Who Made The BBWAA The Moral Compass Of Baseball ?

 

 

The smoke from the Hall of Fame voting is still smoldering this morning as baseball fans are still venting outrage over the BBWAA sending none of the candidates to the induction day ceremony. There will be an induction day ceremony though as umpire Hank O’Day, one time owner of the NY Highlanders, Jacob Ruppert and Deadball Era player Deacon White were selected by the Veterans’ Committee for hall enshrinement. I sure hope those gentleman have big families who will show up at Cooperstown and spend some money so the shopkeeper, restaurateurs , and inn keepers can turn some kind of profit now that the BBWAA has ruined their big money making weekend.

My anger at the voting committee comes from a few different angles.  The use of speculation other than facts when declaring who is a PED user and who isn’t is some of the most absurd logic I’ve ever heard outside of the U.S. Congress. The same folks who sit in baseball press boxes playing Words with Friends and updating their Facebook status are now the moral compass of baseball.  Are you fucking kidding? I’d love to know how many of these scribes have ever padded their expense accounts. Oh sure none of them, yeah right not a “cheater” in the bunch.  The BBWAA is the same body who voted Barry Bonds 7 MVP awards and Roger Clemens 7 Cy Young’s AND  an MVP but now have decided it’s time to punish them for using performance enhancing drugs?  Again, are you fucking kidding me?

My position on the use of PED’s has chanced just a bit. I’ve gone from “who gives a shit attitude” to the game as it’s played today with drug testing or as best as can be expected drug testing, is a much better game. I still stand by my claim that those who used PED’s when there were no rules in baseball against them are not cheaters. To me you’re a cheater if you break a rule or regulation and at the height of the Steroid Era there was nothing in the governing rules of baseballs that forbid the use of enhancing drugs,  same as there were no rules about the use of Amphetamines or Lasik surgery both of which help in performance enhancement. 

As the years have gone on I found that I’m glad drug testing is in place, even though it’s not foolproof and hasn’t stop some knuckleheads from using PED’s but the game is a better played game now than during the so called “Steroid Era”. MLB was coming off the abbreviated 1994 season due to a work stoppage that canceled the World Series and spilled over to the first month of the 1995 season; MLB had a real mess on their hands. So whether it was juicing the baseball or turning away from juicing players no one, writers and media included turned a blind eye to the McGwire-Sosa home run battle of 1998 or to Bonds who demolished baseball records with ridiculous digits and won 4 straight MVP awards as he grew to the size of a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Balloon.

As a Mets fan I’m totally pissed off because as most Mets fans, I thought the organization was waiting for Piazza to make it to the HOF as to have a Mike Piazza Day at Citi Field. I was looking forward to seeing a number retirement ceremony along with induction into the Mets HOF and maybe a nice fan giveaway of a DVD of Mike Piazza’s Greatest Hits. If I’m the Mets (oh how I wish) I would still hold a day for Piazza this season complete with all the festivities I just mentioned plus a giveaway of a big foam hand with a middle finger sticking out and the letters BBWAA written on it from top to bottom. If Mets management wanted to have a day where Citi Field would be packed to the gills and be able to sell tickets at a high premium price, then schedule a Mike Piazza Day this season.

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My BBA Hall of Fame Ballot

As a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, every year we cast our Hall of Fame ballot to compare our results with those of the Baseball Writers Association of America.  I’m pretty sure my ballot is a lot different from many in the BBWAA who enjoy going on witch hunts rather doing real honest to goodness research on the candidates.  Without further ado here is the ballot I just cast:

Mike Piazza

Only someone seeking attention would NOT cast a vote for Piazza, and this is coming from someone who is not overly found of the former Mets catcher. But I won’t let that cloud my view that Piazza was not only the best hitting catcher of his era but he was one of the best right handed hitters as well. The majority of BBWAA members who vow not to vote for Piazza because the suspect he was a PED user, even though they have no proof whatsoever except for their short attention minds, the same short attention minds that feel playing Words with Friends in a big league press box is more fun than actually watching the game they are being paid to cover, are just making ass’ of themselves.  Piazza is a without a doubt first ballot Hall of Famer.

