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Cooperstown 2017…reaction…

The BBWAA…a bunch of frauds?

Well, I suppose we don’t need to go that far.  But did you check out Hall of Fame voting results this week?

I think my induction thoughts were abundantly clear from my previous post.  But some of the stuff I have been seeing from other writers this week has driven me bananas.  So therefore you get to hear about it, like it or not.

First, you have all the ESPN guys…Jayson Stark, Scott Lauber, Jerry Crasnick, Tim Kurkjian…probably all of them for that matter.  I’m sure they are all great guys and although I don’t read their stuff religiously, I have generally liked what they have done over the years.  I could do without them on TV, but that’s a different subject entirely…and there’s a whole laundry list of people I could do without on television.  So that’s not really any kind of bombshell.

But anyway, the big problem I have seen from those guys is that I think they want to add ALL the guys on the ballot to the Hall of Fame.  That statement may be a stretch, however, they consistently complain that they are limited to voting for only 10 players and there are more than 10 qualified candidates on the ballot.  In one recent year, Kurkjian actually said he wanted to vote for 21 players.  TWENTY ONE!!!  He’s out of his mind.

Maybe Kurk (and the others) are too close to the players and want to “reward” them.  Or something.  It has to be SOMETHING.  Because if these veteran sports writers actually think there were more than 10 players worthy of a Hall of Fame plaque, then they are delusional.

Twenty one…holy crap…I have never been able to get that one out of my mind.  Someone has to smack some sense into old Timmy Boy.

Then I ran into someone who tops these ESPN folk:  Some character by the name of Matt Snyder, a writer for CBS Sports.  Never heard of him, but looking at his bio tells me that he played college baseball and worked his way to CBS through various blogs and other websites.  Seems like he paid some dues and ended up in a great position.  Good for him.  I may even admit that I have some jealousy that he can write about baseball for a living.  But I won’t.  In any event, he should know what he is talking about, correct?

Snyder’s bio also tells me that he is a member of the BBWAA.  Uh oh.  Don’t worry quite yet though, he has about 8 more years of service to go to get an actual vote.

But he would have voted for 10 guys (Bonds, Clemens, Bagwell, Raines, Mussina, Schilling, Pudge, Edgar, Sosa and Sheffield).  If he had more than 10 votes, he would have also added Vladdy and Walker, wouldn’t be opposed to electing Hoffman, Wagner and Lee Smith and also would have given strong looks to Kent, McGriff and Posada.  18 guys right there.  Posada??  Really??  And he also must be too young to have lived through Lee Smith.  To make this a little more comical, he left Manny out and would have voted for Mark McGwire if he was on the ballot.  McGwire??  Wow.  I get that he has a personal PED rule where he leaves players out that were suspended while there has been a joint drug agreement in place.  That’s why there is no Manny.  And he has a right to his opinion.  But you honestly can’t tell me Manny is out and ALL the other kingpins of the steroid era are in.  Common sense has to take over at some point, no?

You have to read the actual piece to “appreciate” it, I think:

But wait, it gets better!  Three days after that post, after the results came out, he writes another piece where he tries to dispel a couple of “myths”.  The first being how the vote totals change each year.  In theory, what he describes makes sense, for the most part anyway.  I’ll give him some more love and you can read what he wrote here:

What he wrote doesn’t change the fact that he still wants to put like 18 guys in the Hall.  Or that if you are changing your minds on guys over the years…more than once anyway…that probably means that he doesn’t belong.  Or the fact Tim Raines went from 24.3% in 2008, dropped to 22.6% in 2009 and then got to 86.0% in 2017.  That’s way too big a swing.  Were ALL of the voters whose votes had lapsed not voting for Raines and ALL the new voters now voting for him?  Hard to fathom.

The second myth is that the Hall is being watered down because of “lesser” players getting in nowadays.  He presents some facts, that may be true in theory.  But again, common sense needs to prevail here as well.  A smaller percentage of players are getting in the Hall nowadays based on his numbers.  But that only means plenty of mediocre players got in the Hall over the years.  That bumped those old numbers up.  He neglected to mention the Veteran’s Committee putting all kinds of unqualified guys in the Hall in the past.  To the point where the Veteran’s Committee had to be completely revamped.  If we took away some of those players, the numbers may be more in line.  And that’s just one aspect of what happened in the history of Hall of Fame voting.

I’m very sorry for what seems to be a personal attack here, Mr. Snyder.  But maybe you’ll get some more readers from me posting your links.  So perhaps you should actually thank me.  Regardless, this stuff is just a microcosm of the baseball writers of the day.  I’m sure this covers a great deal of the BBWAA.  We’ve already talked about the writer who voted for Schilling for years, but is now stopping because Schill started bashing the writers.  And the guy who sent in a ballot a few years back with only Jack Morris’ name checked off and no one else.  Because he felt “Morris’ career predated the steroid years, so he was voting for him and skipping everyone else because he couldn’t be sure who did ‘roids and who didn’t after that.”  And the writers who won’t vote for certain players on the first ballot, because they aren’t “first ballot Hall of Famers.”  And on and on.  Just not ideal.

