January 2010

The Kiki Dee Express

Last night before I went to sleep I caught a few minutes of Nolan Ryan’s 7th no-hitter. I’m not sure if old Arlington Stadium worked their PA music the way we do at Parkview Field, but if they did I’ve had my entire view of Nolan Ryan changed forever. Here, the pitcher usually picks the song he wants to play before the bottom of the 1st inning. So while the other team’s starting lineups were sponsored by Game Genie (which is classic enough as it is), Ryan was warming up to “Don’t Go Breakin’ My Heart.” If I gave you unlimited guesses at the musician who played Nolan Ryan’s get-pumped-up song before throwing no-hitters, where would Elton John and Kiki Dee be on the list? 500th? 1000th? I would start with George Strait, then go to Garth Brooks and then finish out the rest of the two kinds of music. I suppose you can’t make fun of Nolan Ryan. He could probably still beat up anybody he wanted.

Allegedly the biggest baseball story of the day is Mark McGwire admitting he used steroids. Nonesense. The biggest story of the day is the Cincinnati Reds spending money. Owen Serey, the South Bend Silver Hawks’ radio guy and a rabid Reds fan, happened to call this afternoon and we discussed this. Owen was stunned the Reds shelled out money for a hard-throwing, control-challenged international signing. So was I, considering the Reds already have a hard-throwing, control-challenged international pitcher in Johnny Cueto. And Edinson Volquez. But what do I know?

This story is a little old, but the Padres are expanding their scouting department. Which can’t be a bad thing. The more eyes you can get on players, the better, as long as everybody is looking for the right things.

Finally, my apologies to all Packer fans for yesterday. When the Cardinals-Packers game went to overtime, I sent Brent Harring a text message saying, “We want the ball and we’re gonna score!” By doing this, I unwittingly jinxed the Packers and wittingly quoted one of the most oft-injured quarterbacks in the NFL in the last 10 years. Sorry, Wisconsin. My fault. The real bummer is that now we won’t see Packers-Vikings in the Game to End All Games. Same for Colts-Patriots Part Deux.

That’s all for now!

Take care!

DW

This Isn’t the Hall of Very Good

So the other day, Andre Dawson was voted into the Hall of Fame. Big deal. 237 people have already done that, which is really a minuscule percentage of the players who have played Major League Baseball, but not minuscule enough for me. To quote Brent Harring, the Hall of Fame became the Hall of Very Good. I’d like to think I have pretty high standards in everything except blog-writing, so here’s who would be in the Hall of Fame if I were appointed supreme dictator of deciding who was freakishly good at baseball.

Just like the real hall in Cooperstown, the only rules are that there are no rules. You need 75% of the votes, but every player was a unanimous selection by me… which, by the way, has never happened in the history of the Hall of Fame. Which is completely ridiculous and says a lot about the process, but I digress. For some guys, I waived the five-years-after-retirement rule just for fun.

OUTFIELD

Hank Aaron
Cool Papa Bell

Barry Bonds (you heard me… .444 lifetime OBPs don’t come from supplements)
Ty Cobb

Joe DiMaggio

Mickey Mantle

Willie Mays

Stan Musial

Pete Rose (as a player… you heard me)

Babe Ruth

Ted Williams

FIRST BASE

Jimmie Foxx (.325, 534 HR, more walks than strikeouts)

Lou Gehrig

SECOND BASE

Roberto Alomar

Rogers Hornsby

Nap Lajoie
(there was an MLB team named after him for a while and he was the 6th-highest vote-getter in the original Hall of Fame balloting… enough said)
Joe Morgan

Jackie Robinson

SHORTSTOP

Ernie Banks

Cal Ripken, Jr.

Ozzie Smith

Honus Wagner

THIRD BASE

George Brett

Eddie Mathews

Brooks Robinson

Mike Schmidt

CATCHER

Johnny Bench

Carlton Fisk

Josh Gibson

PITCHER

Steve Carlton

Dennis Eckersley

Bob Feller
(missed chunks of time because of military service)
Rollie Fingers

Bob Gibson

Randy Johnson

Walter Johnson

Sandy Koufax
(even with the short career)

UPDATE: Greg Maddux (forgot about him, as crazy as that sounds)
Christy Mathewson

Satchel Paige

Nolan Ryan

Tom Seaver

Warren Spahn
(like Feller, would’ve had even more ridiculous numbers if he wasn’t in the military)
Cy Young

There you have it… 43 players in my Hall of Fame. And if you think it’s easy, sit down sometime and try to do it yourself.

I tried to look into more than just stats, since the game has changed so much over the years, but it’s impossible to evaluate players otherwise. And it’s REALLY tough to gauge players from before Babe Ruth, because the home run wasn’t really part of the game, but I gave it a whirl. I had a hard time putting any hitters in who didn’t hit .300, unless there was something else they did better than anyone else who ever played the game. And I was surprised there were only two first basemen, but that’s the way it is. For pitchers, the toughest thing to figure out was the closers. Eckersley was a good starting pitcher before he became the most dominant closer maybe ever (Mariano Rivera challenges that), and Rollie Fingers gets extra points for the best handlebar mustache of all-time.

