Tag Archives: Baseball

The 2013 Baseball Hall of Fame class

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Someone asked me over e-mail what I thought about the fact that the Baseball Writers Association of America elected no one to the Hall of Fame this year.  Unexpectedly, I found myself rambling on and decided, especially because I haven’t blogged since the World Series, that the e-mail would make a reasonable blog post.  So without further ado, my answer to “So, relatedly, how do you feel about no Hall of Famers this year?”  [The “relatedly” part is that I made a Pete Rose joke when asked to enter a pool on when I thought the Mystery Hunt would end.]

The concept of no Hall of Famers in a year doesn’t bother me per se — it happened in 1996 for no real good reason.  I don’t think they should be forced to induct someone if no one got the votes — and the Veterans Committee put Hank O’Day, Jacob Ruppert, and Deacon White in, Paul Hagan gets the Spink award, and Tom Cheek is getting the Ford C. Frick award, so it’s not like there will be no induction ceremony. But really what you’re asking me is my opinion on the steroid issue, right?

And speaking of Pete Rose, I think they ought to be consistent about Bonds/Clemens and Rose.

All three are unquestionably three of the greatest players to play the game on the basis of stats, all three knowingly cheated the spirit of the game, all three got caught, and all three lied about it despite an overwhelming amount of evidence against them.

So when Rose has his ban lifted, Bonds and Clemens can get in.  But Bonds and Clemens are likely going to get in in the future without Rose — also the 8 people who voted for Clemens and not Bonds need to have their heads examined.  (Or maybe living in San Francisco where Barry is still beloved has rubbed off on me a little.)  Likewise the person who voted for Aaron Sele, although if I had a vote I might have thrown one to Todd Walker just to be a bit of a troll and keep people on their toes.  Plus, Walker hit his first Major League homerun on my friend’s 15th birthday and we always kind of irrationally loved him for that.

As for the guys who didn’t get caught and are only suspected of steroids on the basis of “they had muscles,” then I’m a little more lenient.  After all, players in the 70s were all pepped up on greenies and Doc Ellis threw a freaking no-hitter while tripping on LSD.  (If you don’t know that story, or even if you do, you need to watch this.)  Not to mention that most steroids weren’t technically banned by baseball until 2002.*  Also a friend of mine once told me that his high school football coach more or less made all the starting players take androstenedione, which is what McGwire was caught taking in 1998.  And if high school football coaches were coercing their athletes to take the “supplement” (*cough*steroid*cough*) in the late 90s, perhaps we ought to place a little less blame on the athletes who took it and a little more on the entire sports culture that told them they had to take it.

[* Posnanski style addendum because I fact checked myself: Apparently commissioner Faye Vincent sent a memo to the teams saying steroids were illegal in 1991, but it was never enforced. A drug policy was enacted in 2002, but one of the terms was that first time offenders would be sent to treatment and their names not released. The current drug policy was enacted in 2005 after the whole BALCO scandal.]

Also Jack Morris, god love him for the greatest game 7 in World Series history, is not quite up to Hall of Fame caliber.  He’s close, but I don’t think he’s there and I don’t think he should get in on the basis of one game.  I say this even though I own a Jack Morris bobblehead doll that I once did this with (he’s the one that keeps morphing into Tom Kelly).

And at this point, I just want to point out that [Harrison] asked.

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Speaking of October Baseball

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I bought something totally ridiculous.

1991 Minnesota Twins in Bobblehead form

1991 Minnesota Twins in Bobblehead form

Unfortunately, Greg Gagne’s hand is not attached to his body. But I already contacted the Twins Community Fund and they’ve agreed to send me a replacement. Not sure if I have to send the handless version back, but if I don’t… well, he is number 7. A little sideburn modification and suddenly it’s a Joe Mauer doll!

I need to figure out something to do with them other than display them on this old TV stand. I have an idea brewing, but it will take some work…

Divisional Series Decompression

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As is probably unsurprising, what with my gushing over Justin Verlander, the Tigers are my team this post-season.  What is probably also not surprising, the New York Yankees are the one team of the eight postseason teams that I can’t stand and want to see lose and lose quickly.  Then there are the six other teams which I am mostly indifferent to.  If I had to rank them it would probably go Brewers, Diamondbacks, Rays (well, they’re already out), Rangers, Cardinals, Phillies.  But really, as long as there is good baseball played, I’m not invested in who advances out of those six teams.

And so that leaves me with one divisional series I watched every pitch of: The Evil Empire vs. the Guys From Near My Old Stomping Grounds Who Have The Best Pitcher In The Game In Their Pen And Delmon Young.  (Hmm… that is a long moniker for the Tigers.  I should shorten it to GFNMOSGWHTBPITGITPADY, although even that is longer than “The Evil Empire.”)

Game 1 got postponed after an inning and a half, ruining the Verlander vs. CC Sabathia start and turning it into an Ivan Nova vs. Doug Fister disaster on Saturday.  Game 2 featured some brilliant pitching by Max Scherzer.  Game 3 featured some not-always-brilliant-pitching-but-who-cares-because-he-won from Justin Verlander.  Game 4 was really ugly and I’ve wiped it from my memory.  Game 5 was a stressful game because even though the Tigers were never behind (and after the second batter of the game were always ahead), it was never a big lead and with the Yankees, I can really only relax when it’s a big lead.

After A-Rod struck out to end the game, I was finally able to exhale.  The combination of wanting the Tigers to win and wanting the Yankees to lose was enough to make me tense whenever I watched it — and exhilarated when the Tigers finally clinched it.  That exhilaration is why I watch baseball.  It’s certainly not for the anxiety that comes before it… but the anxiety is a necessary precursor to the joy.

For better or for worse, now that this ALDS is over, I don’t think I’ll be getting as emotionally invested in the ALCS or the World Series.  The Tigers aren’t really my team and they’ve already vanquished the team it’s fun to watch lose.  (Seriously… click the link to watch A-Rod strikeout.  It’s just so satisfying if you know anything about him — plus Avila’s glee is infectious.  If you’re unaware of why Rodriguez is a guy it’s fun to root against, let this Google image search be your primer.)  For the remainder of October, I’m going to be a lot more relaxed when I watch baseball.

But it also means I won’t be as elated when the Tigers take it all as I was tonight.