Showing posts with label Baseball Hall of Fame. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Baseball Hall of Fame. Show all posts

Monday, June 18, 2012

Roger Clemens Got Away With It Again

I guess a congratulations is due to Roger Clemens for, somehow, being found not guilty.

This is not the same as being found innocent, and it is certainly not the same as being found not a douchebag. But, here's the thing--in America, when a jury says your are not guilty, then you're not guilty. I always thought that this case would hinge on the fact that the only person who had a worse character defect than Clemens was his accuser, Brian McNamee. But, the kicker was supposed to be Andy Pettite. If they failed to believe Petitte, then there really was no case. It would have been better to avoid a trial and let the stench of it all hang over Clemens, which is what hangs over Mark McGwire right now.

Roger Clemens is still a liar, a cheater, and a douchebag. Ask Mindy McCready. And he has no business going into the Hall of Fame, either. His money bought him a not guilty verdict. And, for that, I suppose we should be questioning the justice system, but we will not.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Barry Bonds Reputation Rehabilitation Tour Gets Off to a False Start

There is going to be an effort mounted out there in the sports writing world to rehabilitate the reputation of Barry Bonds, and I'm not having any of it.

Bonds should be stripped of his records and banished from baseball. Outside of San Francisco, this is an idea that probably has some support. I don't know. I do know one thing--there is a home run king in baseball, and it is still Hank Aaron.

Michael Rosenberg has this to say at the end of his piece:
But we will (hopefully) have Bonds around for the next few decades, in and out of All-Star Game salutes and ceremonial first pitches and whatever else he gets to do. He didn't create the steroid era and wasn't its worst offender. After all, he was on a Hall of Fame track before the time he apparently dabbled in the stuff.
If that doesn't read like one of the most pathetically transparent and dishonest things ever written about Bonds, I don't know what does. Bonds is a toxic presence in baseball. How are you going to justify having him appear at these ceremonies in the future when he should have been banned from baseball? How are you going to say he wasn't the "worst offender" when he used performance enhancing drugs to attain the most coveted record in baseball?

We're not talking about a clown like Jose Canseco or Rafael Palmiero. We're talking about Barry Bonds. Of the three main figures tainted by the steroids scandal, Bonds is the most prominent. The other two, Roger Clemens and Mark McGwire, labor in legal limbo or obscurity right now.

This is where Bonds should be. And we're talking about the Hall of Fame?

For these three?


Friday, June 4, 2010

Baseball's Crap Sandwich of a Week

There are really two posts here, but I'll talk about them as one subject. Baseball has had a really, really crappy week.

The end of Ken Griffey Jr.'s career in baseball is the biggest news, and the way that Griffey went out is sad and pathetic. He should have been evaluated in spring training and asked to retire before the season got off to a start. If they knew then that he wasn't hitting, why subject him to an April and a May of misery?

This is an example of terrible managing. Griffey may have wanted to work through these issues, but a real manager would have evaluated his potential as a contributor and gone from there. Baseball is the least sentimental of sports. If you can't play, you get off the roster. No team can afford to carry dead weight. Griffey is a first round lock on the Hall of Fame. Anything less is a travesty. He is a poster child for playing the game the right way.

This is the least surprising story, however:
Commissioner Bud Selig won't reverse an umpire's admitted blown call that cost Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game.
[+] EnlargeJim Joyce
AP Photo/Paul Sancya
Umpire Jim Joyce tries to explain himself to Tigers players after his missed call cost pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game Wednesday. Joyce's call will stand, commissioner Bud Selig said.
Selig said Thursday that Major League Baseball will look at expanded replay and umpiring, but didn't specifically address umpire Jim Joyce's botched call Wednesday night.
A baseball official familiar with the decision confirmed to The Associated Press that the call was not being reversed. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because that element was not included in Selig's statement.
Joyce said he erred on what would've been the final out in Detroit, where theTigers beat Cleveland 3-0. The umpire personally apologized to Galarraga and hugged him after the game, then took the field at Comerica Park on Thursday in tears.
"It was the biggest call of my career, and I kicked the [stuff] out of it," a distraught Joyce said Wednesday night. "I just cost that kid a perfect game."
Detroit general manager Dave Dombrowski had said the team wouldn't ask MLB to overturn the call. The mistake denied Galarraga the 21st perfect game in history, and the first for the Tigers.

Bud Selig isn't about to lead or do what is in the best interests of baseball. Bud Selig will never make the fans happy and he will never do anything that will make people want to watch baseball. The continued success of the sport is in spite of, and certainly not because of, his tenure as the corporate enabler of Baseball Inc. If baseball's anti-trust exemption ended tomorrow, I would be ecstatic. If the government of the United States were to step in and appoint a commissioner of baseball who answers to no one, fine and dandy.
What he will do is this: he will prevent a young pitcher from gaining immortality in order to downplay the fact that the steroid era, which is now over, really was a travesty against baseball. Rather than throw out the tainted statistics and records attained by dozens, if not hundreds of players, Selig is going to prevent the attention from being focused on the fact that pitching has improved because hitters are no longer juiced. Selig is going to prevent a young man from getting his perfect game so that the team he plays for does not have to pay him more money.
Until and unless the steroid era is effectively dealt with--which begins with throwing out everything Barry Bonds has done since the late 1990s and restoring the home run records to Roger Maris and Hank Aaron--forget it. Cheating is cheating, but perfection is perfection.
Armando Gallaraga is better than the sport he plays.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Tell Me Something I Didn't Already Know, Mr. Mark McGwire

How sad:
Mark McGwire finally came clean, admitting he used steroids when he broke baseball’s home run record in 1998.

McGwire said in a statement sent to The Associated Press on Monday that he used steroids on and off for nearly a decade. During a 20-minute telephone interview shortly afterward, his voice repeatedly cracked.

“It’s very emotional, it’s telling family members, friends and coaches, you know, it’s former teammates to try to get a hold of, you know, that I’m coming clean and being honest,” he said. “It’s the first time they’ve ever heard me, you know, talk about this. I hid it from everybody.”
To me, it doesn't matter. The records are tainted. His record is now tainted. His statistics mean nothing to me. I wish Mr. McGwire well, but, as a fan of the game of baseball, I can more easily go on ignoring his career and contribution to the game. The things that legitimate players did mean more to me, and they should be heralded even more so now that there's no doubt about McGwire.

How do you think it feels to be someone like Harmon Killebrew--a man who didn't need steroids--to regard these small, weak men and their inability to tell the truth? Killebrew sits ten home runs below McGwire and the equally reprehensible Alex Rodriguez. When is 573 more than 583? When it comes to home runs hit by a man who was NOT a walking example of fraud.

Killebrew probably has far too much class to say as much as I have. Hank Aaron? Too much class. I would really like to have heard Ted Williams and Mickey Mantle speak to this subject, I really would. Killebrew's numbers now mean more than anything McGwire has done. The stock of old hitters like him just shot through the roof.

McGwire has his lawyers to flog, however:
Big Mac’s reputation has been in tatters since March 17, 2005, when he refused to answer questions at a Congressional hearing. Instead, he repeatedly said “I’m not here to talk about the past” when asked whether he took illegal steroids when he hit a then-record 70 home runs in 1998 or at any other time.

“After all this time, I want to come clean,” he said. “I was not in a position to do that five years ago in my congressional testimony, but now I feel an obligation to discuss this and to answer questions about it. I’ll do that, and then I just want to help my team.”

McGwire said he wanted to tell the truth then but evaded questions at that hearing on the advice of his lawyers.

That's right, Mr. McGwire. It's all because of the lawyers. Everyone who has a major character deficiency should remember that doozy of a lie.

After all of this time--and being rejected, soundly, for admission in the Baseball Hall of Fame--McGwire is coming clean because he has no other options. Why isn't there talk of a lifetime ban? Why should McGwire be allowed to coach? Why are his statistics not being stricken from the baseball record? I guess that's how things are in the Bud Selig era of juiceball.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Congratulations, Andre Dawson

I'm happy for Andre Dawson. I'm sad for Bert Blyleven, and I don't care about Mark McGwire and his paltry 128 delusional votes:
In one of the tightest elections ever, Andre Dawson was the only player elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America .

"I really can't explain the elation," Dawson told MLB Network. "It's the greatest feeling an individual can have."

Dawson received 77.9 percent of the vote, just above the 75 percent needed for enshrinement. Bert Blyleven got 74.2 percent, missing election by just five votes. Roberto Alomar, widely expected to be a shoo-in, finished third with 73.7 percent. Jack Morris and Barry Larkin were the only other players to top 50 percent.

Dawson was the 1977 National League Rookie of the Year with the Montreal Expos and the 1987 NL MVP with the Chicago Cubs. He made eight All-Star teams and won eight Gold Glove awards in his 21-year career spent with the Expos, Cubs, Red Sox and Marlins. Despite 12 knee surgeries, Dawson finished with 438 home runs and 1,591 RBIs. He joins Barry Bonds and Willie Mays as the only players with 400 home runs and 300 stolen bases.