So there you go… It’s the Hall of Fame, with the benefit of hindsight, as voted on by some 25-year-old punk, in 2010.

I’m sure everyone has an opinion on this… Fire away!

And now… just for fun… Musical guest, Was not Was!

Have a great weekend!

DW

Domo Arigato, Mr. Roberto

I’m not one to get all fired up in these “Who belongs in the Hall of Fame” arguments, because frankly I don’t care who’s in and who isn’t. After reading this book over the summer, I’m convinced the door is already wide open to too many people and there’s no chance it’s ever closing again. If it were up to me, there would be about 50 players in there. Right now there are 237 players, including Negro Leaguers.

Anyway, if a guy was a great baseball player, he comes up in conversation. I’m talking about your true giants of the game… Walter Johnson, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, etc. You know the caliber I’m talking about. But let’s talk under the current system’s logic.

There’s one guy who should’ve gotten in this year who didn’t, and it’s Roberto Alomar. Look at the numbers, the awards, etc. He was the best player at his position for over a decade (hence the 12 All-Star Games and 10 Gold Gloves and 4 Silver Sluggers). He was one of the best players on good teams (7 seasons in the playoffs, 2 World Series titles).

I could see some writers holding the “Loogie Heard ‘Round the World” (and his comments after the game) against Alomar. I know I did, since he wasn’t suspended for the rest of that playoff series against my Indians and the Orioles ended up winning. But Jim Caple of ESPN says that comparatively speaking, Alomar’s spit isn’t any worse than some things other Hall of Famers did… You know, like the time Babe Ruth punched an ump.

Of course, this all pales in comparison to allegations of athletes spitting on fans.

In any case, I think Alomar will get in sooner than later. He had over 73% of the votes (you need 75% to get in) this year and it was only his first year on the ballot.

Moving on, Randy Johnson retired. There’s a first-ballot guy. That guy would make my Hall of Fame. I guess I didn’t realize it until I looked at the numbers, but he struck out 300 in six different seasons. That’s THREE ZERO ZERO. Strikeouts. Tim Lincecum struck out 261 last year and people reacted as if he’d just penned one of the great artistic works of all time. Randy Johnson beat that total NINE times. He had the second-most strikeouts of all-time (to some Nolan Ryan character… sounds made up). He won five Cy Young Awards. The only guy to win more of those was Roger Clemens (7). Most importantly, he was the guy who you prayed your team wouldn’t face in a big playoff game (I remember going ballistic when the Indians beat him in a series-clinching ALCS game in 1995). Nearly as importantly, Randy Johnson sported a mullet for the entirety of his career, including the baby-mullet he had to wear when he went to the Yankees, who frown upon fun. Sticking it to the Yankees? Good enough for me.

I think between now and Friday I’ll make some sort of Fake Baseball Hall of Fame of the people I’d let in. That’ll be my Friday post.

That’s it for now! Take care!

DW

Twenty-O-Ten

The Cleveland Browns have a better record (1-0) and longer winning streak (4) than the Indianapolis Colts (0-1, 0).

The Ohio State Buckeyes won a BCS bowl game.

The Ohio State Buckeyes lost to Michigan in something.

Welcome to 2010, also known as Bizzaro World.

First of all, I hope you’ve noticed the MiLBY Awards have been good to the TinCaps. The guys won Team of the Year for all of Minor League Baseball, Brad Brach won Class-A Reliever of the Year, and Cody Decker was the Short-Season Hitter of the Year. They only give out the awards in five categories and the TinCaps were connected to three of the categories. Not too shabby.

Hopefully everyone had a joyous holiday season and is back to work/school safely. This off-season I decided I need to learn to speak at least a semi-broken form of Spanish so I can talk to our Latin-American players. My parents bought me a “Learn to Speak Spanish” set of CDs, so if you see me driving around town and it looks like I’m talking to myself, you’re exactly right. And it’s probably en Espanol. So far I’ve learned how to ask people if they speak English, where they’re from and how they’re doing. Let’s just say the TinCaps’ Spanish radio feed is still a few years away, but it is fun to learn something I can actually use, both in work and life in general.

My grandparents gave me a book filled with stories of old baseball players. I haven’t gotten very deep into it, but let’s just say baseball has come a long way from players jumping onto moving train cars just to get to another town to sign their contracts to play in the minor leagues.

Last time I posted, I was getting ready to go to the Browns-Raiders game in Cleveland. To make a long story short, the number of people and dogs tailgating was unreal for a then-3-11 team, Browns fans love paying homage to the all-time greats, it snowed, we saw a 61-yard field goal, the Browns won and this guy went home happy. Minus the winning, it was a classic Cleveland sports day.

That’s all for today. Talk to you soon!

DW

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