ESPN’s Howard Bryant is outraged at all the outrage over the Hall of Fame voting. His argument boils down to this:
- Baseball used to ignore its history and poop on the fans before the strike, and now they care about honoring people and milestones; God, that sucks;
- The sabermetricians and their fellow travelers in the blogosphere intimidate — and yes, he used the word “intimidate” — the poor BBWAA writers into voting for guys who never would have gotten consideration in the past, so pardon them for missing out on one or two of the statboys’ favorite sons for once; and
- Baseball was just fine screwing up its Hall of Fame balloting for
decades, so why are we all upset when they mess up honoring people now?
There are some good points in the piece — I don’t like the fact that we stop games for every milestone now either — but it’s mostly a “two wrongs make a right” kind of argument, and I hate those. Why should we settle for a stupid Hall of Fame voting process now just because it’s always been stupid?
Bryant did give me a laugh though when he said he’d rather start a team with Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Stan Musial than Edgar Martinez. Man, I’d take Martinez every day. He’s only 47. Musial is gonna be 90 this year and the other three are dead!
Or am I missing all of his points?
“When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.”
Or: “When Theo Epstein won World Series championships with the two most championship-starved franchises in baseball history, he got bored, and decided to run for the Senate or something.”
That latter bit is the premise of a Politico piece speculating that the Cubs president could go into politics one day. The story features an interview with former Obama chief strategist David Axlerod, who thinks Theo has what it takes. Mostly what he has is fame, popularity, good looks and money. No idea what his positions on issue are, but that other stuff goes a long way in politics these days.
Bonus: given what we just elected last fall, a guy who once had a little temper tantrum and dressed up in a gorilla suit is just as viable a candidate as anyone.
When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.
The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.
Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.
It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.
Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.