The other Hall of Fame inductees announced

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Rock and Roll, that is:

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has officially announced next year’s inductees: Rush, Public Enemy, Heart, Randy Newman, Donna Summer and Albert King

There’s no baseball news right now, so let’s find their baseball analogs:

Rush: Jim Rice.  Really not deserving, but their supporters are so vocal and such pains in the butt that at some point it’s just easier to let them in than leave them out. Not sure if Boston has a lot of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame support, but they’d be Jack Morris.

Public Enemy: Sandy Koufax. Burned brighter than anyone but only for a short while. “Yo! Bum Rush The Show,” “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold us Back,” “Fear of a Black Planet” and “Apocalypse 91” are like Koufax’s 1963-66.

Heart: Ernie Banks. Not in overall greatness — Banks was of higher quality — but in terms of having two very distinct careers. “Barracuda” era Heart is Ernie Banks the shortstop. “These Dreams” Heart is first baseman Ernie Banks. The latter is OK — a guilty pleasure, even — but we would not be talking about their greatness if only the second half existed.

Randy Newman: I’ll admit, I only really know Randy Newman for “Short People,” “I Love L.A.” and his movie work. A lot of his stuff, I gather, especially songwriting for others, is really high quality. I’m just ignorant. So consider me to be one of the jerkier, willfully ignorant Hall of Fame voters circa 2004 and consider Newman my Bert Blyleven.

Donna Summer: An unfairly- judged representative of an era which everyone now says they hated but we all loved at the time and don’t you pretend we didn’t. So, of course, she’s Jeff Bagwell.

Albert King: I don’t know much about his career, but according to his Wikipedia entry his nickname was “The Velvet Bulldozer,” and that should get him in the Hall of Fame in and of itself.  Dick “Dr. Strangeglove” Stuart? I’m sure that’s totally unfair to King, but I don’t have a ton of time to check his stuff out right now. Anyone who wants to hip us to King’s bonafides in the comments, by all means do so.

When does baseball season start again?

The Nats are sniffing around for relief pitching help

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The Nationals began the year with Blake Treinen as their closer. That didn’t last long, and now Koda Glover seems to be Dusty Baker’s man in the ninth inning. He earned a save for the second consecutive game yesterday. Glover has been pretty darn good in the early going, posting a 2.35 ERA and striking out six batters and walking only one in seven and two-thirds. That obviously a small sample size, and anything can happen. If it does, Baker has Shawn Kelley as an option.

Not many household names there, which is probably why the Nationals are reported to be interested in the White Sox’ David Robertson and Alex Colome of the Rays. That report comes from Jim Bowden of ESPN, who also notes that the A’s have a number of guys with closing experience on staff and are likely to be sellers too. The David Robertson thing may have more legs, though, given that Mike Rizzo and Rick Hahn pulled off a pretty major trade in the offseason. If you know a guy well, you call that guy first, right?

As far as problems go this isn’t a huge one. The Nats sit at 13-5 and, as expected by most prognosticators, are in first place in the National League East. The Cubs had some questions in the pen this time last year too. They had the luxury of trying to figure it out before making a massive trade for a closer. The Nats do too, and likely will. But expect them to be a part of any trade rumor conversation for the next couple of months.

 

The big flaw in modern ballparks

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Travis Sawchik writes about the post-Camden Yards generation of ballparks over at FanGraphs. The ones everyone loves because they’re nice and clean and friendly and are full of amenities. And that’s true! They are nice! But they all have a huge flaw: unless you’re in expensive seats, you’re too far away from the action.

Sawchik uses cross sections of ballparks — available at Andrew Clem’s website — to show that fans sitting in the upper decks of ballparks are way higher and way farther back than they used to be at many old ballparks such as Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium, Old Comiskey, Tiger Stadium and Ebbets Field.

A lot of this has to do with an admirable impulse: to eliminate the beams which obstructed the view of many seats in those old parks. If you want to move that upper deck closer to the field, you have to have the beams because one can only achieve so much via cantilever effect. But that’s not the only impulse and probably not the primary one. More expansive lower bowls — which feature more expensive tickets — push the upper deck back and up. As do the luxury suites and club level amenities in between the lower and upper decks. Exacerbating this is the fact that most newer parks are built on vast tracts of land with few architectural constraints. If you can sprawl, you will, which leaves the most affordable seats in the land of binoculars.

I don’t agree with everything Sawchik writes here. He spends a lot of time talking about how much better neighborhood parks like Wrigley Field are and how it’d be better if newer parks were built in neighborhoods. I agree, neighborhood parks are ideal, but the fact is, most places don’t have mass transit like Chicago does. In most cities you have to have a place for 40,000 people to park.

That’s a quibble, though. Mostly, it’s a good look at an important thing most folks overlook when they praise the new parks. Important because, if you don’t have an enjoyable experience at the ballpark, you’re not likely to come back. And if you’re not fortunate enough to be able to buy expensive tickets, you may not have a great experience at the ballpark.