The Emotion of Baseball

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So if you weren’t sitting with two boxes of Kleenex last night during the Say Good-Bye to Mariano Rivera segment of Yankees-Rays, you’re a heartless bastard with no feelings or emotions.  At least that was the consensus on social media last night.

No doubt it was a special moment at Yankee Stadium last night when Rivera came in to pitch for the last time at home (or anywhere) and I watched and thought it was great but did it punch my emotional buttons? No. Did I get misty eyed with Andy Pettite and Derek Jeter came out to remove Rivera from the game? Nope, sorry. Did I think it was a nice moment? Sure.

Mariano Rivera is without a doubt the greatest closer in baseball history. He is a sure first ballot Hall of Famer –he won’t be a unanimous first ballot honoree because we all know some shithead from the BBWAA will leave him off their ballot in “a look at me moment”-but  since he was not a New York Met, then my emotions stayed in check.

Sorry if that pisses off the ultra-sensitive types but I save my baseball tears for the New York Mets, both happy and sad occasions.

I don’t get why the baseball writing eggheads get so bent out of shape over events on the field that fall under the “unwritten rules” of baseball. Seriously, what is it about this code of conduct that baseball players have amongst themselves that pisses you off? Is it that it doesn’t fall under your view of baseball through the eyes of statistical analysis? This is no way a knock at the analytic work done by many of these folks, if you are a MLB organization that doesn’t have a fully staff analytic department, then you’re in the working in the dark ages. I love how  baseball execs have so much data to look at and study to make help make important decision in player personnel to help achieve the ultimate goal of winning the World Series.  You still have to take the human side into account as well.    

When Brain McCann waited at home plate for Carlos Gomez to arrive after putting on an embarrassing display of being an ass hat when he hit a home run of Paul Maholm, I thought it was one of the best on field statements I’ve seen in baseball in a long long time. McCann just standing there explaining to Gomez just what an asshole he was and daring him to go through him to touch home plate showed me that McCann was standing up for his pitcher, his teammates and his organization. He should be applauded. Sadly some folks didn’t see it the same way I did and to tell you the truth I was a bit surprised by some of the reaction.

As I said, it was mostly the people who seem to be the baseball intellectual types that thought McCann was a jerk.  None of the McCann bashers mentioned that Gomez was still holding a grudge from being hit by a pitch from Malhom (who throws about 85 mph tops and that’s with a running start) earlier in the year. The first pitch of the at bat, Gomez nearly swung himself out of his uniform as he wanted to hit the pitch to Buckhead . He damn near succeeded on the next pitch which he hit a towering home run. Gomez stood and admired the shot then glared at Maholm to which Freddie Freeman screamed at him and he yelled back at Freeman while he leisurely strolled the base paths like he was out for a constitutional on the deck of the Queen Mary. As Gomez went down the 3rd base line, staring into the Braves dugout, he was startled by McCann standing in his way of touching home plate, a destination Gomez never arrived at. At that point the benches emptied and the Braves went after Gomez and any Brewer that stood in their way.     

Now why anyone who watches, covers or has played baseball was surprised at McCann’s actions baffles me. It’s the same way I can’t understand people getting upset when Tiger Woods curses after he hits a bad shot.  Those people have obviously never been on a golf course, same with the folks who are appalled by baseball player’s behavior on the field.  

What do they think happens on the field and in the dugout and clubhouse? This may come as a shock to some of the finger sandwich and high tea crowd but baseball players use very bad language at times, in fact they use the bad language a lot on the umpires. Ball players (I hope I don’t offend anyone here) also spit nasty tobacco juice and sunflower seed shells and (hold on to your pearls Francis) blow their nose without a tissue. EWWWWWWWWWWWWWW. The floor of a dugout is as nasty as a subway platform.

As much as baseball has to go forward using statistical analysis in decision making it also cannot forget the on field emotion of the game as well. I don’t know about you but my love of baseball didn’t come from a calculator it came from first watching it, then playing it , then embracing the camaraderie of being on a team. There’s no better feeling than being on a team that has each other’s back. There’s no better feeling than playing on a team that wins. There is no better compliment in baseball than “he plays the game the right way”.  If you can’t understand that, then I have pity on you, you’re missing a great game.

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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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