Bill and The Common Man from The Platoon Advantage make so much sense in their Rights and Responsibilities in Hall of Fame Voting post from over the weekend that the thing should be sent via certified mail to every eligible voter. Of their four rules for voting, the key, I think, is something I touched on in my Jack Morris/Bert Blyleven post last week: intellectual consistency.
Contrary to what some reactionary types will be saying in the coming weeks, there is no one who matters who seriously advocates some strict orthodoxy of who should be and who shouldn’t be a Hall of Famer and disdains all others who do not follow suit. I will disagree with a Hall of Fame voter if he votes for Jack Morris or Don Mattingly, for example, but I will not say they are stupid or irresponsible or wrong or out-of-touch or demand that their vote be taken away simply because they have voted for Jack Morris. It is their opinion. Unless they admit to the contrary — which some have, sadly enough — I will assume that their choice was a considered one. That they looked at the data available, made an informed choice and voted their conscience. Hall of Fame standards are broad enough that reasonable people can have considerable disagreement over who is a Hall of Famer and who isn’t. You like Jim Rice, I don’t. I like Tim Raines, you don’t. Unless your reason for voting for a guy is just really nuts — like a protest vote or it’s based on some narrow, random reason with no precedent whatsoever — it’s all good.
All that I ask is that those who vote do so in a consistent manner. That the standards you cite for Player A are applied to Player B. If — to use a current example — you excuse Jack Morris’ high ERA because of how you believe he pitched in blowout games, consider how Bert Blyleven pitched in blowout games and apply the same credit to his account. If you voted for Bruce Sutter despite the fact that his performance came while filling a newly-created and limited role in baseball history) (one-inning closer) don’t withhold your vote from Edgar Martinez simply because he filled a newly-created and limited role as a DH.* If you give Dale Murphy extra-credit because you believe he eschewed steroids when they were pervasive in the game, give the same credit to others for whom you have similar evidence regarding their drug use. Similarly, if you won’t vote for Tim Raines because of his admitted cocaine use, please, dear God, do not vote for Dave Parker.
Unless you’re going totally nuts and writing in Buddy Biancalana, there are no Right and Wrong Hall of Fame votes. There are right and wrong approaches to voting however. If you have the franchise, please, keep that in mind.
*Which is not to suggest that Bruce Sutter was a Wrong choice or Edgar Martinez a Right choice. It simply means that their role, in and of itself, should not be the basis for withholding a vote for one of them if you didn’t do so for the other. Rather, simply be sure that your choice is made by comparison to other who fill those roles. Is Bruce Sutter a Hall of Fame one-inning closer compared to others. Is Edgar Martinzez a Hall of Fame DH compared to others.
Alcides Escobar finished with a .292 OBP this year. He came in at .246 in 117 at-bats in August and .257 in 109 at-bats between September and October, so he wasn’t exactly flying high entering the postseason. Still, that didn’t stop Ned Yost from putting him into the leadoff spot for Thursday’s Game 1 against the Astros.
Yost finally did reconsider hitting Escobar first in September. It took Alex Gordon‘s return to health, plus the previous addition of Ben Zobrist to the lineup, in order to make that happen. However, it didn’t stick. Escobar hit ninth in each of his starts from Sept. 7-26, batting .236 with a .276 OBP during that span. With five games left to go, he was suddenly returned to the leadoff spot. The Royals went on to win all five games. Yost saw it as a sign, even though Escobar went 5-for-22 with no walks in those games.
Escobar went 0-for-4 in Thursday’s loss to the Astros. He did not swing at the first pitch of the game, which probably explains the defeat.
It’s been difficult to argue with Yost since last year’s World Series run and this year’s incredible run out of the game. The blind spot with Escobar, though, gets rather infuriating. One can defend hitting him leadoff against the Astros’ lefties. His career OBP against southpaws is .319 (.316 this year). Against righties, he’s the most obvious No. 9 hitter alive, with a career .258/.290/.342 line (.252/.284/.314 this year). He’s not a pace-setter. He’s not a spark plug. He’s a liability.
After shutting out the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday, the Astros beat the Royals 5-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium. Road teams are now 4-0 to begin the 2015 postseason.
The Astros grabbed an early 3-0 lead against Yordano Ventura through two innings. Chris Young took over for the Royals after a 47-minute rain delay and was very effective for the most part, allowing just a solo homer to George Springer over four innings while striking out seven batters. Colby Rasmus, who homered in the Wild Card game, took Ryan Madson deep in the eighth inning to give the Astros’ bullpen some extra breathing room.
Collin McHugh stayed in after the rain delay and ended up tossing six innings while allowing just four hits and one walk. Kendrys Morales did all the damage against him with a pair of solo homers. He’s the first Royals player to hit two home runs in a postseason game since George Brett in the 1985 ALCS.
The Royals’ offense showed some signs of life in the bottom of the eighth inning with back-to-back two-out hits against Will Harris, but Oliver Perez got Eric Hosmer to foul out to end the threat. Luke Gregerson tossed a scoreless ninth inning to finish off the victory.
Consistent with their identity during the regular season, the Astros won despite striking out 14 times. The same goes for the Royals, as they struck out just four times. Despite putting the ball into play more often, the Kansas City lineup wasn’t able to muster anything aside from the home runs by Morales.
Game 2 of the ALDS will begin Friday at 3:45 p.m. ET. Scott Kazmir will pitch for the Astros and Johnny Cueto will get the ball for the Royals.
After Kendrys Morales brought the Royals within one run in the bottom of the fourth inning with his second solo home run of the game, George Springer took Chris Young deep in the top of the fifth to extend the Astros’ lead to 4-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS.
According to Statcast, the ball traveled an estimated 422 feet and left Springer’s bat at 109 mph. Royals fans are happy it was just a solo home run. It could have been worse, as Jose Altuve singled to lead off the fifth inning before being thrown out trying to steal second base during Springer’s at-bat.
The Royals will try to answer as we move to the bottom of the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium.