Hall of Fame Induction Day always sneaks up on me. I rarely read or hear about it until the week leading up to it. Which, in today’s media environment is kind of strange when you think about it. But it has done it again: Hall of Fame Induction Day is this Sunday.
For those who totally tuned out the crazy arguing back and forth back during election time or simply buried it deep, deep down somewhere where the vitriol can’t hurt you, please recall that Roberto Alomar, Bert Blyleven and Pat Gillick are going into the Hall. It will be a joyous occasion. Well, at least until the ceremony is over. At that point the members of the Blyleven-for-the-Hall Industrial Complex which has grown over the years may find themselves empty and adrift. What these brave warriors will do with no battle left to fight frightens me to some degree, I’ll admit. And that’s the case even though I consider myself to be a low-ranking foot soldier in that army.
Actually, now that I think about it, this will be one of the last inductions which will not be accompanied by cries of bloody murder on behalf of those who should be in but aren’t because of the PED mess, so I presume that — if we can make it past this next year — the Blyleven Brigade can scale up to fight that battle and thus won’t be loose and aimless on our city streets. Probably safe for all of us.
That business aside, congratulations, inductees.
People are the absolute worst sometimes. The latest example: someone stole one of Jose Fernandez’s high school jerseys, which had been displayed in his old high school’s dugout for a vigil last night.
That report comes from Anastasia Dawson of the Tampa Bay Times who covered the vigil at Alonso High School in Tampa yesterday. Her story of the vigil is here. Today she has been tweeting about the theft of the jersey. She spoke to Alonso High school’s principal who, in a bit of understatement, called the theft the “lowest of the low.”
The high school had one more Fernandez jersey remaining and has put it on display in the school. In the meantime, spread this story far and wide so that whatever vulture who stole it can’t sell it.
In an earlier post I made a joke about the Indians starting Dennis Martinez if forced to play a meaningless (for them) game on Monday against the Tigers. On Twitter, one of my followers, Ray Fink, asked a great question: If you had to hand the ball to a Hall of Fame-eligible pitcher to give you three innings, who would it be?
The Hall of Fame-eligible part gets rid of the recently-retired ringers, requiring a guy who has been off the scene for at least five years, ensuring that there’s a good bit of rust. I love questions like these.
My immediate answer was Mike Mussina. My thinking being that of all of the great pitchers fitting these parameters, he’s the most likely to have stayed in good shape. I mean, Greg Maddux probably still has the best pitching IQ on the planet, but he’s let himself go a bit, right? Mussina strikes me as a guy who still wakes up and does crunches and stuff.
If you extend it to December, however, you may get a better answer, because that’s when Tim Wakefield becomes eligible for the Hall. I realize a knuckleball requires practice to maintain the right touch and subtlety to the delivery, but it also requires the least raw physical effort. Jim Bouton went well more than five years without throwing his less-than-Wakefield-quality knuckler and was still able to make a comeback. I think Tim could be passable.
Then there’s Roger Clemens. I didn’t see his numbers for that National Baseball Congress tourney this summer and I realize he’s getting a bit thick around the middle, but I’m sure he can still bring it enough to not embarrass himself. Beyond the frosted tips, anyway.
So: who is your Space Cowboys-style reclamation project? Who is the old legend you dust off for one last job?