Fun things — and some not so fun things — from today’s voting results beyond the names we talked about already:
- Falling off the ballot because they didn’t receive 5%: Bernie Williams, Kenny Lofton, Sandy Alomar Jr.,Julio Franco, David Wells, Steve Finley, Shawn Green, Aaron Sele, Jeff Cirillo,Royce Clayton, Jeff Conine, Roberto Hernandez, Ryan Klesko, Jose Mesa, Reggie Sanders, Mike Stanton, Todd Walker, Rondell White, Woody Williams. Lofton deserved longer consideration. I really don’t think any of the other guys have an argument.
- Earning a vote for reasons that are clear only to the person who cast it: Aaron Sele. Really, who thinks Aaron Sele deserved a vote? For that matter, on what planet does Sandy Alomar, Jr. get 16 votes?
- Fun but sad: Curt Schilling only got 38.8% of the vote, which was a travesty. But hey, Schilling’s number was 38, so it was kinda appropriate.
- Gainers among the guys who actually stand a chance one day: Raines and Bagwell. Raines jumped from 48.7% to 52.2%. Bagwell from 56.0% to 59.6%. I think they’ll eventually make it, but it may take a few years.
- Sorry, you missed your window: Fred McGriff, Lee Smith and Alan Trammell. McGriff went from 23.9% in 2012 to 20.7% in 2013. Smith went from 50.6% to 47.8%. Trammell went from 36.8% to 33.6%. Each of those guys would require a Jack Morris-style surge in order to make it but they’re going in the wrong direction and time is running out.
- The holdover PED guys: Mark McGwire sunk from 19.5% to 16.9%. Rafael Palmeiro went from 12.6% to 8.8%. It’s never gonna happen and Palmeiro may fall off next year.
- A guy with time and little support who may yet have a shot: Larry Walker. He only has 21.6%, down from 22.9% last year. But I feel like we haven’t had a big conversation about him yet and he could very well see a Tim Raines-style jump in voter consciousness once the PED stuff begins to settle down in a couple of years.
There’s a lot more fun to be gleaned from the results. Check them out at the BBWAA site. Assuming Geocities isn’t down, anyway.
Craig covered the bulk of Rob Manfred’s quotes from earlier. The commissioner was asked about robot umpires and he’s not a fan. Via Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:
Manfred was wrong to blame the player’s union’s “lack of cooperation” on proposed rule changes, but he’s right about robot umps and the strike zone. The obvious point is that robot umps cannot yet call balls and strikes with greater accuracy than umpires. Those strike zone Twitter accounts, such as this, are sometimes hilariously wrong. Even the strike zone graphics used on television are incorrect and unfortunate percentage of the time.
The first issue to consider about robot umps is taking jobs away from people. There are 99 umps and more in the minors. If robot umpiring was adopted in collegiate baseball, as well as the independent leagues, that’s even more umpires out of work. Is it worth it for an extra one or two percent improvement in accuracy?
Personally, the fallibility of the umpires adds more intrigue to baseball games. There’s strategy involved, as each umpire has tendencies which teams can strategize against. For instance, an umpire with a more generous-than-average strike zone on the outer portion of the plate might entice a pitcher to pepper that area with more sliders than he would otherwise throw. Hitters, knowing an umpire with a smaller strike zone is behind the dish, may take more pitches in an attempt to draw a walk. Or, knowing that information, a hitter may swing for the fences on a 3-0 pitch knowing the pitcher has to throw in a very specific area to guarantee a strike call or else give up a walk.
The umpires make their mistakes in random fashion, so it adds a chaotic, unpredictable element to the game as well. It feels bad when one of those calls goes against your team, but fans often forget the myriad calls that previously went in their teams’ favor. The mistakes will mostly even out in the end.
I haven’t had the opportunity to say this often, but Rob Manfred is right in this instance.
ESPN’s Howard Bryant is reporting that Major League Baseball has approved a rule allowing for a dugout signal for an intentional walk. In other words, baseball is allowing automatic intentional walks. Bryant adds that this rule will be effective for the 2017 season.
MLB has been trying, particularly this month, to improve the pace of play. Getting rid of the formality of throwing four pitches wide of the strike zone will save a minute or two for each intentional walk. There were 932 of them across 2,428 games last season, an average of one intentional walk every 2.6 games. It’s not the biggest improvement, but it’s something at least.
Earlier, Commissioner Rob Manfred was upset with the players’ union’s “lack of cooperation.” Perhaps his public criticism was the catalyst for getting this rule passed.
Unfortunately, getting rid of the intentional walk formality will eradicate the chance of seeing any more moments like this: