Posts Tagged ‘Greg Maddux’

2013 MLB Hall of Fame Vote Headlines

January 13, 2013

Okay, besides the obvious: “HALL OF FAME SUCKS AND SHUTS OUT A MILLION DESERVING CANDIDATES!”

Now that we’ve rushed to conclusions, let’s take a step back. I believe there is a flaw in the voting system for the Hall of Fame. I thought that before this vote took place, and find myself thinking about it more often now that the shutout occurred.

I’m not sure I could ever articulate my suggestions in a fashion that exceeds this fantastic piece by Jeff Passan, so I’ll leave you with that. And this one from Jayson Stark.

Please come back and finish reading my blog before you get carried away with those incredibly well-written works of art. Thanks.

And as much as I’d like to just dive right in and go to town on those dirty rotten voters, we do have to give them a break. Not only are they tasked with an insanely difficult job, but they then have to deal with nuisances like myself immediately after.

To avoid becoming a talking head on this topic and running with the same exact story lines, here are some other things I was processing while sobbing in the shower after seeing nobody reach the 75 percent threshold:

1) The outside influence on and internal struggle of a voter is fascinating.

If you truly think ballots aren’t influenced by voters’ peers in most cases, you’re as blind as a bat. A baseball bat. It happens in all types of social situations, because the desire to fit in is stronger than the desire to do what’s right. I’m not saying that’s why some votes went down as they did, but it certainly played a role. If every ESPN voter except one had openly proclaimed in the office they were voting for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, steroids be damned, chances are the outcast would also vote for Bonds and Clemens. It’s a social science.

Even more intriguing to me is the struggle all baseball fans face with morality. Yours truly is still undecided whether or not, given a hypothetical Hall of Fame vote, I’d vote for someone who was busted for PED’s. On the one hand, they are legends in their own right and earned their numbers, even if slightly inflated because of a little pill. On the other, their crimes are far more offensive to me than anything Pete Rose did, and he is banned from the game forever.

2) I thought all ballots should be released…then reconsidered.

What would it accomplish? Sure, we want to know who cast a vote for Shawn Green, or which nimrods thought it okay to exclude a surefire in Craig Biggio. But all it would lead to is a collective, big boy temper tantrum that only gets us in a meaningless, heated Twitter argument with each other. There are plenty of voters who shouldn’t be voting, but they have the right to conceal their choices for whatever reason they want…and I’m fine with that. Besides, who’s to say all the hidden ballots weren’t perfectly reasonable?

3) That being said…

…why isn’t Orel Hershiser or Gil Hodges in the Hall of Fame yet? And why did it take voters so long to induct Hank Greenberg? That’s literally all I had for this one. Awkward. Moving on.

4) Kenny Lofton and Bernie Williams gone forever.http://cdn.bleacherreport.net/images_root/images/photos/000/973/485/98433807_crop_650x440.jpg?1276726536

My heart breaks just writing those words. Two of my all-time favorite players and idols growing up did not receive the required five percent to stay on the ballot for 2014. Both players had very borderline cases as it was, but now their only hope is to be inducted by the Veteran’s Committee. That’s about as likely as Juan Uribe hitting a curveball, unfortunately. It’s too bad – who’s with me here: Creating a Hall of Fave in which fans get to choose non-Hall of Famers to grace the halls of a hallowed ground dedicated to the most popular players who ever played. This year, Kenny and Bernie would easily be in. Next year, we would welcome Sean Casey with open arms!

5) The PED users all get another shot.

Oh, stop. I’m allowed to group them together like that. Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens and Rafael Palmeiro all survived the cut and will be on the ballot in 2014. In my humble opinion, Big Mac, Bonds and The Rocket will eventually hang a plaque in Cooperstown. In my humbler opinion, only Bonds and Clemens have the all-around numbers to be there. In my humblest opinion, those inevitable plaques should have a daftly-carved asterisk in each. The official prediction for me is that both Bonds and Clemens are in by 2018. McGwire? More like 2021.

6) Edgar Martinez and Larry Walker, ladies and gentleman!

This is similar to the Lofton-Williams scenario. Except that Martinez and Walker both have very good cases for Hall of Fame induction. Martinez is the DH. He deserves a spot in Cooperstown, and there’s nothing you can say that will make me budge from that position. As for Walker, is there any better five-year span out of the non-PED users than his .353/30/98/1.172 OPS line from 1997 (his MVP season, in which he also stole 33 bases) to 2002? He’s got the most anonymous Hall of Fame resumes in baseball, and the worst part of it all is Walker might get snubbed completely.

7) Biggio? More like Biggi-NO.

Goodness, that’s a money headline! How I don’t get paid to write those is beyond me. In all seriousness, since we are on the subject of snubs, why is Craig  Biggio not preparing a teary-eyed, soulful speech right now? I understand the aura (both negative and positive) around this year’s class, but the fact that 34 percent of voters found a reason to exclude a 3,000-hit club member who was an All-Star at two different positions and defined the word “grit,” while never raising questions about PED’s in an era where that was considered normal…is, honestly, blasphemous.

8) Is Aaron Sele going to change the course of baseball history?

And isn’t that what any aspiring ball player dreams of doing? I’m sure Sele didn’t expect it to happen this way, but that one, perplexing vote that was cast for him means a couple of things: First, there’s a voter out there who needs serious help right away. And secondly, he could be the trigger for a potential process-changing policy shift. Whether it be a limit to the character-scrubbing clause, or an increase in votes allowed per BBWAA member, or the amendment to require all ballots to go public, Aaron Bleepin’ Sele might go down in history as the man who changed it all. Sort of.

