Murray Chass: my opinion counts and yours doesn't

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Louis XVI.jpgFormer New York Times baseball writer and current curmudgeonly ass-clown Murray Chass, responding via his blog to a reader who disagreed with his Hall of Fame ballot:

Does that make him right and me wrong? Of course not. Am I right?
Yes. Why? Because my opinion counts and his doesn’t. My ballot was one
of the 539 counted in the election. He did not have a vote. Therefore,
his opinion is worthless as far as the election is concerned.
That’s the real problem self-proclaimed experts have. They want to
be the ones voting, but they don’t have that privilege. It’s their own
fault. They chose the wrong profession. Accountants, lawyers, doctors, teachers and salesmen don’t get to vote for the Hall of Fame. Baseball writers do.

That’s the kind of thing that caused monarchs to lose their head back in the day. Thankfully for Chass’ head no one gives diddly durn about how important he thinks he and the rest of his Hall of Fame voting friends are and we’ll all continue to voice our worthless opinions about who should and who shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame.

Why? Because unlike Chass — who admitted that he neglected his ballot until a couple of hours before the New Year’s Eve deadline — we actually care about the Hall of Fame vote beyond what it means for our personal status.  It also helps that we, unlike Chass, have a semblance of a clue as to what helps baseball teams win games and would vote along those lines if we had the franchise.

There was a time when it was presumed that newspaper writers knew everything that was worth knowing about the game. That they had access to information and opinion we civilians didn’t and thus their opinions about such matters were more informed. That we mere accountants, lawyers, doctors, teachers and salesmen didn’t have standing to intelligently criticize the writers, let alone attempt to what they do.

Those days have been over for a long time. And Chass would know that if he one day decided to set aside his ridiculous arrogance, get his information from places other than tea leaves, ancient microfiche and dusty, decades-old copies of the Baseball Encyclopedia and reason rather than proclaim from the top of whatever pathetic mountain it is on which he sits.

Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery could share Cubs’ rotation spot in 2017

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 01:  Mike Montgomery #38 of the Chicago Cubs throws a pitch during the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Six of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 1, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon hasn’t selected a fifth starter for his 2017 rotation yet, but told reporters that he could envision left-handers Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery sharing the spot throughout the year. Neither pitcher was stretched out to the full 200-inning threshold last year, Maddon added, and suggested that the two could alternate innings out of the rotation and bullpen as needed (via MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat).

Anderson, 29, was acquired by the Cubs in January on a $3.5 million deal. He’s coming off a rough 2016, during which he underwent back surgery and missed all but 11 1/3 innings of his last season with the Dodgers. His last full, healthy year in the majors yielded a 3.69 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 5.8 SO/9 over 180 1/3 innings with Los Angeles in 2015.

Montgomery, meanwhile, is vying for a rotation spot after pitching almost exclusively from the bullpen during the second half of the Cubs’ 2016 run. The 27-year-old lefty put up a 2.82 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings for Chicago last year, returning in the postseason to post a 3.14 ERA during the Cubs’ championship finish.

Maddon also mentioned the possibility of throwing a sixth starter into the mix, which would help prevent his other starters from getting overworked too early in the year. Either way, Anderson and Montgomery are expected to get a lot of looks early in spring training as rotation spots are finalized in the weeks leading up to Opening Day.

Michael Bourn to miss four weeks with a broken finger

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 6:  Michael Bourn #1 of the Baltimore Orioles looks out of the dugout as he waits to get on deck to bat during the sixth inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on September 6, 2016 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Orioles’ center fielder Michael Bourn is expected to be sidelined for four weeks while he rehabs a broken ring finger on his right hand, according to reports from the Baltimore Sun’s Peter Schmuck. Bourn broke the finger while playing catch with a football after a spring training workout.

The veteran outfielder re-signed with the club earlier this week on a minor league deal and was prepared to compete for a bench role this season. He’s in line to receive a $2 million salary if he makes the major league roster and can make an additional $3.5 million in incentives based on a set number of plate appearances. Now, however, his chances of cracking the roster out of spring training look considerably diminished, as his current timetable gives him an approximate return date of March 25 if all goes well.

Bourn had an impressive, if short-lived run with the Orioles following his trade to Baltimore last August, batting .283/.358/.435 with two home runs and a .793 OPS in 55 PA. While still somewhat removed from the totals that brought him an All-Star nod with the Braves in 2012, his defensive chops should give the Orioles some depth in center once he’s healthy again.