Bonds! Clemens! Sosa! Biggio! Schilling! The CSN Insiders go deep on five Hall of Fame candidates

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We here at HBT have been doing drive-bys on all of the Hall of Fame candidates for some time, but on the eve of the Hall of Fame results becoming public, the insiders at Comcast Sportsnet offer you five in-depth takes on five of the top Hall of Fame candidates in 2013:

Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com assess the problematic case of Barry Bonds:

Bonds was the most talented hitter I’ve ever seen. He was a savant. He predicted pitch after pitch from the dugout, leaving his teammates in amazement. Perhaps only Ted Williams had his combination of cunning, vision and confidence.

Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com talks about Roger Clemens before he was assumed to have started taking PEDs:

If you put Clemens’ before-and-after date at 1996, he had won three Cy Young Awards, an MVP and had tied Cy Young as the winningest pitcher in Red Sox history.

Patrick Mooney and Tony Andracki of CSNChicago.com take on Sammy Sosa, and take on Sosa … and continue to take on Sosa

Only seven men have hit more than the 609 home runs Sammy Sosa slammed during his big-league career. He did it with a flair for the dramatic, inside one of baseball’s cathedrals, while playing for a marquee franchise.

John Kelly of CSNHouston.com looks at Craig Biggio:

Craig Biggio is in his first year of eligibility, and in an ordinary year would be a shoe in for induction — 3,060 hits, 668 doubles, 291 home runs, 1,175 RBIs and 1,844 runs scored in a career that spanned 20 seasons, all in a Houston uniform. But this is no ordinary year.

Finally, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com gives us the candidacy of Curt Schilling:

Any look at Schilling’s candidacy has to go heavy on his postseason work: He won World Series in 2001, 2004 and 2007;  He was 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA and a .968 WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) in 19 postseason starts; He was 4-0 with a 1.37 ERA in five elimination starts. (His team won all five.); He was the MVP of the 1993 NLCS with the Phillies; He was the co-MVP of the 2001 World Series with the Diamondbacks.

That’s the overview, but where do our insiders come down on each candidate? How did they vote and, more importantly, what do these guys — who know their subjects better than anyone — think will happen tomorrow when the vote is revealed?

Do yourself a favor and take some time with these in-depth looks.  Because after tomorrow, it will all be history for another year.

Derek Norris signing with the Rays

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Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown reports that Derek Norris is signing with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Norris was released by the Nationals nine days ago, made redundant by the Nats’ signing of Matt Wieters and by everyone sliding down a notch on the depth chart below him. Norris hit only .186/.255/.328 with 14 home runs and a .528 OPS for the Padres in 2016.

Still, there always seems to be a place for a backup catcher. For Norris that place is Tampa Bay.

The Braves are banning outside food. And they’re probably lying about why they’re doing it.

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Here’s a thing a lot of people don’t realize: there are a lot of ballparks that allow you to bring in outside food.

Not all of them, but a lot do. They don’t publicize it, obviously, because they want you to buy their expensive food, but if you go to the concessions policy page on most team’s websites, you can get the scoop. It often lists “soft-sided coolers” under “permitted items,” which is code for “yes, you can bring your own food in.” Some may specifically limit THAT to sealed plastic water bottles, but for the most part, if you can bring soft-sided coolers into the park, that means it’s OK to bring in grandma’s potato salad and a few sandwiches. They may check your coolers, of course, to make sure you’re not bringing in alcohol or whatever.

The Atlanta Braves have always allowed food into the ballpark. But thats going to change in shiny new Sun Trust Park. The AJC reports that the Braves have announced a new policy via which ticket holders will not be allowed to bring in outside food. Exceptions will be made for infant food and for special dietary restriction items.

Which, OK, it’s their park and their rules. If they want to cut out the PB&J for junior and force you to buy him a $9 “kids pack” — or if they want you to forego grandma’s potato salad to buy that pork chop sandwich we mentioned yesterday — that’s their choice. Everything else about the Braves new stadium has been about extracting money from fans, so why not the concessions policy too?

My beef with this is less about the policy. It’s about their stated reason for it:

The changes are a result of tighter security being put into place this season throughout the league, said the Braves spokesperson.

This, as the French say, is horses**t.

We know it is because not all teams are prohibiting outside food. If there are tighter security measures across the board, other teams are implementing them without the food restriction. Even the Yankees, who take security theater to extreme heights as it is, are still allowing fans to bring in their own food.

The Braves, I strongly suspect, are using these measures as an excuse to cut down on competition for their concessions. Which, like I said, go for it. Just be honest about what you’re doing and stop blaming “tightened security” for your cash grab.