December 10, 2013
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Monday, January 12, 2009
Twenty-eight voters left Rickey off, so we have both his election percentage and a nice read on the insanity level of the BBWAA.
I've said all I really care to say about it. Feel free to comment until your heart's content in the comments.
In my past life (read: the job I had until a little over a week ago) I occasionally represented clients who were subject to federal criminal investigations. All of these guys were under the microscope for a year or more, having their records subpoenaed, having their phones tapped, and having their friends and neighbors interviewed by IRS and FBI agents. I'd try to keep tabs of the investigations as best I could, occasionally even calling the U.S. Attorney or an agent to try and figure out what, if anything, was going on. Mostly, however, we heard silence from the government.
I later learned that the silence was a good thing in that you usually heard the leaks and the crowing when the feds started getting comfy with the idea of indicting your client's butt. Kind of like what we're hearing from the team investigating Roger Clemens now:
A federal grand jury has convened in Washington, D.C., to determine whether to indict seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens for lying under oath to Congress when he denied taking performance-enhancing drugs, ESPN.com has learned.
Ya never do.
Here's a fun passage from the story:
Barry Bonds, a seven-time MVP, was indicted last year on perjury and obstruction of justice charges stemming from his 2003 grand jury testimony in which he denied knowingly taking illegal performance-enhancing drugs. Bonds is scheduled for trial this March in San Francisco.
Perjury ain't exactly murder one, but companion Bonds-Clemens trials would be absolutely huge, if for no other reason than it will totally kill the MLB-backed narrative that the Mitchell Report marked the end of the Steroid Era. Sure, the Barry Bonds trial has been on the docket for a long time, but there's something dissatisfying about making him the sole repository for anti-PED sentiment. There's personal baggage for one thing in that since everyone hated him when he played, there will always be a sense that to kill Barry any more than he has already been killed is piling on. There's also the issue of race which, while I don't see any relevance, causes many people to pull their punches, I think.
Pair Bonds' trial with Clemens, however, and a much more appealing narrative emerges. One in which all of baseball's sins can be more conveniently piled on Bonds' and Clemens' shoulders. One in which hitter is paired with pitcher, villain paired with (until recently) hero. Black paired with white.
It's a story that most writers and historians will be unable to resist.
I don't know that much about Cuban baseball, but given the decline Cuba's economy and quality of life since the collapse of the Soviet Union -- not to mention the defections -- it would certainly not surprise me if the quality and vibrancy of the game had declined as well. Strong social forces are at play! Perhaps an allegory for life in Cuba can be found in the example of Cuban baseball! Quick! Someone! Give me a big fat social treatise on the subject:
Ernesto Morilla, a wiry 86-year-old who played professional baseball in the early 1950s, knows what ails Cuba's national pastime.
Old men complaining about young men not taking the game seriously? Hmm, maybe things in Cuba are exactly the same as they are everywhere else.
One of the best things about blogging is that I've met a lot of smart and interesting people. Well, sort of met them in that way you meet people on the Internet. Commenters and emailers and folks like that. Even better, is that since I've started this blog, a handful of these folks have started baseball blogs of their own or revived blogs they already had before. In my more immodest moments it makes me feel like The Dark Knight inspiring the Sons of Batman. In reality, it's probably more a matter of "hey, if that idiot can write a blog, so can I." Either way, I like the results.
I link to these guys on occasion, but probably not enough given how much support they've given me. To rectify this, I'm going to start a semi-regular feature in which I take a brief whirl through the general ShysterBallosphere to remind folks that there's a lot of good stuff being written out on there on the long tail. I will probably leave someone out when I run these things, but since it's going to be semi-regular, no sweat -- just shoot me an email and I'll do my best to get to your blog next time. Anyway:
Bloggers are often accused of being derivative and we all do our fair share of blockquoting. That said, I've never seen a blogger simply lift an entire story like that with essentially no attempt at giving attribution or obtaining permission. The folks at WTVH and others like them who would take the work of others and pass it off as their own had best be careful. The Sons of Batman are watching.
They're going to announce the inductees shortly. For what it's worth, I will be happy to see Rickey make it, I'd be happy to see Blyleven make it -- even if I can't bring myself to characterize his exclusion thus far as a grave injustice like so many have -- and I'm realistic enough to know that Trammell won't, probably ever. I figure Rice will make it, and that will make me frown a bit, but I'm simply not going to get worked up over it like so many have in the past year or so. I don't figure Jack Morris will make it either, and I feel pretty much the same about him as a I do Jim Rice. Blah if they're in there, but it's not going to keep me awake at night if they are.
The reason for my lack of strong feelings in either direction comes from the realization that the Hall of Fame is not perfect, never was, and never will be. From Sam Mellinger's latest article:
Whatever, there are all-time greats who need to buy a ticket like the rest of us to get in — 21 men who made eight or more All-Star Games and are eligible for induction are not in. There are guys who won multiple MVP and Cy Young awards who remain unelected, some barely getting a look.
