Just about every Hall of Fame column you read these days has some variation of the following: “I used to love voting for the Hall of Fame, now I hate it and find it difficult and oh, my stars and garters, what am I ever to do with this Herculean task?!”
Criminy, put your big boy writer pants on and deal with it, will ya? Vote in the ‘roiders. Don’t vote in the ‘roiders. I may disagree with you, but for cryin’ out loud, quit bellyaching about how hard your job is and make a stand. This stuff is important in the context of baseball, but we’ve had presidents wring their hands less over deploying the freakin’ army than some BBWAA members do over who gets a plaque in an old building in some sleepy little town upstate.
Anyway, the latest woe-is-me Hall of Fame voter is Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Daily News. After a bunch of that stuff he gets to the primary source of his consternation this year: Jeff Bagwell:
I’ve listened to the argument that Bagwell should be a Hall of Famer because there is no proof he used the same performance-enhancing drugs that inflated the heads, bodies, and resumés of some of his peers. I suspect, however, that there are a lot of players who cheated and never were caught … Here are the guys who got my vote: McGriff, Barry Larkin, Lee Smith, and Alan Trammell.
See? How hard was that? By virtue of my use of elipses, I was able to show just how direct one can be when giving credence to rumor over fact and fostering the whole McCarthyite guilt-by-association thing. No need to for all of that protesting. When you’re gonna be unfair and judgmental like that just do it and go on to the next thing. Saves everyone some time.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.