cooperstown

Happy Hall of Fame Day

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The Hall of Fame voting results will be announced today at 3PM. You can get your info either by following the Baseball Writers Association of America Twitter feed, going to their website or watching the announcement live on the MLB Network or at MLB.com (the MLB show starts at 2PM, but the announcement won’t be until 3).

Note: someone always announces it on Twitter, like, two minutes before any of those outlets announce it. Some dude who is hooking up — say — Barry Larkin’s microphone. Someone who spends their day instant messaging the guy who has to actually update the BBWAA website knows. Information wants to be free.  And as we’ve noted, that information is almost certainly going to be that Barry Larkin is elected and no one else is.

Anyway, we’ve kind of beaten the Hall of Fame politics to death around here these past couple of weeks because, really, what the hell else was there to talk about?  But let’s see if there’s still some life in that horse by reading Colin Wyers’ latest at Baseball Prospectus.  It’s pretty thought-provoking.

The upshot: Colin takes aim at something Rob Neyer said recently about how it’s OK to think through things like Jeff Bagwell’s suitability for the Hall of Fame. Rob talked about  how suspicions — even if thin or baseless — still have to be contended with somehow, so better to take the time to consider it all.  Colin agrees with the idea of considering things, but doesn’t think there’s much to consider in this instance.

Then he says two interesting things that those of you who like to argue about steroids probably need to contend with in some way:

  • “… if we look at players who have actually been identified as taking steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs—either through the Mitchell report or suspension by MLB—they aren’t any bigger than the average player. The average PEDuser was 73 inches tall and 193 pounds. The average MLB player over the same time span was 74 inches, 195 pounds.”  and
  • “… the increase in home run rates for shortstops and designated hitters was essentially identical.”

I don’t consider that to be definitive of anything as opposed to being merely neat. But this does all go back to what I’ve been saying forever: PED users really don’t fit a profile, and scrutinizing the big power hitters in ways we don’t scrutinize pitchers and middle infielders has no basis in fact or reason.  Either ignore it all or suspect and judge them all, but at least do it equally.

David Ortiz could be in the Red Sox TV booth this season

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 02:  David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox tips his cap to fans during the pregame ceremony to honor his retirement before his last regular season home game at Fenway Park on October 2, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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A month or so ago it was reported that David Ortiz was going to meet with the Red Sox and NESN to discuss, maybe, spending some time in the broadcast booth in 2017. He’s retired now, of course. Gotta keep busy.

Today we read that, yes, Big Papi may take the mic. Red Sox president Sam Kennedy said that Ortiz may be in the booth on a limited basis, and that Ortiz has talked about wanting to “dip a toe in that water.”

I’m quickly becoming a fan of ex-players who want to, as Kennedy puts it, “dip a toe” in broadcasting as opposed to those who want to make it a full-time job. Former players who become full-time broadcasters tend to start out OK, but eventually burn all of their good anecdotes from their playing days and just become sort of reactionary “back in my day” dudes. There are some exceptions to that of course — guys like John Smoltz and Dennis Eckersley have kept it fresh and Tim McCarver never rested on his playing laurels as he forged a long career in the booth — but for any of those guys there are just as many Rick Mannings Bill Schroeders.

The part time guys who dip in and dip out — I’m thinking Pedro Martinez, Alex Rodriguez and even Pete Rose, who did a good job this past fall after a rocky 2015 postseason — tend to be more fresh and irreverent. They really don’t give a crap on some level because it’s not their full time job, and that not giving a crap allows them to say whatever they want. It makes for good TV.

If Papi can hold off on the F-bombs, I imagine he’d be a pretty good commentator. If he can’t, well, at least he’ll be a super entertaining one for the one or two games he gets before getting fired.

Blue Jays reliever was a bike messenger a couple of offseasons ago

DUNEDIN, FL - FEBRUARY 21:  Matt Dermody #50 of the Toronto Blue Jays poses for a portait during a MLB photo day at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium on February 21, 2017 in Dunedin, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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The Toronto Sun has a story about reliever Matt Dermody of the Blue Jays. Dermody made his big league debut in 2016, pitching in five games. Before that he pitched three full seasons in the minors, never rising above A-ball, before paying in three levels of the minors last season, just before getting to the show.

It was certainly a wild ride for Dermody after his time in the bush leagues. But nowhere near as wild as some of his rides in the 2015-16 offseason, when he took a job as a bike messenger in New York:

. . . four times he was involved in accidents, the worse being when he was sent head over heels on to the street.

“I was going down 2nd Ave. and I was riding behind another bicycle in the middle of the street,” said the 6-foot-5, 190-pound lefty. “But the bike in front of me decides to break really hard and swerves and I didn’t have time to react so I hit him and I flew over him and I skid on the ground and all the contents in my bag flew out on the street, traffic stopped and everything. I’m pretty fortunate I didn’t get hurt. I landed pretty nicely and kept working.”

It’s good that he’s fine and he can laugh about it now, but the story is just as telling as it is, in hindsight, amusing.

Dermody was a 28th round pick, so he didn’t get a sizable bonus. Not having risen above A-ball, he wasn’t making much money and, in all likelihood, did not yet show up too prominently on the big club’s radar. He was both incentivized to take a job that is super dangerous and allowed to do so because no one asked or, apparently, cared. This past offseason, with his big league debut behind him and a chance to make the 25-man roster for the full year, he has stayed home and worked out, no doubt with the front office and coaching staff keeping tabs on him.

It’s a nice story, but it’s one that provides you with a pretty good look at how major league teams look at — or, in Dermody’s case, don’t really look at — their minor leaguers.