Craig Calcaterra

Pete Rose to speak to award-winning high school athletes


It’s been quite a week for Pete Rose so far. Yesterday the Reds announced that Rose will be inducted into their team Hall of Fame and will have his number retired this year, bypassing the usual election process. Probably because he’d be no sure thing to be elected under the usual procedures. But hey, you do such things for legends. ESPECIALLY in years when you know your team is going to stink and you want a guaranteed sellout on some day in June when you might only otherwise draw 16,257 fans, many disguised as seats.

Today we learn that Rose will get another honor of sorts: He will be the speaker at the inaugural Cincinnati Enquirer Greater Cincinnati High School Sports Awards, which honors All-Star high school athletes from southwestern Ohio and northern Kentucky, as chosen by the Enquirer.

The athletes being honored get in to the dinner ceremony free. Their guests have to pay $50 a head. I’m sure getting a famous speaker like Pete Rose will help up the head count for the banquet, especially when you realize that it’s really for the paying guests, not the students, almost all of whom were born a decade after Rose was banished from the game. But hey, it’s for a noble cause:

The reason for the new awards is simple: High school athletics are central to life in our public, private and Catholic schools and in our communities. Whether it be Friday night at the football field or a Tuesday night in the gym for a girls basketball matchup, interscholastic sports promote achievement in our young people and passion among students, parents and alumni.

And who better to celebrate and speak about achievement and passion in youth sports than a guy who was banned from the sport he loves more than anything else in the world for unscrupulous behavior.

Aaron Sanchez is in the Best Shape of His Life

Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Aaron Sanchez (41) throws against the Texas Rangers during the eighth inning in Game 4 of baseball's American League Division Series Monday, Oct. 12, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Associated Press

The Blue Jays’ Aaron Sanchez started out the season in the rotation and did pretty well over the course of 11 starts, but following a lat injury he moved to the bullpen. Now that the Jays have bulked up the bullpen, however, Sanchez is bulking up himself in order to make it back to the rotation.

Speaking with reporters at a fan event yesterday, a visibly larger Sanchez said that he has gained 25 pounds of muscle since the offseason began, thanks to workouts with Marcus Stroman. He was at 190, now he’s at 215, and the idea is for him to be stronger and have more endurance so he can stick at the back end of the Jays’ rotation. As Stroman said yesterday, “we didn’t work out twice a day for two months for him to be a reliever.” While Sanchez never claimed literal Best Shape of His Life status, the “show up at the first media event in January and talk up one’s offseason fitness regimen” is quintessential BSOHL behavior.

He’ll need more than just his strength to do it, however, as there are a lot of bodies, buff or otherwise, ahead of him. Joining Stroman on the starting pitching depth chart right now is R.A. Dickey, Marco Estrada, J.A. Happ, Jesse Chavez and Drew Hutchinson. Figure Sanchez will be in the mix with Chavez and Hutchison for the fifth spot, with the losers serving as swingmen, spot starters and, inevitably, injury replacements. Or figure on a trade during spring training.

But let no one say that Sanchez can’t make the rotation due to concerns about his durability. For that is exactly what he sought to address this winter, both in actual terms via his workout, and via his claim yesterday afternoon.

(thanks to Proudly Canadian for the heads up)

One David Eckstein Hall of Fame voter explains his rationale

david eckstein getty

As we mentioned last week David Eckstein, got two Hall of Fame votes. One of his voters, honorary BBWAA member Chaz Scoggins, late of the Lowell Sun, made his ballot public so we knew he was one. Today he explains himself in a column.

Scoggins is on record as a guy who has no problem voting for PED players and otherwise voted for eight worthy candidates (Bagwell, Bonds, Clemens, Griffey, Hoffman, McGwire, Piazza, Raines and Schilling). As he did not vote a full ten, it seems as though he didn’t bump someone he thought worthy in order to give the Eckstein shoutout. And, of course, no one fell a vote short of anything, meaning that he didn’t tip any results which mattered, so there is no cause for outrage here.

There is cause for some eye rolling, however. Eye rolling because Scoggins traffics in the baloney in which a lot of people who extoll lesser players traffic, saying that “Eckstein wasn’t blessed with God-given talent.” Which is crazy. He was a major leaguer for ten years. By definition he had supreme talent. Think of the best guy on your high school team. Then realize that he couldn’t make most minor league teams. Then realize that the vast majority of the minor leaguers couldn’t make the majors. Then realize that most guys who make the majors don’t stick for ten years and collect 1,500 hits. Was Eckstein a hard worker? Absolutely. But don’t for one minute tell me he wasn’t blessed with incredible talent. Anyone who does what he did is, and to say otherwise is an insult to him even if it’s meant as a compliment.

That’s what gets me with this kind of thing. Eckstein may have been a great story, but he was more than a story. He was more than a guy for whom, in Scoggins’ words, it was “hard to find a scout who believed he was a major-league prospect.” Which, by the way, I find dubious as it normally takes a scout to tell a club that some dude down on the farm should be promoted anyway. That doesn’t make him a Hall of Famer or even worthy of a single vote, but it makes him more worthy than to get this sort of symbolic vote, which says way more about the voter and the lens through which he views baseball than it says about Eckstein.

Again, the vote for Eckstein was harmless here. And I will not join the crowd of people who argue that people like Scoggins should have their vote stripped or what have you. But let us be clear what is going on with votes like these. Let us not pretend that they say nothing, even if they don’t do any actual damage. They say “I, a voter, believe certain things and want those beliefs validated.” And that’s really not a great justification for a Hall of Fame vote.