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Game 101 Open Thread- Yankees (55-46) at Royals (43-57)

If the first three games of this series all went over three hours (with one 4:02 game), then how long is Kei Igawa (2-2, 6.67 ERA) versus Jekyll de la Hyde (7-10, 5.61 ERA) gonna take?

Igawa comes in on the heels of two borderline respectable starts, allowing three and two earned runs against the Blue Jays and D-Rays, respectively. Of course, he only lasted five innings each time, and allowed double-digit baserunners in the process, which likely spared us of an "Igawa sneaking up on Dice-K" topic box on ESPN. In three June starts, Igawa is an Odie-esque, 0-0 with a 6.00 ERA. Actually, thats an insult to Odie, who's better than that.

The Royals counter with Rosey, who, you have doubtlessly heard, has the unique opportunity to surrender Arod's 500th and 400th homers. For a guy who has only pitched 258 career innings -- all outside Rodriguez's division -- thats a fairly bizarre possibility. Then again, it hasn't happened, yet.

Needless to say, snagging a win and not getting swept would be double plus good.

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If you haven't had the chance yet, be sure to read Joe Sheehan's free column on Selig-Bonds over at BP. I'm certainly not a Bond's fan, but I'm also not a hater. Two excerpts from Joe's column are so spot on I feel obligated to spread them along.

First:

Baseball now has a small underclass of players--real players, not anonymous minor leaguers or fringe guys--who have tested positive for performance-enhancing substances, been suspended for that use, and returned to play. In virtually every case, those players go about their business without anyone caring. They're cheered at home for their good deeds, and ignored on the road. The Indians benefit from the bullpen work of Rafael Betancourt, by far their best reliever this season, and a big reason for their contending status. He's not reviled in Detroit or Minnesota as a steroid user, not booed and forced to endure the taunts of "Cheater!" or worse. No one cares. The same can be said for Juan Rincon, who is essentially the Twins' version of Betancourt.

Need more evidence that the game is more than willing to forgive and forget? Ryan Franklin tested positive in 2005, serving a 10-game suspension for his guilt. Last month, the Cardinals signed him to a two-year contract worth $5 million. Last winter, the Mets' Guillermo Mota was suspended for the first 50 games of 2007 off a positive test; a month later, the Mets signed him to a two-year contract for, again, $5 million.

Add it up, and baseball has lavished more than $30 million on players who have been found guilty of steroid use after their use has come to light. These players don't occupy some gray area, don't inspire "did he or didn't he?" discussions on sports radio or the talking-head TV shows. They cheated, they got caught, served their penalties, and went on to earn millions playing baseball without being held up as examples of all that is wrong with America.

Second:

Rather than issue a press release that effectively threw Bonds under the bus, and backed entirely by the available facts, Selig could have stood up and said, "We have the toughest testing program in professional sports, one that has not only caught a number of steroid users, but has also served to all but eradicate the use of PEDs in our game. Barry Bonds is one of baseball's greatest players. I can do nothing about the opinions of others, but I can stand by our testing program. I wish Bonds all the best as he pursues what may be our game's most cherished individual record, and I look forward to being in attendance when he makes history."

This would have changed the narrative. This would have put the nominal commissioner of baseball in a position as the game's cheerleader, its greatest fan, its biggest supporter. It's the kind of thing David Stern or Paul Tagliabue would have done. A true commissioner should be a source of positive public relations, but time and time again, Selig has shown that he will denigrate the game and its players in the interests of the 30 men for whom he works. His actions here are no different from his actions in the labor wars of 1994 and 2002, when the man who inspired the term "anti-marketing" tore down baseball and baseball players as part of a labor relations strategy.

I couldn't agree more.