Cripes, I have read some preliminary thoughts from some of these writers about 2018 Hall of Fame ballot projections.  Chipper Jones and Jim Thome lead the first timers and they certainly warrant consideration.  But I have also heard the names of Johnny Damon, Omar Vizquel, Scott Rolen and Andruw Jones get some early love.  What?!  Why not throw Scott Podsednik and Guillermo Mota in there as well…

So now that I have gotten completely carried away on something not many likely care about, let me leave you with this:

Everyone has their opinion on who makes the Hall.  I certainly have mine.  No one is wrong, sad to say.  But what’s the bottom line on determining a Hall of Famer?  I can tell you that one time long ago, I was watching Pedro Martinez throw one of those complete game, 3 hit, 17 strikeout gems at a watering hole in Boston with a friend.  Well, it started in the bar.  In the 4th inning, my buddy said “let’s hop on the T over to Fenway and see if we can get into the game.”  I actually agreed, even though the game was almost half over.  We got there in the 6th inning and probably still overpaid a scalper for “seats”.  And the building was rocking for the next 3 innings.  Worth it.  Now THAT is a Hall of Famer.

I can tell you for certain that not once have I said to anyone “hey, Mike Mussina is pitching tonight.  Let’s drop everything and watch!”

But maybe I am just an “Internet Tough Guy”…



Playing catch-up…the final chapter…

This one is going to be total gibberish.  But it is what it is…

*So the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup.  I was actually rooting for the San Jose Sharks, with our old friend Jumbo Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau finally getting to the Finals after 18 years.  The #1 and #2 picks of the 1997 draft still getting it done.  And the organization itself.  No Cup wins or even Finals appearances.  Easy to root for them over say, the whiny Sidney Crosby.  Or the arse-clown Phil Kessel.

Pittsburgh was clearly the better team though, congratulations to them.  But Martin Jones…man.  The guy played pretty awesome.  Faced a lot of rubber.  Wish the Bruins could have players like that!  Ok, funny, I know.  He had a solid 5 day stint with the team last summer.

Listen, I have always said that I would pay very few NHL goalies ridiculous dollars, since you should be able to get a decent goalie for a reasonable price.  And it’s no secret I would deal Tuukka Rask in a heartbeat.  But a lot of Bruins fans are saying they would’ve kept Jones and that he would’ve performed better than Tuuks.  I have suggested it.  But how do we really know?  The B’s defense was so bad this year, Jones could’ve had a goals against average over 3.00 for all we know.  When Claude’s system is right, a lot of guys could play goal and look awesome.  This year, even Jonathan Quick or Patrick Roy in his prime could have been putrid with that D.

We also have to consider that no one thought the first round pick the Bruins acquired in the deal would wind up at the end of the first round.  Maybe a mid-first round pick at the time…and the Sean Kuraly kid…what if he is any good as well?  Seemed like a fairly good return for an unproven backup goalie…at the time for sure.  So I’ve changed my tune…as much as I hate to give Bruins management ANY benefit of the doubt.  Let’s let the trade play out before we bemoan the “loss” of Jones.

But let’s still trade Tuukka.

*It’s a nice gesture, ESPN bringing on Craig Sager for some sideline reporting for Game 6.  You know I have no use for sideline reporters.  But the dude is popular with…everyone.  He’s never worked the Finals, despite a long career in the game.  And everyone knows about his battle with cancer and the uncertain amount of time he has left.  ESPN doing something positive…whoda thunk it?!

*But the NBA assigning Scott Foster to ref Game 6?  Still hard to believe he’s working in the league…what with his whole connection to the Tim Donaghy gambling scandal about a decade ago.  No way Donaghy was the only guy involved and his best buddy appeared to be Foster.  Par for the course with the league when you think about it though.  Too many rumors about things in the NBA being “fixed” that you’d have to think some of the questions are legit.  And now Stephen Curry just fouled out for the first time in years…though Foster didn’t make the final foul call, I’ll give him that…

*Speaking of Game 6, it’ll be over before this is posted.  But there will be a Game 7.  The Warriors kept trying to get back into the game, but couldn’t pull it off.  Some foul trouble in this game and with Andrew Bogut out, guys like Andre Iguodala hobbling now and LeBron stepping up his game and making me look a little silly…does that mean the Cavaliers have a chance in Game 7 at Golden State?  Anything can happen, but my money’s still on the Warriors.  I just can’t see them losing at home in a Game 7.  But I’ve been wrong plenty before…

*Another banner game for Kevin Love:  12 minutes, 7 points, 3 boards, 3 fouls.  Ouch.

