PETA would prefer the Marlins use robot fish

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Last week we found out that the Florida Marlins are planning to put real fish in real salt water aquariums in the wall behind home plate at their new ballpark.

This week we find out the predictable reaction: PETA is protesting the proposal. The organization sent a letter to Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria denouncing the idea, according to the Miami Herald.

“Being exposed to the loud crowds, bright lights, and reverberations of a baseball stadium would be stressful and maddening for any large animals held captive in tanks that, to them, are like bathtubs,” wrote PETA executive vice president Tracy Reiman in the letter to Loria.

The Marlins, who unveiled the aquarium plans last week, said the see-through tanks would be constructed with the same material used in bullet-proof glass to ensure fish safety.

Marlins president David Samson told the Herald that he had not seen the letter, but said the fish would be “treated as well, or better, than any fish can be,” and didn’t sound willing to budge on the issue.

“I guess that’s a philosophical issue,” Samson said. “But there are beautiful aquariums all over the world and this will be one of them.”

But give PETA some credit, for Instead of simply protesting the use of fish at the ballpark, the organization actually offered up some palatable (to them) alternatives, including the use of “robotic fish that can ‘swim’ through water.”

Intrigued by the idea of robot fish, I did a little research (i.e. Google) and discovered that the Japanese have already invented a robot carp. Eureka!

Why a robot carp, you ask? I’m not sure, but I believe the Japanese will make a robot version of pretty much anything. They just like robots that much, and if they want to create this or this or this, who are we to discourage them?

Besides, they have done us a huge favor by solving this budding controversy over the Marlins’ ballpark aquarium. All the team has to do is shell out about $250,000 for each robot carp. No problem right?

 

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Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Omar Vizquel lead 19 newcomers on the 2018 Hall of Fame ballot

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Hall of Fame ballots for the 2018 induction class have been mailed out to the Baseball Writers Association of America voters and the names on the ballot were released to the public this morning. Among the top newcomers: Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Omar Vizquel, Andruw Jones, Kerry Wood and Jamie Moyer . There are 19 new candidates in all. There are, of course, several holdovers too.

The newcomers, in alphabetical order:

Chris Carpenter
Johnny Damon
Livan Hernandez
Orlando Hudson
Aubrey Huff
Andruw Jones
Chipper Jones
Jason Isringhausen
Carlos Lee
Brad Lidge
Hideki Matsui
Kevin Millwood
Jamie Moyer
Scott Rolen
Johan Santana
Jim Thome
Omar Vizquel
Kerry Wood
Carlos Zambrano

Chipper Jones, the 1999 MVP, one of the best switch-hitters of all time and the unparalleled offensive star of the great Braves teams of the 1990s and early 2000s seems like a shoe-in. His case is boosted above his fantastic offensive numbers in the eyes of many voters by virtue of playing for the same team for his entire career.

Jim Thome is probably going to get a very large vote total and possibly will be inducted, having hit over 600 homers in his career. A challenge to his first-year induction is presented by the very large backlog of deserving candidates, which we’ll discuss in a moment, and by the fact that Thome’s career corresponded with baseball’s home run boom of the 1990s. Unlike other passed-over candidates of his era, Thome was never implicated in performance enhancing drug use, but it is the case that homers became cheaper for everyone during his career, and some may consider him a one-dimensional candidate. I suspect he’ll be in Cooperstown soon, be it this year or next year.

Omar Vizquel will receive a lot of support but his candidacy will also draw a lot of controversy. His backers will cite his defense and his longevity. His detractors will note that his defense was nowhere near as good as other defense-first inductees in the past such as Ozzie Smith, and that it was in no way good enough to make up for his below average bat. Complicating all of this will be fact that two superior defensive candidates who happened to have outstanding offensive numbers to go with them — Andruw Jones and Scott Rolen — are unlikely to receive anything approaching the level of support Vizquel will get, leading to . . . a lot of arguing.

And now the holdovers from last year’s ballot and ballots past, with last year’s percentage of the vote in parenthesis. Candidates need 75% of the vote in order to be inducted:

Barry Bonds (53.8)
Roger Clemens (54.1)
Vladimir Guerrero (71.1)
Trevor Hoffman (74.0)
Jeff Kent (16.7)
Edgar Martinez (58.6)
Fred McGriff (21.7)
Mike Mussina (51.8)
Manny Ramirez (23.8)
Curt Schilling (45.0)
Gary Sheffield (13.3)
Sammy Sosa (8.6)
Billy Wagner (10.2)
Larry Walker (21.9)

We’ve talked about all of these guys before, of course. Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guerrero seem likely to be elected given how close they came to induction last year. Many quite worthy candidates such as Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Curt Schilling will likely continue to receive less support than they deserve. PED-associated candidates Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens each received a boost in their previously-flagging candidacies last year, getting over 50% of the vote for the first time, but it’s unlikely that they’ll jump 22 and 21 points, respectively. Lesser PED-associated candidates such as Sammy Sosa and Manny Ramirez will likely forever remain on the outside looking in.

The results of the election will be announced by Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson at 6 p.m. ET, Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018, live on MLB Network.