9) Finally, the class of 2014. Ohhhhhhh, the class of 2014. Yikes.

You thought this year’s class was loaded. Scratch Dale Murphy (another deserving candidate…he was on my ballot!) off the 2012 list, and add Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Mike Mussina, Frank Thomas, and Jeff Kent. Good luck. There are three no-doubters in that new group alone for me, so choosing a class of ten Hall of Famers this time next year will be a tall task. Because I value baseball more than my personal health (it’s currently 2:18 a.m., and I have a demanding work day ahead of me starting around 7:30), I’ve taken a shot at cracking this conundrum.

So if you’re so inclined, take a peek at my video revealing the 10 guys I would vote for in next year’s Hall of Fame election:

Thanks for reading, and feel free to subscribe to my YouTube page, or to visit my other blogs at jamblinman2.wordpress.com, or 3u3d.mlblogs.com. Until next time, vote with caution.

Jeremy is an unpaid intern/unpaid sports writer/unpaid blogger combination who does this stuff because he absolutely loves it. Follow him on Twitter @Jamblinman, and LIKE his 2013 MLB Fan Cave campaign page on Facebook!

More Baseball Fundamentals

May 30, 2012

Did you watch the Orioles versus Blue Jays game tonight? Of course you didn’t. Why would you? That’s not even 100 percent American, and the Orioles always suck…right?

Wait, they are in first place?! Holy Cal Ripken!

Now that I’ve successfully caught you up to speed on the 2012 baseball season, let me teach you a little somethin’ somethin’.

When you throw a pitch, you gotta finish. And I don’t mean like throw the ball when you’re holding you’re still holding your leg kick. I mean you release the ball and finish in a defensive position.

Because baseballs come back when you throw them, and sometimes they come back HARD. Just ask Javy Guerra. Or ask today’s victim, Brandon Morrow.

If you’re not ready to at least defend yourself against a small, hard object traveling over 100 MPH, you’re toast.

Morrow released a pitch today and was hit in the side of the leg by a line drive. He limped away before being helped off the field. He was very lucky with where the ball hit him, and escaped with just a bruise. But it could have been a lot worse.

And while I would never place complete blame on a pitcher for a thing like this, it’s not ALL Lady Luck’s fault either. Throw the ball, your throwing-side leg comes over with the finish, and you should be standing mostly square to the plate, knees bent, hands up, mind aware.

I kid you not – I tried to do this every single time I threw a pitch in high school. There were some close calls, but I was never hit by a come backer. I was also able to field my position very well.

Greg Maddux, 18-time Gold Glove winner as a pitcher, would tell you the same thing: be prepared for the ball to come back at you.

One of these days a pitcher is going to be severely injured or worse. And if guys like Guerra or Morrow would just be ready for the ball, like they should be, it could be avoided. And those young, up-and-coming little hurlers in middle and high schools might see how well they defend themselves on the mound, and maybe avoid future injuries of their own.

Oh, who am I kidding? Those kids weren’t watching the Orioles and Blue Jays play either.

Until next time, don’t hang that curve ball. Follow me on Twitter @Jamblinman.

The Stars are Fading

March 13, 2012

I was talking with a buddy about this via text earlier today: All the stars from our generation in baseball are starting to retire. And it hurts. We’ve already lost Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, Mike Piazza and Ken Griffey, Jr. to retirement.

Alex Rodriguez is a hobbled old man (but really, who liked him anyway?). Derek Jeter and Chipper Jones are winding down their careers. It’s just a sad, sad time for us 90’s kids.

The one that kills me the most is Mariano Rivera. As we all know by now, Mo has decided to be frustratingly covert about his post-2012 plans. He has hinted at coming back and hinted at retiring, but when the contract is up, he’ll have a big decision to make.

Rivera is getting on in years, but he’s still one of the best closers in baseball and is absolutely dominant in the postseason. He hasn’t had any major health issues, so this is purely brought on by being satisfied with his illustrious career.

It’s not often that a player gets to go out like that, but nobody is more deserving of such an honor than Mariano.

Whether or not Mo decides to retire after the season, he will be a first ballot Hall of Famer and go down as the greatest closer the game has ever seen. He’s won five rings with the Yankees and has an almost microscopic postseason ERA. The numbers will be remembered, but there are so many other intangibles that stand out about Rivera.

The reasons I will miss him (and let’s be real…the reasons I’ll cry when he retires) formulate an endless list. First and foremost, he is one of those rare players (like Jeter and Bernie Williams) who have the humility and class to make any baseball fan root for them.

I hate the Yankees – I’m in the majority there. But if you tell me that you hate Rivera, you will get a swift kick to the groin. Unless you’re bigger and faster than me. It’s impossible to hate a guy that has earned the sport’s respect with his play and his demeanor.

I remember watching an E:60 special on Mo a few months back. He hails from a small town in Panama, where he often returns in the off-season to help rebuild and financially strengthen a poor community. He is trying to spread the gospel of baseball in the place he grew up.

That’s not necessarily out of the ordinary for a successful Major Leaguer. But, Rivera is one of those once-in-a-lifetime players whose scope of influence is so vast that it can literally touch any fan, player or person on multiple continents.

Rivera never had a controversial moment in New York, even under the bright lights of the big city. He never basked in that spotlight, even amidst a wealth of prima donna teammates like A-Rod.

And perhaps best of all, Rivera is a great sport. Despite serving up the World Series-winning rally in 2001 to the Arizona Diamondbacks in one of his rare moments of failure, Mo never made excuses about his play.

Rivera is a true champion and a model human being. For my sake, your sake, and baseball’s sake, let’s hope he sticks around for another contract or two and continues to dominate hitters for a living. Bromantic tribute, end.


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