Bryant: Hall of Fame voting has always sucked. Why mess with tradition?

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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?

The Astros gave the Yankees an opening. Keuchel and Verlander will try to close the door.

Associated Press
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If Game 4 of the ALCS had been even remotely conventional, it’d stand at 3-1 in favor of Houston right now. The Yankees’ starter pitched well but got no run support. A mighty Astros team with an ordinarily good closer in Ken Giles had a 4-0 lead in the late innings. As the Yankees set out to mount a comeback, a base runner fell down in between first and second and should’ve been dead to rights. This is playoff baseball, however, so stuff, as they say, happens. The runner was safe, the closer struggled, the Yankees rallied and now we’re tied 2-2.

But are we even at 2-2?

On paper, no, because the Astros now will send Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander out in Games 5 and 6, and that gives them a clear advantage. Keuchel dominated the Yankees in Game 1, tossing seven scoreless innings and striking out ten batters. Verlander struck out 13 batters in a 124-pitch complete game in which he allowed only a single run. Beyond the mere facts of the box scores, however, the Yankees have looked profoundly overmatched by both of the Astros’ aces, in this postseason and on other occasions on which they’ve faced off against them. Most notably in the 2015 wild-card game at Yankee Stadium when Keuchel pitched six scoreless innings in the 3-0 victory.

But remember: stuff happens.

Stuff like Aaron Judge‘s and Gary Sanchez‘s bats waking up. The two most important sluggers in the Bombers lineup combined to go 3-for-6 with two doubles, a homer, a walk and five RBI in last night’s victory. Each of them had been silent for the first three games of the series but if they’re heating up, the Yankees will be a lot harder to pitch to.

Stuff like Masahiro Tanaka showing that he can tame the Astros’ lineup. Which he did pretty well in Game 1, giving up only two runs on four hits in six innings. He was overshadowed by Keuchel in that game, but it was a good performance against a strong lineup in a hostile environment. Tanaka pitches much better at Yankee Stadium than he does on the road, so don’t for a second think that the Astros bats will have an easy time of it today.

Stuff like the Yankees bullpen still being the Yankees bullpen. Yes, the Astros got to David Robertson yesterday, but it’s still a strong, strong group that gives the Yankees a clear advantage if the game is close late or if they hold a lead.

All of which is to say that we have ourselves a series, friends. While, 48 hours ago, it seemed like we were on our way to an Astros coronation, the Yankees have shown up in a major way in Games 3 and 4. If you’re an Astros fan you should feel pretty confident with Keuchel and Verlander heading into action over the next two games, but we have learned that absolutely nothing is guaranteed in the postseason.