Ken Davidoff’s awesome Hall of Fame ballot

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Newsday’s Ken Davidoff has released his Hall of Fame ballot.  It’s good for the people he picks, all of whom I’d either pick myself or who are extremely defensible choices even if I differ: Barry Larkin, Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Edgar Martinez, Alan Trammell, Larry Walker, Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro.

The real value of his column, however, is not his choices — lots of dudes have good ballots — but the way in which he explains his choices and his methodology in detail.

Davidoff goes over every guy on the ballot, giving him his due or whatever approaching his due he is owed.  He offers a ton of great insight about how he approaches the ballot.  Lots of wisdom in there about defense, era, steroids and, above all else, how our contemporaneous perceptions and memories of a player don’t serve us well. Those memories and feelings lie and, even if you’re afraid of stats, you simply can’t ignore them because they state what actually occurred.

Anyone who wants to argue about the Hall of Fame should read Davidoff’s column.

Sean Manaea pitches first no-hitter of 2018

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Athletics southpaw Sean Manaea delivered his first career no-hitter against the Red Sox in a decisive 3-0 victory on Saturday night. Any thought of a perfect game was banished in the first at-bat, when Mookie Betts drew a leadoff six-pitch walk to open the first inning. From there, Manaea was nearly flawless, holding the Sox to four total baserunners and striking out 10 of 30 batters faced — a career record.

Manaea was gifted a three-run lead thanks to RBI doubles from Jed Lowrie and Stephen Piscotty and Marcus Semien‘s solo shot off of Chris Sale in the fifth inning. While the Red Sox managed to draw two walks off of Manaea, they didn’t come anywhere close to plating a run. Andrew Benintendi tried to break up the no-no in the sixth inning with an infield hit down the first base line, but strayed out of bounds and later saw his hit reversed on a call of batter interference.

Entering the ninth inning, the 26-year-old lefty was sitting at just 95 pitches through eight frames of no-hit ball. He quickly deposed Blake Swihart and Mookie Betts with a groundout and fly out, then walked Benintendi on seven pitches. Any threat the Red Sox might have posed was soon eliminated, however, as Hanley Ramirez ground into a force out to complete the no-hitter.

Manaea is the first A’s pitcher to toss a no-no since Dallas Braden’s perfect game against the Rays eight years ago. The last time the Red Sox were on the losing end of a no-hitter was also against an AL West rival, when the Mariners’ Chris Bosio clinched a 2-0 no-no on April 22, 1993. Manaea’s feat is even more outstanding given how dominant the Red Sox have looked this season: prior to Saturday’s defeat, they boasted a 17-2 record and had yet to be shut out during the regular season.