Leave Matt Holliday alone (and other supplemental observations)

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Matthew and Bob did an excellent job of recapping yesterday’s games, but I have a couple of random observations knocking around my head:

— Look, I know all you Cardinals fans want to kill Matt Holliday right now, but (a) your guys may not have made the postseason without him; (b) he did hit a homer in the game last night; and (c) after the error, in order to lose that game, Ryan Franklin still had to walk Casey Blake, give up a single to Ronnie Belliard, walk Russell Martin, give up a single to Mark Loretta and deal with a passed ball. And it’s worth noting that Tony La Russa let that slow-motion car crash all unfold. Does that absolve Holliday? No. Dude messed up; no gettin’ around that. But rather than make him the biggest goat since Bill Buckner, maybe the allegedly smartest and bestest fans in baseball should acknowledge that last night’s ninth inning collapse was a  team effort.

As Matthew noted, Red Sox Nation is none too happy with the umpiring of last night’s game, particularly as it came from C.B. Bucknor. It’s worth repeating however, that (a) none of those mistakes led directly to Angels runs; and (b) none of those mistakes added any velocity or movement to the 114 John Lackey pitches that the Sox’ batters couldn’t do a damn thing with.  If it was a close game, sure, I’ll listen to some complaints, but you don’t get to moan about umps when you get shut out like this.

Also, from the AP game story:

Despite the Angels’ ominous playoff history against the Red Sox, the noisy Orange County crowd didn’t seem to be anticipating
disappointment while clacking its ThunderStix and easily drowning out
the surprisingly small Boston fan contingent on a slightly chilly night.

Holy crap, they’re still doing the ThunderStix thing out there? I went
to an Angels game in 2003 and it was played out then. Angels fans, take
it from a Braves fan: you don’t want to continue to be identified in the
world by a group cheering thing that, while possibly amusing when it
started, grows more and more ridiculous as time goes on. No,
ThunderStix will probably never be as bad as the Chop, but you don’t
even want to be half as bad as that, OK?

— Finally, congratulations to Cole Hamels on becoming a dad. Yeah, running out of the stadium to head to the maternity ward makes for a stressful day, and yeah, he got roughed up a bit before he ran out, but as a father, I can tell you that no bad day at work can make you feel as bad as a good day with your kids can make you feel good. And even a bad day with your kids is better than a good day at work.  Added bonus:  Hamels now actually has a use for that minivan he’s been driving around in for the past few years.

Morris, Trammell, humbled and emotional at being elected to the Hall of Fame

Associated Press
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla — Jack Morris and Alan Trammell met the press 18 hours after learning that they were elected to the Hall of Fame. Trammell was still humbled. Morris was still emotional, breaking up numerous times as he answered reporters questions. When Morris did manage to compose himself, he said a couple of pretty interesting things. Even some funny things.

“I want all the writers to know, I’m not mad at any of you,” Morris said, addressing the baseball writers, who for 15 years failed to vote him into the Hall of Fame. Morris, who at some points over his time on the ballot was, in fact, quite cranky about not being elected, struck a more conciliatory tone this morning, admitting that he did not fully understand the baseball analytics upon which many voters relied in judging him more negatively than he was judged during his playing career. There was a suggestion in his tone that, perhaps, the voters had a point about his relative place in the game and that he understood that now a bit better than he might’ve a few years ago. Not that he’s too hung up on it. “Now that I’m in, I don’t have to worry about any of it,” Morris added.

Trammell never came particularly close to election when he was on the writer’s ballot while Morris only fell a couple of votes short. One could be excused, however, if one thought that he’d thought more about what he’d say on the occasion of his election than Morris did.  “To be part of a dream team, you can’t envision that. As a young boy, all I wanted was to become a major league baseball player,” Trammell said. “And now to be a Hall of Famer . . . it’s indescribable.” For Morris part, he said that he had a lot of practice over the years in responding to reporters asking him about not being elected and that he was prepared to do so again this week. He seemed genuinely surprised that he made it as evidenced by his emotional, off-the-cuff responses to questions.

Both players were asked about their longtime manager Sparky Anderson and both talked warmly about him while acknowledging his often tough love.

Morris said Sparky made him a ballplayer. Trammell said that he and the other young Tigers players who broke into pro ball in the mid-to-late 70s thought they knew what they were doing but that “Sparky showed me I didn’t know squat.” He said that he could field well when he was young but that his hitting lagged. Trammell would, of course, turn into an excellent offensive shortstop, and that a lot of that was due to Anderson’s motivation. “He batted me ninth and I didn’t want to bat ninth . . . he told me when I hit it looked like I was swinging a wet newspaper.” Morris said that he thought of Anderson as “a father and older brother in one.” He said Sparky would make him angry but that he’d never be the pitcher he was if it wasn’t for him.

Trammell, as expected, was asked about his longtime double play mate Lou Whitaker, who was also on the Veterans’ Committee Ballot but who did not gain induction despite a Hall-worthy resume.

“We’re linked together, as we should be,” Trammell said. He said that it has long been his dream to be inducted at the same time as Whitaker. “The dream didn’t happen that we’d go in together this year, but I’m hoping that someday it does happen.” Trammell said. “I’m entitled to my opinion and my dreams.”

Finally, both Morris and Whitaker were asked about Marvin Miller, the groundbreaking and history-making union chief who, once again, was denied election.

Trammell said he’s thankful for Miller and hopes the young players recognize what he did. He says he’d be shocked if Miller is not inducted one day. Morris echoed those comments. “There’s a whole generation of players who have no idea who he was or what he did . . . I’ll always be a strong supporter of him.”

Each player then left the stage and began to be swarmed by reporters in small group sessions. It’s just the beginning of a seven-month whirlwind between now and July 29, when each will be inducted to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.