Great Moments in team chemistry: Mets prospects got into a beanball/threat war

12 Comments

UPDATE: It looks like Andy Martino had this story first, and in greater detail. His is a better account, so be sure to check it out.

This is something you don’t hear every day: two Mets prospects — Zack Wheeler and Aderlin Rodriguez — got into a kerfuffle during a couple of intrasquad games in Port St. Luice recently.

Adam Rubin reports that Rodriguez hot dogged his way around the bases after hitting a home run off Wheeler in one game and then, in a subsequent game, Wheeler drilled Rodriguez in the hand, which Rodriguez had feared was broken. Rodriguez then threatened Wheeler. They have since been called on the carpet and things are allegedly OK now.

All that said: Wheeler has a ticket to the big leagues in the near future. Rodriguez is a third baseman on the one team in baseball who has the least need for a minor league third baseman any time in the next several years. So it would not be at all surprising to see Wheeler and Rodriguez renew their special friendship for different teams one day.

Mariano Rivera elected to Baseball Hall of Fame unanimously

Elsa/Getty Images
18 Comments

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.