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.
Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.
Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).
Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.
David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.
Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:
[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.
The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.