Posts Tagged ‘Hall of Fame’

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!

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Where Have All the Sluggers Gone?

May 16, 2012

Long lines suck. Coke lines are bad for you. And conga lines are cliché. But the worst possible type of line in the whole wide world is the Mendoza Line.

For those of you that don’t know, that’s a .200 batting average. If you are “below the Mendoza Line,” you are a really terrible baseball player.

Some players manage to play an entire 162-game season and hit below the line, yet still sign lucrative contracts (that’s you Carlos Pena and Mark Reynolds). I won’t ever understand THAT, but it’s not the topic of conversation tonight.

What I want to know is how in the world three incredibly talented hitters are flirting with Mendoza so hard that their wives think they are being cheated on!

Namely, Albert Pujols (.212), Jose Bautista (.195) and Eric Hosmer (.182). These are some of the better hitters in all of baseball, and they are all struggling mightily.

If it were still early in the season, it can be excused as a slow start, but we are almost 1/4 of the way through. Now it becomes worrisome. All three teams have serious playoff aspirations in 2012, but I can guarantee none will get there without these players stepping up.

Here’s my outlook for the power-hitting American League trio:

Pujols – He is Albert Pujols. He will be fine. He hit his second homer tonight and will probably go .300/30/100 by the end of the season. Sure, he took more time to adjust to the AL than many expected, but there is a reason the guy is a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame at age 32.

Bautista – The Jays’ main man has bloomed late in his career and hit nearly 100 homers combined in the last two seasons. In 2011 he really put his game together, raising his average and improving his plate discipline. So is 2012 a fluke or was 2011? I think he’ll have a rough average (maybe .265 at best) but should post another 30 homer, 100 RBI season. Don’t worry, Canada!

Hosmer – This kid is the one I’m most worried about. He’s making my trendy Wild Card pick of the Royals look ridiculous with his play right now. The Sophomore Slump is in full effect for Hosmer, who looked like the next great star in baseball. With a swing like his, I think he’ll have a fine career. This season? If he hits 25 homer I’ll be shocked at this point.

There you have it. What do YOU think about Pujols, Bautista and Hosmer? Comment below or tweet me @Jamblinman!

Thanks for reading. Until tomorrow, please don’t snort any Mendoza lines.

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.

Quarterbacks Galore

March 6, 2012

I know, I know. It’s baseball season. TRUST ME. I understand that. I spent half my day listening to the Dodgers’ Spring Training broadcast on my phone. But first of all, there are three big QB topics to discuss today. And secondly, I’m still a little butt-hurt that the aforementioned Doyers lost to the Giants…

…it’s gonna be a long season.

Let’s start with my boy Alex Smith. I’ve been hearing way too much on talk radio over the last few days that Colin Kapernick should “get a shot.” The only shot Kap should be taking right now is shots of Patron as he chills on the bench, watching Smith lead the 49ers back to the playoffs.

Wow, that was an awfully bad play on words. Give me a break, I’m off my game – that Dodgers loss is really getting to me!

Smith will be back with the Niners next season, he will be the starter, and Kap will get another full season to hone his skills and learn a little leadership under Jim Harbaugh. I’m fine with giving the kid a shot in the preseason and in blowouts, as long as he doesn’t throw the ball to Josh Morgan. Since he jinxed him and Morgan busted his ankle on that catch-and-run from Kap last year.

But for now, you can talk about Smith’s inability to throw the deep ball, his mediocre stats or his boring demeanor all you want. I’ll show you tape of the NFC Divisional playoff all day and challenge you to tell me that Alex Mother Beepin’ Smith wasn’t the biggest reason we advanced to the NFC Championship just a couple short months ago.

Now, he’s no Drew Brees or even post-neck-surgery Peyton Manning. Not many QBs are. But that brings me to my next point. The New Orleans Saints are just being plain STUPID lately. Don’t even get me started on the bounty nonsense, because this blog will turn into a very angry novel. I’m talking about how they pissed off their franchise quarterback by tagging him with that exact distinction: their “franchise” player.

Except this time, it means that he gets paid a shit ton less than he should. That’s not even what Brees is “livid” about. He’s upset that he specifically told the Saints not to franchise him and wanted to knock out a long-term deal. Telling Brees no in this situation is like the animals on Noah’s Ark kicking him overboard. Brees saved the Saints’ franchise and brought them a Super Bowl title, yet they are going right at his knees with this contract crap. Ironic, considering…nevermind I won’t go there.

And in the biggest news of the day, the elder (and now less-prominent, as far as Super Bowl victories go…WTF?) Manning is out in Indy! The Colts declined to pay him $28 million to do nothing. Okay, so that’s fine. I can understand that business decision. And it’s too bad, because even though Andrew Luck may be a once-in-a-lifetime prospect, he’s still unproven.

