Jose Bautista hit an infield popup in the fourth inning of yesterday’s White Sox-Blue Jays game and got mad at himself over it. The man pitching at the time was John Danks and he didn’t like the way Bautista handled himself. They jawed at one another after Bautista slammed his bat down while running out the popup:
“I just told him to run the bases. He was out there acting like a clown. He’s had a great year and a half — no doubt. He’s one of the best players in the league. But he’s out there acting like he’s Babe Ruth or something. Just the way he was acting. He ran halfway down the line and stopped and spiked his bat. I get it. He’s upset at himself. He’s a good hitter, he’s had a great couple years. But he isn’t that good to be acting like he needs to hit every ball out of the ballpark.”
Hey, we should defer to Danks here. He’s 0-8 with a 5.25 ERA and got rocked again yesterday, so if anyone knows how to handle failure, it’s him. We should all take his example when we do a poor job at what we set out to do. Handle it stoically. Have no reaction at all. Who are we to argue with him?
On the other hand, maybe Danks shouldn’t worry too much about how opposing batters who are clearly not setting out to show him up react in these sorts of situations. Is Danks proposing a whole new set of unwritten rules about the proper deportment of ballplayers following a given outcome of a specific play the field? Does he not realize that, in addition to being totally nuts, that Chris Carpenter and Tony La Russa are already chairing that particular committee?
Former Yankees closer Mariano Rivera deservingly became the first player ever inducted into the Hall of Fame unanimously, receiving votes from all 425 writers who submitted ballots. Previously, the closest players to unanimous induction were Ken Griffey, Jr. (99.32% in 2016), Tom Seaver (98.84% in 1992), Nolan Ryan (98.79% in 1999), Cal Ripken, Jr. (98.53%), Ty Cobb (98.23% in 1936), and George Brett (98.19% in 1999).
Because so many greats were not enshrined in Cooperstown unanimously, many voters in the past argued against other players getting inducted unanimously, withholding their votes for otherwise deserving players. That Griffey — both one of the greatest outfielders of all time and one of the most popular players of all time — wasn’t voted in unanimously in 2016, for example, seemed to signal that no player ever would. Now that Rivera has been, this tired argument about voting unanimity can be laid to rest.
Derek Jeter will appear on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time next year. He may become the second player ever to be elected unanimously. David Ortiz appears on the 2022 ballot and could be No. 3. Now that Rivera has broken through, these are possibilities whereas before they might not have been.
Another tired argument around Hall of Fame voting concerns whether or not a player is a “first ballot” Hall of Famer. Some voters think getting enshrined in a player’s first year of eligibility is a greater honor than getting in any subsequent year. I’m not sure what it will take to get rid of this argument — other than the electorate getting younger and more open-minded — but at least we have made progress on at least one bad Hall of Fame take.