*Don’t look now everyone, Clay Buchholz threw another 3 innings of scoreless mop up tonight!  That’s 4 scoreless mop-up appearances out of 5.  Get ready for his re-entry into the rotation when they finally need that 5th starter again.  Can’t wait for John Farrell to put some major spin on it as well.

*Of course, seeing that the Sox actually need yet another starter with Eduardo Rodriguez not really “back” yet.  Joe Kelly is allegedly hurt in Pawtucket.  Henry Owens is still walking everyone down there as well.  Welcome to your chance at the role, Roenis Elias!!  That’s how I see it.  Yuck…

*Does Farrell know that he has Robbie Ross Jr. at his disposal?  Granted, Ross is no All-Star, but he has pitched pretty decent for the Sox since he came aboard last year.  Yet Matt Barnes has gotten the ball 8 more times than him this year.  Matt Barnes?  Why is Farrell force feeding him down our throats?  Unnecessary.

*Farrell told us in April that Chris Young got in the lineup more often than he probably should have because he “needed the at-bats to stay sharp.”  So that wouldn’t hold true for Rusney Castillo now?

*Deflategate turned 500 days old like a week or two ago.  Let’s get ready for 500 more!  In all actuality, I think I have given up.  Suspend Brady for all I care, play Jimmy Football (Garoppolo) the 4 games and go at least 3-1.  Brady comes back fresh and pissed.  The team wins a Super Bowl.  And Jimmy G gets dealt for something useful next offseason because, you know, now Jacoby Brissett is the QB of the future…

*Speaking of Jimmy Football, Johnny Football (Manziel) has been quiet…for like a week anyway.  I’ve never rooted for someone to crash and burn as badly as I have for Manziel.  I feel kind of bad about that.  But if he ever confronts me about it, he can’t say he hasn’t asked for it.

*Mike Carey got fired as CBS’ officiating “expert” last week.  Hallelujah!!!  I’ve never really rooted for anyone to lose their job…besides Farrell I guess…actually there are probably dozens more…but bear with me.  Carey was downright atrocious though.  I mean, real bad.  He only had the job for 2 years, but it felt like more.  He should’ve been gone after 2 weeks.

*Aaron Dobson apparently played well in Patriot OTA’s last week.  What a shocker.  Comes up big when the lights are off.  Can’t wait until he disappears again when it counts.  Or gets hurt.  Or both…the more likely scenario.

*Alex Khokhlachev is heading to the KHL.  Another young offensively talented guy that Claude couldn’t find room for.  Khokh may actually suck, but we will never know.  He never got a chance.

*Hey!  The “Can you hear me now” Verizon guy is now with Sprint.  Didn’t see that one coming.  There is no loyalty anywhere anymore!!

*MLB draft.  Who cares, right?  But I’d love to know more about the dude the Red Sox got.  Jason Groome.  Supposedly could have been the top overall pick but fell to #12.  Could be money concerns, could be maturity issues, could be this, could be that.  A lot of uncertainty.  Throw in the fact that he is 17 and add some more uncertainty.  Welp, I guess we will see what happens.  I can tell you this much:  I’m not expecting much from high draft pick pitchers coming directly from high school…at least in the Sox organization.

*I wish I had something more intelligent and meaningful to say about the recent deaths of Muhammad Ali and “Mr. Hockey”, Gordie Howe.  Excellent athletes in their respective sports.  But I never really saw them perform…certainly not in their prime anyway.  Sure, plenty of video exists, but it’s nothing like witnessing their feats live.  Ali of course had some political and religious beliefs that were controversial, to sum it up in one word.  But those go waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay beyond the scope of this piece.  The best I can do here is probably just “R.I.P.”, sad to say.

Maybe Jonas Gray actually sucks?

Now that I have your attention…as we head into the Opener tomorrow with the Pats on track to pound the Steelers to the tune of around 48-13…ok, if it rains hard, maybe 38-10…I’ve had some time to think about the Patriot happenings of the week.  And of course come up with some rock solid points.  To wit:

*Jonas Gray.  Obviously the most surprising cut.  People seem to still be in disbelief.  I was at first.  But then I considered the facts.  I always thought he played well when he was in the game last year.  Of course he had that huge 201 yard game against Indy.  But it seemed to me like he looked good in the other limited opportunities he had.

Then I looked at the game logs.  It was really only 2 other games.  86 yards against the Bears (17 carries), when they were up 38-7 at the half.  And then 62 yards on 11 carries against the Dolphins.  That when Belichick took the mothballs off him in the 2nd half after only leading 14-13 at the half and watching LeGarrette Blount do zero (8 totes for 17 yards) before halftime.