If anything, you can expect a Sam Bradford-esque rookie season out of Luck. I’m sure the Colts will enjoy letting their new QB get beat up and rack up “L’s” while Manning does his thing in Washington, or Seattle, or Arizona or wherever the hell there is a GM smart enough to pick him up!

Don’t get me wrong – I like Luck and I think he’ll do great. But those are some gigantic, Hall-of-Fame sized cleats to fill in Indianapolis. As for Peyton? Don’t fret. He missed out on a cool chunk of change, but the dude’s gonna get paid a King’s ransom no matter where he goes. And chances are, he’ll probably be playing postseason football wherever he goes.

That’s all for today. Tomorrow, it’s back to baseball. I promise. Heck, I’ll even make a plug right here, right now.

Cretins! Read the Three Up, Three Down blog! Listen to the Three Up, Three Down podcast! Like the Three Up, Three Down Facebook page! And follow us on Twitter at @3U3D. You won’t be disappointed.

Until tomorrow, this is Colin Kaepernick…taking Jam Shots. (No? Not even a giggle?)

A Spring Training Tragedy

February 25, 2012

No, I don’t mean that I’m not going to Spring Training next week. Would y’all get off of that? I’m over it. *Takes another sip of beer*Just kidding it’s barely past noon*So takes another sip of mimosa*.

What I’m really talking about is the only time I have been to Arizona to hit up some preseason baseball. I went with my Dad when I was in 8th grade. It was one of the best, most generous gifts I’ve ever received. And one of the most memorable experiences of my life.

So why a tragedy? Shakespeare wrote tragedies (or did he…) and he’s famous for them, so quit your bitchin’ and just read on!

There was the infamous fly-fried-in-our-Safeway-chicken incident. The missed opportunity to get inside the A’s clubhouse because of Adam Melhuse wracking his ankle on second base. And my inevitable sunburn. But those are nothing compared to what happened when I went to see the A’s play the Cubs in a split squad game.

I’ve sat mere feet away from the bullpen in a big league game. I got a ball handed to me by Robb Nen. I sat two tables away from Mark McGwire at California Pizza Kitchen. But those experiences are hogwash. Because at this A’s/Cubs game in Arizona, I sat about ten rows up from the field with my Dad, waiting for the game to start.

I’d already exhausted myself running around getting autographs from all the A’s players I could and was acquiring the aforementioned burn while the teams took their final warm ups. I was ignoring a large crowd of Cubs fans at the fence below me, trying to get some old coach to sign their stuff. Pft…silly kidsWasting your time.

Then I glanced again. And it hit me. I squinted, and made out the clear face of Ryne Sandberg as he lifted his head to answer an autograph-seeker with a laugh. I can tell you, I’ve never moved that fast in my life.

There was no doubt about it – that was the future Hall of Fame second baseman. I had completely forgotten he was coaching with the Cubs and would therefore be at this game. I found a blank ball, dove across my Dad to grab my pen and  I’m pretty sure just time-warped down the bleachers to get to the fence. I was completely okay with bowling over 5-year-olds in order to get this signature.

But like a heart-wrenching Hollywood script, I watched from my epic mid-air jump, in slow motion, as Sandberg finished signing a ball, waved a thank you to the crowd and turned to retreat to the dugout. The last thread of his jersey disappeared into the dugout as I landed at the fence.

Have you ever been so disappointed, shocked and ashamed of yourself that you just wanted to sit in a cold shower and cry? That’s how eighth-grade Jeremy felt watching one of the best second baseman of all time stride away, just out of reach.

To this day, missing Sandberg haunts me. It was a fabulous Spring Training trip. One of the best experiences a baseball fan could ever ask for. But I’ve vowed from this day forth to get that damn autograph. And I imagine when it happens, I’ll be able to shake Ryno’s hand and we can laugh about my previous swing-and-a-miss.

And probably get a beer together. And then he’ll ask me to play for his team. And I’ll help the Cubs to their first World Series title in a million years. And Sandberg (who I will probably be playfully referring to as “Sandy” by then because we’ll be so tight) will introduce me at my Hall of Fame ceremony.

And…what? Hey, anything is possible at Spring Training. Just don’t be a doof like me. Be prepared. And don’t buy fried chicken from the Glendale Safeway.

That’s some real talk. Welcome back, baseball. I missed you!

Manny Mania!

February 21, 2012

Billy Beane is running a circus in Oakland, and I love it. The A’s are going to challenge for the worst record in the Majors this year, so why not have a little fun? After stealing Cuban sensation Yeonis Cespedes about a week ago, Beane moved in and signed potential Hall-of-Famer Manny Ramirez to a 1-year, $500,000 contract. I know what you’re doing right now. You’re moaning and groaning and crying CHEATER!