Dawson had receieved at least 50 percent of the vote in all but one of his eight previous years on the ballot and had 67.9 percent in 2009.

Blyleven received 62.7 percent of the vote last year. Every player who has gotten 70 percent of the vote in a given year without being elected has eventually been voted in.

The increase for Blyleven, from 62.7 to 74.2 is a huge jump, but it was just short of what he needed. Don't fret--Blyleven has eligibility next year and in 2012 (if I read that right). He'll make it.

Today is about Andre Dawson, however, and he deserves congratulations and praise.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Put Bert Blyleven in the Hall of Fame

I heartily agree with Mr. Bert Blyleven's own case as expressed here:
When talk of my Hall of Fame candidacy comes up, usually people like to point at my career win total of 287 as a reason I shouldn’t be elected to Cooperstown. The so-called magic number of wins for automatic induction is said to be 300, and obviously I come up short in that department.

But in my opinion, wins are one of the hardest things to come by, and a pitcher can only do so much to control whether he wins a game. You can control your walks, you can control your strikeouts and your innings pitched. You can control whether you go nine innings by the way you approach a game. But one thing you often can’t control is wins and losses. It’s very difficult.

When I first came up in 1970 at age 19, I won my first game 2-1. My second game I lost 2-1. So after two starts, I had allowed three runs in 14 innings (1.93 ERA), but was just 1-1. That just shows you how hard it is, and it made me work harder. Maybe that’s why I was able to pitch 22 seasons in the majors, because I was so stubborn.

If you allow one run, but your team doesn’t score any runs, then you can’t earn the win. If your bullpen gives up a lead after you leave the game, then you can’t earn a win. Wins are a product of your team as a whole, and while the starting pitcher plays a significant role in who wins the game, he is not the only factor. The starter can only control so much.

Case in point: I lost 99 quality starts (at least six innings pitched while allowing no more than three runs) in my career, more than all but four pitchers since 1954. And I had 79 other quality starts in which I had no-decisions. That’s 178 quality starts in which I did not earn a win, yet people knock me for coming up 13 wins shy of 300.

Clearly, wins is a flawed stat, and I think observers of baseball are beginning to realize that. After all, this year’s Cy Young winners were Zack Greinke (16 wins) and Tim Lincecum (15). Both are great pitchers and deserving of the award, but neither led their league in wins.

One thing a pitcher can control is how far he lasts in each start. The better you pitch, the longer you last. This saves wear and tear on your bullpen, which in turn helps the starters who follow you in the rotation. Every time you pitch a complete game, your team benefits. That’s why I think complete games and shutouts are better stats to look at than wins.

I made 685 starts in my 22 seasons, and threw 242 complete games, so I went the distance in 35.3 percent of my starts. Compare that to Hall of Fame pitchers from my era and I stack up well. Phil Niekro completed 34 percent of his starts, Nolan Ryan 29 percent, Tom Seaver 35.7 percent and Steve Carlton 35.8 percent. Ferguson Jenkins (45 percent) and Gaylord Perry (44 percent) were the most impressive from my era in that department.

Wins are a tough statistic to consider in baseball. But for a few timely runs, and a little bit better run support, Blyleven would easily have over 320 wins and would have been in the Hall of Fame years ago. This is not a case where he, as a pitcher, didn't start enough games. It's more a case of having to have played on some teams that had anemic hitting. Just the fact that he pitched 242 complete games is enough by me. That's an amazing feat, one that you won't see in the future. Mr. Blyleven deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. Period. End of story.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The End of the Greg Maddux Era

Friday night, it was revealed that pitcher Greg Maddux was retiring:
Greg Maddux has thrown his last pitch.

The four-time Cy Young winner will announce his retirement Monday at the baseball winter meetings, near his home in Las Vegas.
Maddux, who turns 43 in April, ranks eighth on the career wins list with 355. He went 8-13 with a 4.22 ERA last season with the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Maddux made three relief appearances in the playoffs for the Dodgers this year -- he had an 0.00 ERA over four innings -- and then filed for free agency amid speculation he would retire.

Maddux leaves baseball after the worst scandal in its history--the steroids scandal, of course--and is a testament to winning clean. Unless someone proves Maddux was doctoring the ball with voodoo, he will go down as one of the best pitchers in the history of the game, easily, and get into the Hall of Fame the first year that he is eligible. If Maddux stays retired--and if baseball keeps Roger Clemens from returning--he will finish his career exactly one game AHEAD of Clemens in career wins--but a million miles ahead of Clemens in class, dignity and honesty.