lessen. Proper arm angle, proper footwork ... it all goes hand in hand, so to speak.

Willis, who has been one of the game's hardest workers since breaking into the majors in 2003, arrived in Lakeland on Jan. 2 to begin preparing for 2009.

"He had some goals in mind, delivery-oriented, that he wanted to achieve," Knapp says. "He's looked pretty good."

Next step: When the Grapefruit League season begins on Wednesday. Baby steps for now. Willis is no longer the sure thing he once was. But it's spring, and at this time of year, there's always hope.


All set for the Oscars on Sunday night? I think I'm the only guy in America who did not like Slumdog Millionaire. Bet it wins best picture anyway, but I thought it was extremely overrated.

Based purely on personal enjoyment -- not technical filmmaking, scripts or anything else -- here's how I see the five pictures up for Best Picture this year:

1. Frost/Nixon. Frank Langella is captivating as Nixon.

2. The Reader. Kate Winslet is so good.

3. Milk. Sean Penn should win Best Actor over Mickey Rourke. Rourke (The Wrestler) was really, really good. But part of it was, and this isn't to diminish Rourke, he was playing himself. Penn was acting the whole way. And while everyone is talking about Penn and Rourke, Langella deserves a big mention here.

4. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Too long and not balanced enough. Too much time spent on Button as a young man in an old man's body, and not nearly enough on him as an old man in a young man's body. I thought the latter was when it really started to get interesting, and that only came in the final 45 or so minutes of a movie that lasted for nearly three hours.

5. Slumdog Millionaire. The uplifting ending? The Bollywood dance during the credits? Give me a break.

Likes: Toronto center fielder Travis Snider, one good-looking rookie prospect. ... That the media relations director of the Toronto Blue Jays is named Jay. Jay Stenhouse. How perfect is that? But I am glad that Detroit doesn't have a media relations director named Tiger. Tiger Britten instead of Brian? Nah. ... Pitchers throwing live batting practice. After the first couple days of spring, camps begin to get a little boring. Then, when the position players begin to arrive, the pitchers begin to throw to them, and that really puts some juice in camp. Detroit slugger Miguel Cabrera batted against Justin Verlander the other day -- I wasn't in Lakeland then, but I would have loved to have seen that one. ... The large dinosaur statues off of Interstate 4 next to the billboard that reads, "You're leaving Dinosaur World." Kitschy. ... Lemon Grass Thai Kitchen on West Kennedy Blvd. in Tampa. ... The Huevos a la Mexicana at Tapatio's in Lakeland.

Dislikes: You mean that steroid Alex Rodriguez said his cousin got over-the-counter in the Dominican Republic wasn't available by prescription, even in the D.R.? Shocking.

Sunblock Day: Cold. I mean, like 40-some degrees cold at 7 this morning. Nice, bright sun, and I know some Tigers-related folks spoke with family back home in Michigan and it was only 15 or so and snowing. That quieted the weather-related complaining in Florida very quickly.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"It was 1989, my thoughts were short my hair was long
"Caught somewhere between a boy and man
"She was seventeen and she was far from in-between
"It was summertime in Northern Michigan"

-- Kid Rock, All Summer Long

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com