Well folks, get over it. Because it’s going to be the only thing worth watching at o.Co Coliseum in 2012. Let me preface this blog by admitting that I have a problem. I’m a Manny fan. I think he is absolutely hilarious and a complete dick. But not in the cocky way of A-Rod. More like the “this game is really fun and enjoy hitting a baseball very far for a living” way. How can you hate a guy that has such a damn good time on the field?

And if that isn’t enough for you, at least watch him hit and tell me he doesn’t have the sweetest right-handed swing in the game. No type of fertility drug can create a swing that perfect. Regardless of how many hormones he has swimming around in that body of his, Manny is one of the best hitters to ever play the game. Same as Barry Bonds, he tarnished his legacy with the failed test, but it doesn’t mean he wasn’t a spectacular player to begin with.

Back to Oakland – Manny will miss the first 50 games of the season due to his suspension. Which is perfect. Because that gives all our young prospects who have either been blocked for years or just sucked the big one when they got their shot, 50 games to prove themselves. If any of them hit like crazy, they will stay in the lineup and Bob Melvin will find a way to get Manny in there. If they don’t hit, they blew their chance and we’ve got a Hall-of-Famer hitting cleanup.

And if Manny hits 10 home runs in 110 games this year, it’s well worth the 500K. If he hits 10 home runs by the trade deadline, I guarantee Beane will squeeze a top prospect out of a desperate AL team in need of a DH for the playoffs. It’s a win-win situation. No harm, no foul, unless you are seriously offended by men injecting female junk into themselves. Or if you hate dreadlocks.

I promise, A’s fans. It’s going to be fun. And you’ll love watching Manny being Manny. It may be the only bearable part of a long, sad season.

Who knows…maybe he’ll give you a high five after a play!

And I (hold it…) Will Always Love You (hold this one too…)

February 12, 2012

Believe it or not, Whitney Houston does merit a mention in a sports blog. Not simply because she was an incredible singer whose musical legacy demands I pay her respects (R.I.P. Whitney), but because she’s connected to the sport of baseball. At least for me. If you’re confused, grab a comfy seat and a blanket, sit back and let me tell you about the most embarrassing moment of my life.

If I don’t regularly make this clear, I’m a Dodgers fan. A big ol’ fat Dodgers fan. So naturally, I hate the Giants. So, naturally, when the Giants somehow lucked their way to the World Series in 2010, I was rooting for the Rangers. My friend decided she would root for the Giants, just to piss me off (it worked). In a fit of furor, I decided to bet her that the Rangers would win. I know I lost. No need to remind me.

See, the most unfortunate part, was the wager said winner picked a karaoke song for loser to sing on Taco Tuesday. She picked I Will Always Love You by Whitney. Personally, I thought I spit a killer rendition. Then I watched the video. I’m sure if you hunt deep enough into the layers of Facebook, you could find the documented proof. Please don’t. I’ll tell ya what, I’ve never hated the Giants more than when they forced me to vocally embarrass myself in front of hundreds of fellow drunk college students.

That’s my story. And I’m blushing now, thanks. Let’s move on.

So I’m breaking my promise. Again. Football time! I just can’t ignore two things in off-season football news. First, when another player makes fun of Tony Romo. Who doesn’t love that? Second, when I see a story suggesting blasphemy like this. The original link on Yahoo! Sports said “Romo a Hall of Famer?” I nearly lost my bowels when I read that.

I love to hate on Romo. I’m not shy about it. But I don’t think he’s necessarily a bad quarterback. Mistake-prone? Sure. Annoying? Definitely. Overrated? Absolutely. A bad player? Not at all. But a mother *censored* HALL OF FAMER? Give me a break. I’m more deserving of Sexiest Man Alive than Romo is of a plaque in Canton. If Romo can win a couple rings (spoiler: he won’t), he has a shot because he certainly can rack up the passing numbers.

Unfortunately for Cowboy fans, his penchant for throwing untimely interceptions and dropping holds on kicks will haunt his legacy forever.

On to the real football. What? Seriously? Dude, I’m talking about soccer. Anyways ya doofus, check out this story about the 1978 World Cup champions, Argentina. If this proves to be true (and it certainly seems like it might be), this is just a straight slap in the face to the entire sport. And shows exactly why politics and sports mix like oil and water.

If that story made you hate soccer more than you already did, then clear the kids from the room, light a few candles and put on some Barry White. Helllllllooooo Ms. Morgan!

I leave you today with the luckiest shot in the world.

I’m outta here. I’m gonna go dance with somebody (love you Whitney).


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