Hall of Fame voters owe nothing to the past

7 Comments

This morning I wrote about Jim Reeves’ column in which he said he believed that voting for the Hall of Fame was his “sacred duty” and that it was his aim to keep Cooperstown “clean and pure.”

My take was more one of amusement, but this afternoon The Common Man has a much more focused takedown. After detailing just how non-sacred the vote really is and how unclean and impure the current many members of the Hall of Fame actually are, TCM nails Reeves to the wall, wondering how it was possible that, in 40 years of covering the Rangers — the Rangers! — he never wrote about PEDs in baseball until Barry Bonds was poised to break Hank Aaron’s record.* And how, in that very article, he took a shot at Jose Canseco for “violating the code of the clubhouse” in talking about it in his books.

By all means, check out TCM’s take.

*UPDATE: From TCM: “In fairness to Reeves, after some additional research I found articles in which Reeves does write about steroid use in baseball that predates the 2004 Bonds chase of the Homerun record.  Reeves did write about steroids on May 31, 2002, when he wrote that steroid users “should all be wearing a scarlet ‘S,'” and that Rusty Greer never saw steroids in the Ranger clubhouse.  He also defended Gabe Kapler against steroid accusations in August of 2000.  And on August 25, 1998, he said  that the story about Mark McGwire’s andro use “is overblown” and that “You wouldn’t begrudge Nolan Ryan his Advil, would you? Troy Aikman his Met-RX? Popeye his spinach?”  He continued to write about steroids on occasion between 2002 and 2004, all excoriating steroid users, never questioning his profession’s role in missing them for so long.”

Game 6: This is why the Astros traded for Justin Verlander

Associated Press
2 Comments

Houston’s pitching has not been their biggest problem as they’ve watched their 2-0 series lead turn in to a 3-2 series deficit. It has not been good, mind you — Charlie Morton got rocked in Game 3, the bullpen collapsed on Game 4 and Dallas Keuchel was suddenly mortal in Game 5 — but even then it’s not been the biggest concern. The real problem has been the lack of offense.

The Astros led the majors in runs (896), batting average (.282), on-base percentage (.346) and slugging (.478) during the regular season and were second to the Yankees in homers. Despite that, they have scored just nine runs and have hit only one homer. The team’s ALCS batting line, those two wins included, is .147/.234/.213. As such, facing off against Luis Severino and a rested Yankees bullpen tonight can’t give them a ton of confidence.

They do have one thing going for them, however: Justin Verlander. The same Justin Verlander who received only two runs of support in Game 2 of the series but made it hold up thanks to his 124-pitch, 13-strikeout complete game victory. You can’t really expect a starter to do that sort of thing two times in a row, but that’s what the Astros acquired him for at the end of August. In a league where there are vanishingly few horses a team can ride to victory, Verlander stands as one of the few remaining old school aces. Expect A.J. Hinch to keep the bit in Verlander’s mouth for as long as this game is close and, even then, maybe an inning longer.

Is there any reason for optimism regarding the Astros’ lineup? Sure, of course. They didn’t suddenly all forget how to hit. Every team goes through a stretch of 3-5 games where the hits don’t seem to fall. There may, possibly, be some reason for hope in the man they’re facing too. Severino lasted only four innings in Game 2, having been removed early after taking a ground ball off his left wrist. Severino said he was fine and wished that Joe Girardi hadn’t taken him out, but (a) he was acting a little odd, shaking his arm out like he was trying to shake off some pain; and (b) starting pitchers almost always lie and say they’re better than they are. I’m certain Severino is healthy enough to go, but there’s at least a small chance that he’s vulnerable, somehow. At the very least Astros hitters can walk to the plate convincing themselves of it. Any edge you can either get or imagine, right?

Game 6 seems like it will have to be a matter of a small edge one way or another for both teams, really. The Yankees are rolling, but their assignment tonight is a tough one as they try to chase a guy who fancies himself — and has often shown himself — to be a rare throwback to those 1960s and 1970s aces who only seem to get better as the ballgame goes on. The Astros, meanwhile, are tasked with solving a young, fireballing stuff monster who has something to prove after his early exit in Game 2 and, even if he can’t prove it, a corps of relief aces who are among the most formidable in baseball. Add to that the notion that Major League Baseball, Fox and most commentators and casual fans outside of Houston want to see the 12th Yankees-Dodgers World Series matchup and the Astros have to be thinking everything’s against them.

Which is OK, though, right? Ballplayers love it when no one believes in them. That’s not better than six or seven runs of support, but the Astros will take anything they can get at the moment.