Jan 10

How To Change The Hall Of Fame Voting Process

I read many columns from my colleagues, and was greatly disappointed in those who would not recognize a player on the first ballot, and even worse, those who returned their ballots blank.

As I wrote yesterday, boycotting first timers is an abuse of power. If you truly believe a player merits induction based on his career, then he should be on your ballot the first year.

You can’t legislate whom a voter marks down on his ballot, and history has shown this practice has gone on since the voting began.

Tom Seaver appeared on the highest percentage of the ballots at 98.84 percent. In the all-time rankings of the Hall of Fame inductees by percentage: Ty Cobb (4), Babe Ruth and Honus Wagner (tied 11), Willie Mays (14), Ted Williams (18), and Stan Musial (19).

Did you know, Frank Robinson, Joe DiMaggio, Al Kaline, Mickey Mantle, Mel Ott, Yogi Berra, Bob Gibson and Harmon Killebrew didn’t even receive 90 percent of the vote?

Did you know, before the voting rules changed, that Lou Gehrig received only 22.6 percent of the vote?

How could any of these players not appear on a voter’s ballot?

If you’re a voter and believe a player is worthy, he should not be omitted based on his first year of eligibility. Frankly, that is an abuse of your voting privileges.

Then there is the issue of the blank ballot. You’re allotted ten votes. Send your message against the steroid users all you want, but don’t penalize a worthy candidate with a blank ballot because it changes the percentages. I find it impossible out of all the candidates a voter can’t find at least one player worthy.

A blank vote is a vote of arrogance.

There are voting guidelines, but one should never be to dictate how a member votes. I am disappointed in the first-year and blank ballot voters, but don’t believe they should lose the right to vote based on their God-complex.

What changes would I make in the voting process?

* I would have the Hall of Fame voters identified with their choices. Media members can find out easily enough as to whom the voters chose. I think it should be out front and a condition of the voting.

* Blank ballots should be identified and not count against the percentage of ballots cast. This will eliminate the voter who votes against Barry Bonds and in the fallout penalizes Craig Biggio.

* Identify drug users on their plaques and have their names listed with an asterisk in the record books. Tainted players have tainted records. In my thinking, Hank Aaron and Roger Maris have the career and single-season home run records, not Bonds and McGwire. When I refer to Bonds and McGwire, I’ll say “balls hit over the wall,” and not call them home runs.

Baseball is about numbers and history. Bonds, Clemens and Rafael Palmeiro, not to mention Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson, all have careers worthy of induction. We just can’t pretend their careers didn’t exist.

To put a scarlet letter on their careers doesn’t condone their actions, but acknowledges their complete roles in the sport.

Dec 29

Baseball Movies For The Snowed In; Liking Kevin Costner And John Cusak

Saturday afternoon and it’s coming down. With no college games worth watching, channel surfacing has brought me to “Bull Durham,” one of my favorite baseball movies. Is there a better time to watch a baseball movie than during a blizzard?

Most baseball movies, actually sports movies in general don’t come across as believable because it is hard to duplicate the game-action scenes. Robert Redford had a decent swing in “The Natural,” but the movie lost me with the home run that blew up the lights and hitting the cover off the ball. I realize Hollywood takes its liberties, but that’s too much.

I like “Bull Durham,” but it’s not my favorite baseball movie. Not close. Maybe I expect too much, but the more I see it there’s more I find unbelievable. For one thing, nobody will hang around long enough to hit 247 minor league home runs.

Oh well, I guess I’m being too picky.

That being said, the following are my three favorite baseball movies:

1) FIELD OF DREAMS: There’s nothing realistic about this movie, but you go into it knowing it is a fantasy. This is a movie about fathers and sons as much as it is baseball, but it’s more about the bond between fathers and sons that is baseball. To me, that’s powerful and timeless.

There’s a limit on the baseball action scenes and Ray Liotta has a good swing for a right-handed hitter. Too bad Shoeless Joe Jackson was left-handed. That’s unforgivable. There’s such a thing as having a Hollywood license, but that’s just weak. Couldn’t they have reversed the film or something similar?

2) EIGHT MEN OUT: This is a gem. It’s one of those films, like my all time favorite, “Casablanca,” that I’ll stop on it whenever I channel surf. I’m a history buff and this is almost a historical documentary. The action scenes are believable and they got Shoeless Joe’s swing down. I thought John Cusak as Buck Weaver was great, beginning with his scenes with the street kids and concluding with end when he watched Shoeless Joe in a semi-pro game.

3) COBB: Tommy Lee Jones is good in just about everything and this is no exception. If you’ve read the book, this was dead on. It showed what a miserable person Ty Cobb was, but also how driven and intense player, one who hated Babe Ruth.

I thought the saddest part of the movie was the scene at the Hall of Fame when Cobb’s former teammates and colleagues wanted nothing to do with him and shunned him at a party. It was akin to the book about Johnny Carson when his former classmates ignored him at a high school reunion.

I guess “Bull Durham” is fourth. Major League 1 was humorous. Major League 2 was reheating a souffle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jul 01

Reyes sizzles in June. Will he stay to sizzle past July?

Jose Reyes had one of those dream months in June when he hit .385 (45-for-117) with seven triples, 11 stolen bases, 29 runs scored and a .425 on-base percentage.

REYES: What's going to happen?

The only other player to reach those numbers in triples, runs, steals and hits was Ty Cobb in 1912.

How can he not be the player of the month? But, will he last another month in Flushing?

I’m beginning to think he will, even though I am not sold on him being here next season.

Things could fall apart in July and by the end of the month there could be the fire sale we’ve expected, but figuring for a minute the Mets remain competitive I can see them holding on to him and making an offer during the winter.

Doing so will act as a diversionary tactic to focus away from the Wilpon’s financial problems. If the Mets made a solid offer, and I define that being over $100 million for the package, they can always say they tried and blame the market.

I believe $100 million over five years is fair, but it probably won’t be accepted. The Mets must think long and hard about seven years for the following reasons:

* Reyes is a player who does it with his legs and how much running will he be doing at 34 and 35?

* He’s having a superior season, but this is his walk year, and there must be the thought he won’t produce like this again.

* This is the healthiest he has been in two years.

I believe the Mets already know what they will offer Reyes in terms of years and money, and barring a complete collapse for the rest of the month will keep him as to not alienate the fan base.

Should the Mets remain competitive, they will have much harder decisions to make on Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez, players they would prefer to unload because of their finances.

If the Mets remain around .500 and have a half-dozen or more teams they must hurdle, they might see it too difficult to contend and deal. However, should they make a serious run in July despite a difficult schedule they might go for it.

Jun 28

Tonight’s Mets’ lineup at Detroit.

The .500 New York Mets are in Detroit tonight to face the Tigers behind knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.

Here’s the lineup:

 

Jose Reyes, SS

Willie Harris, DH

Carlos Beltran, RF

Daniel Murphy, 3B

Angel Pagan, CF

Jason Bay, LF

Lucas Duda, 1B

Justin Turner, 2B

Josh Thole, C

R.A. Dickey, RP

COMMENTS and NOTES: I’d still like to see if Jason Bay can right himself hitting second in the order. There’s nothing to lose. … Tonight is Jose Reyes’ 1,000th career game. The only player with more steals and triples in his first 1,000 games since 1898 is Ty Cobb.