Otherwise, he was buried…including for essentially the entire Super Bowl run.  Was it really because he overslept one morning after his big game?  Everyone points to that, but I’m not so sure.

This is a guy who had been on a couple of teams the previous 2 years, essentially 1 year on an injured list and 1 on the practice squad.  Then last year, he spent the first several weeks on the Pats’ practice squad.  Anyone could’ve signed him and did not.  Then, once he was waived here last week, no team claimed him, despite not having any kind of prohibitive salary.  And now he is on the Dolphins practice squad…not an active roster.

Seems to me we all got caught up in the hype and ignored the whole story.  Though with Blount suspended for Week 1, the thought of Brandon Bolden being the lead back against the Steelers is kinda scary…

*Reggie Wayne.  If those rumors are true about why he asked for his release…wow.  I lost a lot of respect for him if so.  If you missed it, the rumors say that he did not find the Patriot environment very “fun” and “too tough”.  Ummmmm…ok.  Sure, he is 36 years old and once he got here he realized he really did not feel like starting anew after well over a decade in the same place.  As well as being…old.  That much I understand.

But…shouldn’t he have known that before he got here?  He knows plenty of players, coaches and all sorts of people involved with the league since he has been around forever.  He plays the Patriots almost every year.  He knows the stories.  The reputations.  The discipline.  The EVERYTHING.  In my estimation, he should’ve had an excellent idea about what he was walking into.

Yet he came anyway.  And pocketed some dough for a couple of weeks of nothing.

I’m not saying he came here just for the money.  He has made plenty in his career.  Surely an extra 450k wouldn’t matter much…to him anyway.

But it kind of leaves a bad taste in your mouth, no?  Maybe he got here and both sides knew he was all done.  I’m not saying for either of them to admit that point either.  But for sure Reggie should have kept those specific comments to himself…again, if true.  Just makes him look bad, I say…

*Cameron Fleming.  A little surprised at this one too, though extremely minor in the whole scheme of things.  Seemed to play well when in the game.  A lot of times that was as a 6th lineman and eligible tight end.  But seemed to do his job nonetheless.  (“Do his job”…like how I slipped that one in there?!).  And a 4th round pick just last year.  Back on the practice squad now, maybe the story isn’t over.

*Zach Moore.  Ok, I bought into the hype on him last year too.  Small school player.  Physical freak.  Someone that could develop in 2-3 years.  Looked the part when you saw him on the field…which wasn’t often.  So much for that.  Didn’t even land back on the practice squad.  Went to Minnesota’s P=squad apparently.  Maybe that was his decision not Bill’s.  Oh well…

*Nate Solder.  Yikes, that extension is a lot of dough for a player who doesn’t exactly dominate.  He has been pretty good over his career, but a game changer?  Not sure about that.  He was terrible for a great deal of 2014…then the story came out where he was diagnosed with testicular cancer before the year.  So I should give him a pass.  And he was elected a captain this year too.  That has to mean something.

But he needs to be a lot better this year for that money.  Especially with the guards on the team in flux.  And with center Bryan Stork now being shelved for several weeks as of today’s move to short term IR-designated to return.

*Spygate, Deflategate, any f’n gate.  Enough already.  Now ESPN is dredging up crap from years ago to fill the void?  There of course is no proof of any of the allegations and accusations.  A lot of “former unnamed” players and “anonymous sources”.  Please.  Sounds like some disgruntled former employees maybe?  Hearsay?  Speculation?  On top of that, some of the allegations seem to be pure gamesmanship…stuff that every organization does.  Just silly.  Please stop.

The Patriots have been an extremely successful organization since the Kraft family bought the team.  They show no signs of slowing down.  Seems to me a lot of this stuff has arisen because of them being at the top.  Nowhere to go but down.

It’s about time people remember for the first 30-plus years of their existence they were pretty much the laughingstock of the league.  Doormats (1990, 1-15, the outstanding “Rod Rust era”).  Scandals (Lisa Olson and Zeke Mowatt anyone?).  Victims of horrible calls (see:  Sugar Bear Hamilton, 1976).  Coaches taking new jobs and getting suspended before the last regular season game in which they actually made the playoffs (no, not Bill Parcells in 1997, but Chuck Fairbanks in 1978).  Matt Millen punching GM Pat Sullivan in the head.  The Sullivan’s in general.  James Orthwein threatening to move the team to St. Louis.  Victor Kiam.  The trouncing by the Bears in their first ever Super Bowl.  Darryl Stingley being paralyzed.  I could go on…that’s just what came to the top of my head.

So enough of all this garbage.  Time to go back to focusing on the real criminals in the league…the McDonalds’, Hardy’s, Rice’s and all those guys that have done legitimate harm.  But that would be too easy, I guess…

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