Posnanski takes on the Hall cases for Baines, Mattingly, Morris and … Charlie Joiner?

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We’ve been following Joe Posnanski’s week of Hall of Fame columns so far, so there’s no sense in stopping now.  Today he discusses the Hall of Very Good players on the ballot.  After his nice appreciations of Harold Baines and Don Mattingly — each of whom really should be appreciated, because they were darn good ballplayers — he gets to Jack Morris.  Music to my ears:

The cases made for Morris have been, in my opinion, not particularly convincing or even intellectually honest … I guess my point here is to ask those people who think Jack Morris belongs in the Hall of Fame to PLEASE make more appealing arguments.

Which is what I was getting at in yesterday’s post.  You don’t have to drop your support for Jack Morris just because some statty people have poked holes in his Hall of Fame resume. But you do need to find a case that actually has a fact or two on its side rather than repeating the baloney that has been completely discredited.

Posnanski even takes a stab at a case for Morris, centered on the facts that he was durable and very good for a long time, even if he was never great.  That’s something.  It’s something that, historically, Morris supporters have dismissed when such a case was offered for other players such as Blyleven or Dwight Evans or Lou Whitaker, but there’s no rule that says they can’t change their mind on that stuff now.

But the Morris stuff isn’t even the best part of the column. That goes to Posnanski’s take on Lee Smith that, for reasons you should read yourself, make a damn apt comparison between Smith and former Chargers receiver Charlie Joiner of all people.  It’s the kind of three-dimensional thinking and analysis that separates Posnanski from mere mortals.  Great stuff.

Martin Maldonado and Willson Contreras say they’re willing to pay fines rather than follow new mound visit rule

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On Monday, Major League Baseball announced some changes aimed at improving the game’s pace of play, something that has been a pet cause for commissioner Rob Manfred. Among the changes was a limit on mound visits whether from managers and coaches, the catcher, or other defenders. Each team will have six non-pitching change mound visits per game and one additional visit each inning in extra innings. Craig wrote more in depth on the changes here if you happened to miss it.

Angels catcher Martin Maldonado says he is going to do what’s necessary to stay on the same page with his pitchers. Via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Maldonado said, “If the game is on the line, I’m going to go out there. If we’re at six [visits], and it’s going to be the seventh, I’m going to go out there, even if I have to pay a fine. I’m there for the pitchers.”

Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said as much on Tuesday. Per Josh Frydman of WGN News, Contreras said, “What about if you have a tight game and you have to go out there? They can’t say anything about that, that’s my team and we just care about wins. If they’re going to fine me about number seven mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”

Exhibition games haven’t even started yet, but two notable backstops — the lesser-known Maldonado won a Gold Glove last year — are clearly not happy with the rule change. As Craig alluded to in his article yesterday, arguments between catchers and umpires (and, subsequently, managers and umpires) are probably going to become more frequent, which would likely end up nullifying any pace of play improvements.