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.

Mike Trout has a torn thumb ligament, could require surgery

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Yesterday Mike Trout left the Marlins-Angels game after hurting his thumb while sliding head first into second base. After the game the Angels talked about it as if it were just a sprain. Trout had an MRI today, however, and the diagnosis is far worse: he has a torn thumb ligament.

While a treatment option has not yet been chosen, surgery is a possibility. A certainty is that he’ll miss, at the very least, several weeks of play. He has been placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career.

Trout, the reigning AL MVP and, without question, the best player in baseball, is batting .337/.461/.742 with 16 home runs, 36 RBI, 36 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 206 plate appearances this season. Even with the one of the weaker supporting casts in baseball, Trout had the Angels near .500 and in at least arguable contention in the AL West.

Without him, they are likely sunk. Without him, baseball is worse off.

Basebrawl! Harper, Strickland punch away, Nats-Giants fight

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SAN FRANCISCO — Nationals slugger Bryce Harper and San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland both landed punches to the head during a wild brawl that erupted Monday after a hit by pitch.

Harper was hit in the right hip by Strickland’s 98 mph fastball in the eighth inning with Washington ahead 2-0.

Harper pointed the bat toward Strickland, charged the mound and fired his batting helmet wide of the pitcher. They started to swing away and they each connected as the benches and bullpens emptied.

At least two Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the brawl all the way into the dugout. Harper and Strickland were both ejected.

In the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland. After the star’s second shot, in Game 4, he stared at Strickland as he rounded the bases.