Jeff Bagwell

Again no proof of being a juicer but the voters of the BBWAA get their rocks off snubbing him on the ballot.  His lifetime slashes of .297/.408/.540/.948 is certainly Hall worthy and when you add in the power (449 HR), speed (202 SB and only 78 CS) and defense, Bagwell was the total package as a ballplayer.

Craig Biggio

The other half of the Astros Killer B’s his 3,060 hits makes him an automatic

Barry Bonds

All of the main streamers hate Bonds and will hold off voting for him due to PED’s even without proof (remember Bonds was guilty of perjury the only charge the government could get to stick and made sure the tax payers of California paid a lot of money that could have went to building schools or hospitals to convict Bonds) but they voted him the MVP 7 times including 4 times during the Era of Taint.

Roger Clemens

I’ve come from not giving a shit about who took PED’s to today where I feel the game is much better and more enjoyable than it was during the Steroid Era. I still don’t feel the players who took PED’s were cheaters since my definition of a cheater is someone who breaks the rules and at the time there were no rules in MLB or in the CBA that said use of PED’s by players were against the rules. Players have taken narcotics and stimulants since the beginning of baseball time to get an advantage same as when players corked bats or went for Lasik surgery to better their eye sight, every athlete looks for an edge. Add in that the Steroid Era followed the cancelling of the second half of the 1994 season along with playoffs and World Series due to labor strife, the game needed something to bring back disgruntled paying customers and I’m still not convinced it wasn’t a juiced ball as much as juiced players . Even before the Era of Taint, Clemens was a Hall of Famer and with 354 Wins, 4,672 K and 7 Cy Young Awards, even though I hate ya’ Roger I gotta respect ya!

Tim Raines

One of the most exciting and better players of his era Raines was right there with Andre Dawson and Gary Carter as the cog that ran the Montreal Expos of the 1980’s. Raines stole an amazing 808 bases and was caught just 146 times in his 23 year career and was an on base machine.

Allan Trammell

Trammell could always find a way to get on base or hit you a Home Run or steal a base while playing a stellar shortstop.

Jack Morris

Hey Bill Madden I saw Jack Morris play and he was damn good. If Morris were a Highlander for most of his career, Madden would have pleaded with his fellow BBWAA members to get him Hall of Fame enshrinement.

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MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE

Famous Last Words

One  of the great topics for debate when it comes to team sports is how much does team chemistry play in making a difference between a winning or losing team.  There are many who believe team chemistry is a bunch of bullshit and it’s mostly those in the sabermetric segment of baseball fans who take this position and feel that folks like me who believe in this part of the game are relics of the past and that whether you’re BFF’s with teammates or a big time snob, as long as you produce on the field that’s what counts. In some ways they’re right, Jeff Francouer had a million dollar smile and a ten cent approach at the plate while he was with the Mets.  Barry Bonds was one miserable prick in the Giants clubhouse but he is still considered one the best baseball players of all time (I’ll leave the PED discussion for another time) but there is still something about having a group of people who have the same goal, winning and will do whatever has to be done to achieve that goal. When you have that collective mind set, I feel you have a greater shot of being a winning team than if you have a team that is just a collection of talent who worry about their 2 for 4 day and their statistical resume than winning games.

I bring this up because of four teams I’ve watched over the last month or so, two teams that have that “team chemistry” one that doesn’t and one I think will have it.

I’m a Boston Celtics fan and if there is a team that thrives on chemistry and is the best case study on the subject it’s the C’s. For the bulk of his career, Paul Pierce was the best the Celtics had to offer but as the losses piled up with exception of a trip to the NBA Finals in 2001, Pierce was ready to bolt Boston until GM Danny Ainge made two deals that put the Celtics back into the forefront of the NBA,  obtaining Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. All three players were All-Stars and future Hall of Famers as well; this melding of talent would either be a big success or a major failure. It’s been a rousing success. All three superstars under the direction of Head Coach Doc Rivers have checked their egos at the locker room door and preached the value of teamwork to their teammates. Ainge also added a great supporting cast who all have the same team first mind set. Garnett uses the term “Ubuntu” which loosely translated from African culture means a sense of community. Yes it helps greatly that the team employs four players who are all time greats and one in Rajon Rando who will be in that same group when his career is over. When you watch the C’s play you know right away what the mission statement is, to win Banner 18 and to do it by any means necessary.

A team that is nowhere near having Ubuntu are the NY Knicks. Here is a team that is just a red hot mess.  The best guy in the entire Knicks organization is the GM Donny Walsh, who took over a disaster of a team, got them below the salary cap for the first since the inception of the cap, who then went out an acquired two superstar players and has made The Garden the mecca of basketball once again. For his hard work and dedication what did Walsh get in return, a knife in his back wielded by the clueless owner of the team Jim Dolan. The head coach Mike D’Antoni preaches offense, offense and more offense with his “7 seconds or less” fast break style. A style that will never win without the player’s ability to play even plausible defense, which the Knicks don’t do.  But the biggest problem with the Knicks is they have two superstars who don’t seem to know how to mesh. Amare Stoudemire was THE show for the bulk of the season with the Knicks. He was the focal point of everything from merchandising to promotion of the team, he was anointed the next great Knickerbocker. As the team had early success the chant of M-V-P cascaded from the fans at MSG, they loved their Amare. But wait, all of a sudden another superstar joined the team, this player was born in Red Hook Brooklyn but raised in Baltimore MD and won a National Championship with Syracuse and did everything in his power to be a Knick. Move over Amare make way for Carmelo Anthony.

Both these star players said all the right things at the ‘Melo presser (the same cannot be said of Dopey Dolan) and the first few games, the duo had Knick fans thinking it was 1970 all over again. But as the season has gone on, we see that both players are still trying to figure out who gets the ball when the game is on the line and how to get the rest of the roster to raise their game and guts to do what it takes to win games. We have seen ‘Melo glare at teammates who haven’t gotten the ball to him in crunch time and we’ve seen Stoudemire wonder what happened to the team he was the leader of and the coach trying to figure out how to appease two big egos. I guess you could say the Knicks lack “team chemistry”

Now the other tenant of MSG , is the exact opposite of their basketball cohabitants.  For long time NY Rangers fans like myself , the best trait of this Ranger team is they never quit and even in losses, it’s hard to get mad as they  are what hockey folks like to say a “lunch pail team” . Not only are they a hard working bunch but for the most part the Rangers roster is mostly home grown.  Ryan Callahan is the captain in waiting along with Brandon Dubinsky, Mark Stahl, Dan Girardi, Derek Stepan  and King Henrik Lundquist  are all setting the tone for big run to the playoffs. No matter what happens in the playoffs, as Ranger fans we have to be pleased that the foundation of the team that will be a Cup contender for awhile has been set.  There is a very good blend of veteran and young players on this Ranger team. When you see teams like the Rangers play as hard as they do, as a fan your proud to say you root for that team. With the NY Rangers you have team and fan chemistry.

That brings me to the NY Mets. If your sole knowledge of the Mets was obtained through the NY beat writers, sports columnists and Twitter, you’d get the impression that this was the worst team in baseball. But if you watch the games and possess an open mind ,you’d come to the realization that the Mets are a pretty good ball club. Are they a World Series contender? Not this year. Will they be better than last year? No question in my mind they will.

There is a lot of familiarity with the players on the roster, most have played together either in the big leagues or in the Mets minor league system. R.A. Dickey had mentioned this during the off season that many of the guys on this team know each other very well. Dickey also mentioned that a baseball clubhouse is just like any work place, some of guys you’re close with and other guys not as close but when you put the same uniform you have that in common and that’s what’s important.

One of the biggest failures of the past front office staff was they let the clubhouse become fractured. The last two mangers seemed to polarize the clubhouse and that led to cliques forming between the players.  You can see this spring that the new regime realizes this has been a problem with the Mets as Terry Collins instituted the Sunday night bowling parties to try to form a bond within the team.

Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not saying if the whole team sat around singing Kumbaya  it will make the Mets a World Series winner, but if the TC and Sandy Alderson can change the climate of that clubhouse and Collins can get the team to buy into a team first mentality, that will be half the battle in getting the Mets winning games. I feel the seeds of that way of thinking have been planted. If the players realize that no matter how much money or how much time you’ve spent as a Met , means nothing  if you don’t produce something positive to the club, you’ll be gone.

Think about it, the past administration went out and brought in talented players at big money contracts and what do they have to show for it? A division championship and two players calling out their teammates for not stepping up and talking to the media (the infamous “they speak English you know” from Bill Wagner and Red Ass LoDuca towards their Latino teammates)   I think this will be a much better clubhouse and a much better Met team than most think. I can’t wait until a week from tomorrow and I really am excited for April 8th and the home opener. Forget about the mess the owners are in, forget about the nay sayers in media worrying about who the Mets fans are going to boo next. I’m not saying we should become a bunch of Pollyanna’s , but this Mets team looks like one we should be rooting for.

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DRIVE BY POSTING

Last week at this time, it was Armageddon outside my house with rain and wind. Today, the sun is shining and the temperature’s soring to the mid-70’s today so this will be a real quickie post as  I’m going out to play, I may even break out the shorts, but before I head out a few items:

Looks like Mike Jacobs is the in line for the 25th spot on the roster as he not only will give Daniel Murphy a run at first base bit he is valuable and an emergency catcher. Jacobs has no problem stepping in if asked to catch, in fact he has order a catchers mitt and is working down in the bullpen to hone his skills. Carlos Delgado was a catcher at one time but he made it known under no circumstances would he go behind the plate.  One more reason why I’m glad Delgado’s gone.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports has a must read column on the shakedown artists at the World Anti-Doping Association who keep trying to embarrass MLB to the point it sends more cash it’s way for the witch hunt of chasing athletes for PED use.  I know the Congress and the President  have a lot on their plate these days but someone needs to reign in the FBI agents wasting money and man power chasing down Barry Bonds, Roger  Clemens and other athletes about their use of PED’s.  You want to say Bonds and Clemens are assholes ? You get no argument from me but if you’re going to start putting people in jail for that then Glen Beck needs to be on Death Row.

Jenry Mejia pitched yesterday and is slated to go again today. Not a good sign if you ask me. Looks like Manuel is pushing for Mejia to join the Mets bullpen when the right move would be to let him start in Buffalo. Also John Maine goes today against the Cardinals, time to step up Johnny.

The Nationals have sent Jesus Strasbug  to their minor league camp.  Look for Jesus to be resurrected sometime in May, as it will buy the Nats an extra year of control over the Savior.

Johan Santana BELIEVES!!!!! Someone has to I guess.

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W B C-YA LATER

 

 

Whoever came up this World Baseball Classic bullshit tournament needs a punch in the face. You want to play a trumped up fantasy type game like this do it on a computer or X-Box. When it comes defending my country, I’m all in but when it comes to baseball my heart is Blue and Orange. All I care about are the New York Mets and what spring training is for is to evaluate my team to see if we’re ready for the upcoming season and with this WBC, that goal is taking a back seat and that pisses me off.

 

The Pudge to the Mets rumors are back and hotter and heavier as the team may be trying to give Shrek a prod in the ass or maybe they are just sick and tired of his underachieving.

 

As per Mike Silva NYBD, the Philadelphia Inquirer is running a poll on which Mets collapse was the best the 2007, 2008 or the on this upcoming season. Silva does a great job taking the paper to the wood shed but I’d say to Mike and all Mets fans just let these Philly Phuck heads be. It will be fun watching them embarrass themselves as they have no idea how to handle success. The whole town is like trailer trash winning the Mega Millions Lottery, they will self-destruct soon.

 

You get the feeling at some point the U.S Dept of Justice will throw in the towel on trying to prosecute Barry Bonds. All this is a waste of Federal Agent manpower, clogging the courts and a big waste of money. Just blame it all on the Bush Administration we’ll all understand.

 

I would pay money to watch Lou Pinella beat Steve Philips’ ass.

 

Just the thought of D-Wright lockering next to Jimmy Rollins and Derek Jeter makes me want to heave

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Tickets

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