While the Giants’ front-office is vehemently denying Hank Aaron was paid for his videotaped tribute to the Sultan Of Surly Tuesday evening, I’ve already made it known that I’m in no mood to celebrate a novelty HR in an otherwise meaningless game. But enough about Rick Ankiel. Cosellout has observed the way Sports Illustrated’s back of the book columnist has handed L’affair Bonds, and concludes “Rick Reilly Is A Dork” (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)

Like a brilliant comedian who might waste half of his act on œwaaaaaay-too-easy Michael Jackson jokes, too many of his œlets all pile on columns are simply far beneath his talent. He will not hesitate to write his mandatory monthly mock-job on a Bonds, a Ron Artest, or a Latrell Sprewell post- œfeed his family comments knowing full well that there will be an abundance of built-in applause no matter what the column™s contents. In any given week, Reilly will switch from schooling readers to school-yard bully.

Perhaps Reilly could be best summed up by his coverage AFTER Mark McGwire found himself sniffling in front of Congress. Reilly™s next column immediately jumped on the hypocritically-righteous steroids bandwagon. Once Big Mac became easy prey, Reilly mocked away along with the rest of our moral indig-NATION. While Reilly had a literary field day with McGwire™s statement that he was not in court œto talk about the past, I agree with Reilly that we SHOULD talk about his past. Where was Reilly™s courage the previous 10 years when every sign in the world to even the dullest of sportswriters was right there to draw a reasonable conclusion on McGwire? Where was the admonishing column of Big Mac (at maximum), or refusal to take a celebratory stance with McGwire (at minimum) before that day in congress when public opinion turned? Could Reilly, who did this previous cover story on McGwire in 1998, HONESTLY say that he was unaware of the prospect of McGwire and performance enhancing drugs?

œReilly™s revenge has been his main obstacle in achieving true journalistic greatness. Contrary to the supposed flaw of Barry Bonds, Rick Reilly likes to be liked. Lack of writing skills is not his problem, lack of guts is. He simply is not that guy who could have taken the heat for standing up for the constitutional rights of the unpopular Ali in the 1960™s. No, we would have gotten some smart-alecky column on the Army test that Ali initially failed.

The only bad thing about this headline of Michael Silverman’s is that someone might have to explain it to Chris Russo. And on the matter of the usually-reliable blowing saves last night, perhaps Carlos Beltran will play a step or two deeper the next time Hanley Ramirez comes up with the game on the line.

Never let it be said the Pirates are content to stand pat during the season’s final 7 weeks. In the event ownership is wagering large amounts of money on a 6th place finish in the NL Central, adding Victor Zambrano to the starting rotation ASAP might be the final piece of the puzzle. Strangely, the team might’ve misplaced the memo about tanking it the rest of way, with the Bucs leading the Giants, 6-1, through 5 1/2 in San Francisco, with Freddy Sanchez and Adam LaRoche having each homered off Tim Lincecum.