How much stock can we place in an institution that casts Bill Freehan out with just two votes? Not a lot, so forgive me if I am reluctant to engage in an argument over the reasonableness or lack of reasonableness of a vote in either direction. Great for Rickey, sad for Alan, but at the end of the day they loom no less large in my consciousness based on what some scribe thought of them five years or more after they quit playing.
I have a Hall of Fame in my head. Everyone in it belongs there, including Bill Freehan. Everyone who isn't does not, and I tolerate no lobbying whatsoever. It's pretty simple, really.
Jack Curry notes that, before Manny was Manny, Rickey was Rickey:
Before Manny was Manny, Rickey was Rickey. If ever there were two players who were kindred spirits, they are Manny Ramirez and Rickey Henderson. Henderson was talented and distinctive, a walking, talking baseball entertainer. Ramirez does not talk as much, but he entertains in his own goofy way, too . . .
Biggest difference: I don't recall Henderson ever quitting on his team like Manny did last season. And no, I don't consider a game of hearts after one is out of the game to be quitting on one's team.
I missed this when it ran last week -- probably because I don't get the MLB Network and thus ignored much of the discussion of it out of spite -- but King Kaufman had some really interesting observations about the Don Larsen game and hitting in the 1950s:
The biggest difference I noticed was the approach of the batters. They were all over the place in the box before the pitch. Hitters today tend to be very still. They have their wiggles and timing devices, but for the most part, once the ball is coming, the best hitters waste little motion. They shift their weight, rotate their hips and -- wham! -- whip the bat through the strike zone.
In this same vein, I wonder why wool in the summer lasted so long.
(link via someone's comment in this BTF thread on another excellent King Kaufman article)
Jeff Moorad purchasing the Padres is a weird looking deal. For one thing it came together so fast. The Tribune Company couldn't even change the toner on the printer that spits out the Cubs' offer sheets in the time it took this whole deal to materialize.
A second odd thing is that despite this being characterized as a sale in every article I've read, John Moores is still going to be running this team for some time:
John Moores will remain as majority owner of the Padres for three or four years, even if the ongoing negotiations with a Jeff Moorad-led group yields an agreement, according to major league sources.
So Moores is still going to call the shots and still be Selig's man in San Diego. I'm no expert, but from where I'm sitting, this is less a sale than it is a simple cash infusion for the Padres. I wonder if Moorad's bid would have been approved if he actually wanted to run the team now. I kind of doubt it, and all of this strikes me as Moorad being allowed to enter a kind of ownership training program in exchange for bailing out the cash poor Moores. As everyone knows, the impetus for the sale is Moores' divorce. In light of Moores selling but kinda not really selling, I wonder if the Mrs. Moores divorce attorneys won't try to blow up or at least slow down this deal so that they might determine if any financial shenanigans are involved.
So if Moorad isn't going to come in and sit in the owner's suite on day one, what will he be doing? I'm not sure, but you can bet it will look a lot like what Sandy Alderson does right now:
Major league executives expect CEO Sandy Alderson to leave the Padres at some point this year if Jeff Moorad takes over the front office.
Alderson is a freakin' genius, so that's a real shame. People more familiar with the Padres can opine on the practical fallout of his departure better than I can. I will say, however, that blogger/assistant GM Paul DePodesta had best be careful. My old supervisor had no problem with my blog, but all that changed when a new guy came in. DePo is a cool guy. It would be a shame for him to get Dooced.
The Rangers asked Michael Young to move to third to make room for prospect Elvis Andrus. Since Young is a team leader, a team player, and a gamer, he gladly obliged, and vowed to move his locker next to Andrus' so that he could mentor the lad as he makes his way through his first season in the bigs.
Just kidding, he flipped out and demanded a trade:
The Texas Rangers are exploring trade options for five-time All-Star shortstop Michael Young at the player's request after he became upset about the team's plan to move him to third base . . .
Guess that's not the case anymore. Hmmm . . . I thought the reason the Rangers hired Nolan Ryan was so he could beat the snot out of players who misbehave like this.
Anyway, my guess is that Young's change of heart is based on the Gold Glove he was inexplicably awarded last season and that he now believes his own press clippings. That's meaningless of course -- the GG voters once gave one to a DH -- but if Young believes that such hardware makes him too valuable to move, maybe some GM out there believes it makes him valuable too and will thus be willing to take Young and his obscene contract off Jon Daniels' hands.
As I enter my second week of unemployment, I am starting to disconnect from reality. My beard is bushy and mighty. I've created fanciful fictitious lives for the people I see walking dogs in my neighborhood, and I'm thinking about creating lives for the dogs as well. One note of practical concern is that I'm beginning to lose track of the days, so if it's Sunday and I've just forgot, consider all of today's posts as a nice little bonus as opposed to a monument to my growing cabin fever and insanity, deal?
OK, in the time it took you to read all of that, I've realized that (1) yes, it is Monday; and (2) now that Bob Barker is retired there is absolutely nothing to look forward to about being at home on a weekday.