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Jim Furtado
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Friday, November 20, 2015

Aschburner: With Hall of Fame Changes, Baseball Gets Political


Of the 549 BBWAA members who cast ballots for the Class of 2015, 231—a pretty decent sample size for our purposes—agreed to “go public” by having their names and votes listed on the association’s Web site. Ninety-nine were honorary (retired) members, the other 132 still active in covering the game.

Bonds (36.8 percent overall in the actual Hall election) and Clemens (37.5), in their third year of eligibility, each received about half of the 75 percent approval needed for enshrinement. Given the monstrous statistics they posted and their on-field deeds, such lukewarm support indicates how gravely many voters have taken their betrayal of the game.

But if we break that down by class of voter, a trend emerges. Of those who released their ballots to the BBWAA’s own Web site, only 25 of 99 honorary members (25.3 percent) voted for Bonds, compared to 69 of 132 active members (52.3). Clemens’ support showed a similar gap, 25.3 percent versus 51.5.

Bagwell likewise had more backers among active members, getting 68.9 percent from them to 57.6 percent “yea” votes from honorary ones. As for Piazza, he would have been inducted in August with Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, and Craig Biggio if determined solely by the current writers. They backed the former Dodgers and Mets catcher at an 83.3 percent rate, compared to 68.7 percent from honorary voters.

The pattern is likely to gain traction, too, as more honorary members lose their votes each year and additional newer writers qualify. Understandably, even media people want to see their particular generation of stars validated, those players they watched and covered. The Hall obviously has plenty of financial and institutional skin in the game. It needs baseball heroes on the stage for its annual induction ceremony, fresh plaques for its standing-room-only attendance all summer. And it soon might run low on the cleanest candidates, though Ken Griffey Jr. is expected to sail in this year without much whiff of cheating.

JE (Jason) Posted: November 20, 2015 at 07:34 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: bbwaa,, hall of fame, peds, steroids, voting

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Washington Post: Kilgore: Manny Still Being Manny

It’s not Theo. It’s not Maddon. It’s Manny!

The Cubs view Ramirez as equal parts sage, hitting instructor and life coach, particularly for the club’s stable of young Latin players. He has been especially crucial for Soler, who does not have access to his family and speaks little English. Players notice Ramirez roaming with the Latin contingent at the ballpark and away from it.

“Manny has done a wonderful job in the background,” Cubs Manager Joe Maddon said. “A lot of it has to do with our young Hispanic players. He does a great job with them. He does a great job in general, but I’ve always been a big believer in the Hispanic culture regarding having a coach specific to that group who they could really relate to. … I watch what he does. I don’t just stare him down, but I know what he’s doing all the time. And it’s been pretty special.”

Ramirez serves in part as an interpreter between Cubs hitting coach John Mallee and the team’s Latin players. Ramirez can chime in with his own advice, and he has the understanding of both language and hitting to translate Mallee’s message.

Seems like he’s a real asset. Unless everyone tests positive for PEDs in the middle of the NLCS. Probably not likely, but .  .  .

The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 17, 2015 at 03:44 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: batting, chicago cubs, hitting coaches, manny ramirez, peds, religion, sage

Thursday, September 17, 2015


I guess in his view the drop in homers since testing started is purely coincidental.

Those leading the PED witch hunts now have to cope with the fact that the Brewers’ right fielder hasn’t tanked post-PEDs. This poses significant problems for the PED narrative. How does one hold that Braun’s numbers during his prime were a sham, now that he’s once again performing near his career norms? Does one plug one’s ears and ignore this season? Does one push in all the chips and baselessly assert that he must be back on the juice? How does one pick and choose which negatively-testing players are actually positive without defaulting to dislike or he fits the narrative?

Jim Furtado Posted: September 17, 2015 at 11:24 AM | 57 comment(s)
  Beats: peds, ryan braun

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Nightengale: Without a doubt, David Ortiz is a Hall of Famer

Oh sure, he has played most of his career, 87% of his games as a DH, but then again, Hall of Famer Frank Thomas played 56% of his games as a DH.

The real separator for Ortiz, just in case anyone still has their doubts, is his playoff resume.

He has dominated the postseason, winning three World Series championships for the Red Sox. He hit .295 with a .409 on-base percentage and .553 slugging percentage in 82 postseason games. Oh yeah, and he was the MVP of the 2013 World Series and 2004 ALCS.

If you want to punish him for the anonymous, confidential drug test, which he insists was simply careless buying nutrients, it’s simply wrong. He wasn’t even buying androstenedione, the performance-enhancing drug Piazza and McGwire admitted to taking, which had not yet been banned by baseball.

Stop the nonsense.

I think that voters will probably end up applying a standard based on smoking guns (i.e. Papi’s failed test or Pettitte’s admission of the veracity of Mitchell vs mere conjecture for Bagwell or Piazza.) As to Ortiz’s candidacy, it’s virtually impossible to tell the story of early 21st century baseball without him and that’s as good a reason as any. I’m surprised Edgar Martinez doesn’t come up more in DH discussions.



Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: September 13, 2015 at 10:16 AM | 160 comment(s)
  Beats: 500, big papi, david ortiz, hall of fame, hof, peds, red sox, steroids

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Alex Rodriguez deserves to be an All-Star, but ...

If A-Rod was at least part of the Final Vote, you could see a real horse race.

A week ago, I had a conversation with Robinson Cano about the All-Star Game. He told me that he believed A-Rod should be lauded by Major League Baseball and the crowd in Cincinnati for his career achievements — similar to Mariano Rivera in 2013 and Derek Jeter last year. That’s unrealistic, of course, because A-Rod is not beloved like Rivera and Jeter (for a variety of reasons). But A-Rod is respected by many of his peers in the major leagues, including stars like Cano; among them, the notion of a salute to A-Rod is not absurd at all.

And yet, here are two reasons I won’t express outrage at A-Rod’s exclusion from the Midsummer Classic:
1. The fans had their chance to vote him in. If they truly wanted him there, he would have finished higher than fifth among AL designated hitters — more than 7 million votes behind Cruz.
A-Rod got into a beef with A’s pitcher Dallas Braden during an April 2010 game in Oakland. Trying to go from first to third on what proved to be a foul ball, A-Rod takes a shortcut back to first — across the pitcher’s mound. “The long and short of it is it’s pretty much baseball etiquette,” Braden said. “... I was just dumbfounded that he would let that slip his mind.’’ “He just told me to get off his mound,’’ Rodriguez responded. “I was a little surprised. I’ve never quite heard that, especially from a guy that has a handful of wins in his career. ‘’ The next month, Braden tossed a perfect game and his grandma had a few words for A-Rod.

2. If A-Rod had been named to the All-Star team, he’d dominate much of the pregame discussion in Cincinnati. Would the debate draw greater attention to this year’s Midsummer Classic? Perhaps. But it would drain plenty of oxygen from what people who love the game should be discussing: the tremendous influx of young talent to the sport.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 08, 2015 at 08:37 AM | 70 comment(s)
  Beats: alex rodriguez, all-star game, peds, yankees



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