Let’s make it a Hall of Fame trifecta. I missed this over the weekend, but here’s Ken Davidoff of Newsday, explaining why, after years of resistance, he has decided to vote for Mark McGwire on his Hall of Fame ballot:
Every era has its taint, whether it’s gamblers, steroids, racism or
something less pernicious such as ballpark dimensions. Our job is to
sift through the nonsense, take the emotion out of the conversation and
determine the best players of the era.
A McGwire induction in Cooperstown wouldn’t be the most uplifting or heart-wrenching. That’s all right.
Life is complicated. We can discuss what happened and what it means.
My thoughts exactly. The guy is a product of his era, and there’s no basis for me thinking that he was any better or any worse a person than hundreds of others in the game during that time or during previous eras when gambling and segregation made a mockery of the competition.
Within the context of his era, Mark McGwire was a superior player. To blackball McGwire is to deny that reality. Likewise, to vote for him is no capitulation to cheating. History will do a better job of judging the era and its players than a quorum of writers who lived through the era can.
I know a lot of you will disagree. Before you do, however, I recommend that you give Davidoff’s reasoning a look first.
(thanks to reader Rick Bender for the heads up)
Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.
Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).
Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.
David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.
Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:
[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.
The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.