Russ Springer left to a standing ovation after hitting Barry Bonds with a pitch last night (and being ejected), creating much speculation in the media over why he would do such a thing to a nice guy like Barry Bonds. After all, Bonds is single handedly responsible for saving baseball from the threat of steroids, right? After the McGwire/Sosa home run race, Bonds recognized the problem - MLB couldn't or wouldn't go after steroid users as long as they were likeable players who were bringing more fans to the game. MLB needed someone slightly less likeable to put the issue on the front page and get the fans behind banning steroids, and Bonds knew he was that guy. He knew he could menace the records baseball fans held so dear, and make it clear how much of a problem these unpoliced illegal substances could be. And, since he was always pretty sure everyone was out to get him anyway, he knew he'd start the steroid backlash. He took it upon himself to give MLB a reason to start steroid testing programs, and also went undercover to blow the lid off BALCO. He knew that there would never be any investigative journalists looking into something only Olympic athletes were using - but once he got involved, the press was sure to uncover it. He was willing to put his own reputation and standing in history on the line to clean up what was going on with steroid use... what a guy. At least I think that's what happened. I can only assume that must be why, given all the positive publicity he still gets.
But getting back to Springer, some say he was just trying to pitch inside, and some say he's got something against Bonds, but isn't it possible he was just trying to elevate Houston back to a tie with the Cubs and Padres for most times hitting Barry Bonds with a pitch (10)? And knowing Bonds was taking the last game of the series off, isn't it possible that Springer thought he might not face Bonds again and that was his last chance to join Kerry Wood (CHN), Randy Johnson (ARI), Andy Benes (SDN), Steve Avery (ATL), Danny Darwin (HOU), Shawn Estes (NYN,SDN), Mike Hampton (HOU,COL), Steve Kline (MON), Jake Peavy (SDN) and Odalis Perez (LAN) as the only pitchers who have hit Bonds with a pitch more than once? He may even have had thoughts of joining Kerry Wood as the only pitchers to hit Bonds twice in one game, and three times in a career. Well, I'm just saying it's possible.
20 of the 85 pitchers who have hit Barry Bonds with a pitch have also plunked Craig Biggio. 12 of Bonds 97 career hbps have occurred on the same day Biggio was plunked (Biggio was hit twice on one of the 12 dates), and they have been hit in the same game twice - on 5/19/93 and 4/26/97.
Here's the list of the other 74 pitchers who have drilled Barry Bonds:
Juan Agosto (STN), Andy Ashby (ATL), Mike Bacsik (NYN), Jason Bere (CHN), Ricky Bottalico (PHI), Kent Bottenfield (MON), Jim Bullinger (CHN), Mike Bynum (SDN), Roger Clemens (NYA), Rheal Cormier (PHI), Elmer Dessens (CIN), Scott Downs (CHN), Brandon Duckworth (PHI), Sid Fernandez (NYN), Keith Foulke (OAK), John Frascatore (STN), Brian Fuentes (COL), Eric Gagne (LAN), Tom Glavine (ATL), Dwight Gooden (NYN), Tim Hamulack (LAN), Pete Harnisch (HOU), Felix Heredia (CHN), Gil Heredia (MON), Xavier Hernandez (TEX), Eric Hillman (NYN), Guy Hoffman (CHN), Chris Holt (HOU), Edwin Jackson (LAN), Jimmy Jones (HOU), Scott Karl (MIL), Ray King (STN), Tim Leary (LAN), Charlie Leibrandt (ATL), Esteban Loaiza (PIT), Greg McCarthy (SEA), Trever Miller (TBA), Jamie Moyer (SEA), Mark Mulder (OAK), Bobby Munoz (PHI), Jaime Navarro (CHN), Hideo Nomo (LAN), Takahito Nomura (MIL), Jose Antonio Nunez (SDN), Bob Ojeda (NYN), Darren Oliver (TEX), Antonio Osuna (LAN), Chan Ho Park (LAN), Ross Powell (PIT), Mark Prior (CHN), Bill Pulsipher (NYN), Shane Rawley (PHI), Dennys Reyes (CIN), Shane Reynolds (HOU), Wally Ritchie (PHI), Ben Rivera (ATL), Joe Roa (SDN), Mel Rojas (MON), Dan Schatzeder (HOU), Curt Schilling (ARI), Aaron Sele (TEX), Tim Sherrill (STN), Garrett Stephenson (STN), Bill Swift (SEA), Jeff Tabaka (PIT), Tom Urbani (STN), Javier Vazquez (MON), Ron Villone (COL), Frank Viola (NYN), John Wetteland (MON), Mitch Williams (PHI), Jay Witasick (SDN), Randy Wolf (PHI), Jaret Wright (SDN)