Craig Calcaterra


Columnists: Pro-analytics fans are like ISIS. Or maybe the Black Lives Matter movement.


As I noted a couple of weeks ago, I’m mostly out of the Hall of Fame vote criticizing business. However, just because I am no longer particularly interested in writing pedantic posts criticizing anyone’s particular votes doesn’t mean I won’t point out some ridiculousness once in a while. Over the weekend there were two particularly fun bits of ridiculousness in this regard.

First up was Thom Loverro of The Washington Times, who in the course of his Hall of Fame column made the argument that Hall of Fame voters who cast votes for guys like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens — guys such as Ken Rosenthal of Fox and many top reporters and columnists — are akin to the Black Lives Matter movement. He goes on to mock them as the “No Justice/No Peace Wing of the Baseball Writers Association of America.” It’s pretty vile stuff. On Saturday, over at my personal blog, I wrote a lengthy piece about that. Not going after Loverro as such because who cares about him, but using it as the jumping off point for the argument that sports writers, as a rule, should criticize their colleagues more often as a means of raising the discourse in the overall conversation about sports.

Second up was our old friend Murray Chass. As I said in my “I won’t criticize ballots anymore” post, I make an exception for Chass because he’s positively wonderfully delicious when he wants to be. He didn’t disappoint in his latest blog post either. On the voting front he has one dude on his ballot: Ken Griffey Jr. Which, hey, his ballot, godspeed. It’s worth a read, however, because he goes after Dan Szymborski of ESPN — who he calls “a digital dandy” — with serious vigor. At the end of it he compares someone’s criticism of the Baseball Writers Association of America as an “ISIS polemic,” because that’s the first comparison any reasonable person thinks of when talking about baseball arguments.

Anyway, I will tip my hat to Chass. While he’s wrong and overheated on about 50 levels, he’s at least taking my “baseball writers should criticize one another more often” idea to heart. I’d rather see a bunch of yelling like this than a bunch of polite nodding and phony, surface level professional respect which has the effect of sanctioning horrible ideas because everyone’s afraid to argue with their colleagues. Say what you want about unhinged rants, but they inspire you to take a side. And I know Dan Szymborski. He’s a big boy. He can handle it. And frankly, I bet he’s pretty darn pleased with himself to get a rockin’ nickname like “The Digital Dandy.”

The Hall of Fame announcement is Wednesday evening at 6PM. Here’s hoping for some more silliness between now and then.

The Celtics want to play a game at Fenway Park

fenway park seats getty

The Winter Classic is, for obvious reasons, something we here at NBC are big fans of. It’s become a big hit too. People love seeing hockey outside, in the cold as God and Nature intended. Or, well, maybe they didn’t intend it that way but it works really well and is a fun novelty.

Other sports are now looking into getting in on that novelty. Sports like basketball. From the Boston Globe:

Celtics president Rich Gotham said in a phone interview that he and Red Sox president Sam Kennedy have had cursory discussions in recent years about the Celtics playing at Fenway Park.

As the article notes, scheduling and weather are the biggest issues, given that for the most part the NBA season goes down when it’s freezing out and that the short parts of it which overlap with baseball weather — April and October — overlap with baseball too. Definitely with April and potentially with October.

Still, I bet they can make it work. The Harlem Globetrotters played on Gilligan’s Island that time. And that’s a place where the weather is always subject to the weather starting getting rough.

The Top 25 Baseball Stories of 2015 — Full Countdown

SAN JUAN, PR - MARCH 10:  A statue of Hiram Bithorn at sunset before the game between Cuba and Puerto Rico at the World Baseball Classic at Hiram Bithorn Stadium on March 10, 2006 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Over the past three days we’ve counted down the Top 25 Baseball Stories of 2015. In case you missed a few entries, here they all are:

1.The Relentless Royals win it all
2.Contenders come from out of nowhere
3.Rise of the Rookies
4.Alex Rodriguez makes his triumphant return
5.The amazing NL Cy Young race
6.The Nationals choke. Literally.
7.Bryce Harper truly arrives
8.Rob Manfred becomes the new commissioner
9.Max Scherzer tosses two no-hitters
10.The Hall of Fame inducts a class for the ages
11.Major League Baseball institutes a domestic violence policy
12.Josh Hamilton has a relapse and winds up back in Texas
13.Pete Rose finally gets his appeal. And loses it.
14.Unrest in Baltimore leads to a fan-free Orioles game
15.Scott Boras, Matt Harvey and the shutdown that wasn’t
16.Legends Yogi Berra and Ernie Banks pass away
17.Chase Utley takes out Ruben Tejada with a questionable slide
18.Baseball recommends extended protective netting
19.The Cardinals hack the Astros database
20.David Ortiz announces that the 2016 season will be his last
21.A bunch of voters were kicked off the Hall of Fame rolls
22.Baseball reaches peak inexperienced manager
23.Some ballpark patriotism revealed to be sponsored by the military
24.Barry Bonds comes back to baseball
25.Curt Schilling’s Year in Social Media

Happy New Year!