Let’s ruin other Halls of Fame with dumb PED arguments too

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The conversation about the National Baseball Hall of Fame has become near garbage thanks to people thinking more about morals and ethics than actual baseball. But hey, at least there is a shred of a justification for that what with the “character clause” for voters. But what’s the excuse for lesser, team-specific halls of fame?

Specifically, the Red Sox, who yesterday announced that Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez and Nomar Garciaparra will be inducted. No controversy there, right? Two of the greatest pitchers of all time who did their best work in a Red Sox uniform and a guy who was the team’s offensive heart and soul for nearly a decade? We can’t argue with that, can we?

Sure we can. Or at least Gerry Callahan can:

First question for the Red Sox Hall of Fame committee: You couldn’t have waited another year? Or two? Or five? You had to bestow this honor on disgraced cheater Roger Clemens in the same year as Pedro Martinez? This is just wrong. This is like making Willie Mays share the stage with Barry Bonds, or allowing Mark McGwire to walk arm-in-arm into the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame with Stan Musial.

Why is it so hard for the Sox Hall of Fame folks to say, “You cheated. You lied. You won’t go to jail, Mr. Clemens, but you can’t come in here.”

So does Jose Canseco get in next year?

He doesn’t like that Nomar is going in either because he once posed shirtless on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Seriously. That’s his reasoning.

It may be hard for media yakkers to grok this, but there are a ton — just oodles — of fans who don’t give a crap about any of that. Who watched Clemens and Garciaparra do great things in Fenway Park and, even if they don’t love them the way people love Pedro, appreciated their talent and associate them with fantastic baseball. That, for most people, it really is just about the baseball. It really is that simple.

Javier Baez: “This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it.”

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Infielder Javier Baez is back in camp with the Cubs after helping Puerto Rico to a second-place finish in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He was the focal point of what was, to many, the most memorable play of the entire tournament: Baez pointed at catcher Yadier Molina, who was attempting to throw out a would-be base-stealer, before applying the tag for the final out of the eighth inning.

While Baez didn’t receive much criticism for his theatrics, aside from an insignificant handful of spoilsports, he is one of the players who most exemplifies the emotional, celebratory culture that foreign players bring to Major League Baseball. U.S. (and Tigers) second baseman Ian Kinsler is on the other side of that spectrum, as he said prior to the WBC final that he hopes kids mimic the solemn way U.S. players play the game rather than the emotional, passionate way players from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic play the game.

Baez isn’t about to apologize for the way he and his teammates play the game. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney, Baez said, “We do a great job playing and having fun out there. That’s what it’s all about. This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it. but, you know, everybody’s got their style and their talent. I have a lot of fun.”

He continued, “It’s their choice to look at how we play, how excited we get. To us, it’s really huge what we did, even though we didn’t win. All of Puerto Rico got really together. We were going through a hard time over there and everything got fixed up for at least three weeks. Hopefully, they keep it like that.”

Mike Trout proposes change to spring training umpiring

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Angels outfielder Mike Trout came up with an idea that would allow less experienced umpires an opportunity to call some major league spring training action. As ESPN’s Buster Olney reports, Trout thinks the veteran umpires should only call five or six innings as they get back into regular season shape. The rest of the innings could be called by minor league umpires.

According to Olney, baseball officials loved Trout’s idea when they heard about it last week. One official said, “It makes a lot of sense for a lot of different reasons.” Another said, “That’s Trout — he’s always paying attention to stuff beyond what he’s doing.”

Of course, I have to agree that the suggestion is a great one. As Olney notes, the turnover rate for umpires every year is relatively low, so younger, less-experienced umpires have few opportunities to get a feel for what it’s like calling major league action. Even beyond the actual interpretation of the rules, interacting with big league personalities would also be helpful for minor league umpires.