You should not care if Ken Griffey Jr. is voted into the Hall of Fame unanimously

36 Comments

There are not a ton of legitimate reasons to be outraged about the Hall of Fame vote this year. To the extent there will be injustices, they will not be shocking injustices.

Based on the tracking of public votes it’s extraordinarily likely Tim Raines won’t make it in. It’s a certainty that some longer holdovers like Trammell, McGriff and the PED guys won’t make it in. Mike Piazza stands an excellent chance of going from 69.9% of the vote last year to induction and if he doesn’t it will be a surprise. But really, everyone should’ve been outraged that he wasn’t inducted a couple of years ago, so the surprise will be tempered with experience. Same goes for Jeff Bagwell, over whose candidacy we have all battled before.

So, it seems, that leaves us with Ken Griffey Jr., who will certainly be elected today. Of this there is zero question. The sole question many want to raise about him is whether or not he will be elected unanimously.

It’s a dumb question, really, because he almost certainly won’t. No one ever has, for reasons we’ve gone over many times before. The short version: some voters pick nits. Other voters are attention-seekers and submit blank ballots or intentionally omit worthy candidates for silly reasons. Some voters want to vote for the 11th or 12th best candidate and leave a top candidate off strategically, knowing he’ll be elected anyway. There are some voters still left, I suspect, that our Joe Posnanski once compared to “the Brotherhood that protects the Holy Grail in the Indiana Jones movie — who think it is their duty to make sure no one gets in unblemished.” If Mickey Mantle wasn’t unanimous NO ONE SHALL BE, they implicitly say, before being chopped up by the prop of that big ship in Venice.

I’d like to think that Griffey could be unanimous and hope that, this year, someone finally is, but I can’t see getting outraged over it if and when he’s not. When Greg Maddux, the best player without PED associations to be up for election in the Internet era, wasn’t selected unanimously, the “honor” lost any small shred of importance it ever had (and yes, “the Internet era” matters, because the Internet has increased scrutiny of voters and has likely tempered some of the worst excesses of voters).

In a larger sense maybe even Maddux’s vote total or Griffey’s or anyone else’s shouldn’t matter at all. As I said in another post recently, what some random voters do today does not truly impact a player’s legacy, especially if what they do isn’t the difference between him being elected or not. I’m not gonna think all the amazng things Griffey did between, say, 1990 and 2000 was somehow diminished because of it. It’ll be a blip to which we should pay no heed. The single worst thing about the Hall of Fame process over the past several years is just how much it has become about the voters as opposed to the candidates. Some of the outrage I’ve pitched around here over the years has certainly contributed to that and that’s a big reason why I have decided to ratchet it back some. I’ve worked hard to remember that, ultimately, it’s about the baseball  and the entertainment it provides. Everything else is secondary.

Will Griffey be unanimous today? I really doubt it. If he is, it’ll be a makeup vote, for all of the other immortals who didn’t get that unanimous election in the past even though they deserved it. Newman’s Oscar for “The Color of Money.” Scorsese’s for “The Departed.” Other performances were more worthy, but it’ll be nice to see this one finally get it, I suppose.

But that’s all it’ll be. Either way, at 6pm this evening, Griffey will be a Hall of Famer. It’s the only thing that matters.

Braves sweep Mets, take 2-game lead in East with 3 remaining

atlanta braves
Adam Hagy/Getty Images
1 Comment

ATLANTA — Matt Olson knew the Atlanta Braves were too talented to stay in a season-long slump.

That’s why no one panicked when the New York Mets’ division lead swelled to double digits in May. Now the Braves are on the cusp of another NL East title.

“It’s a clubhouse full of guys who want to win,” Olson said. “That’s all it’s been since the moment I walked in. That’s No. 1 on the program.”

Dansby Swanson and Olson homered for the third straight game, Travis d'Arnaud hit a go-ahead two-run single in the third inning, and Braves beat New York 5-3 on Sunday night, completing a three-game sweep of their NL East rival and taking a two-game lead in the division with three games to play.

The defending World Series champion Braves have been chasing the Mets the entire season. In the final series of the season, any combination of one Atlanta win or one Mets loss would give the Braves their fifth straight division title.

New York plays its final three games of the season against worst-in-the-majors Washington. Atlanta closes out the regular season with a three-game set in Miami. Should the season end Wednesday in a tie, Atlanta would win the division after claiming the season series 10-9 with Sunday’s victory.

“We’ve felt this confidence since the beginning of the year,” d’Arnaud said. “It just didn’t go our way early in the year, but pulling on the same rope, having each others’ backs, not trying to do too much. We’re just trying to play the game of baseball and have fun with it.”

The Braves won five of the last six games in the series, outscoring the Mets 42-19 over that stretch. New York had a 10 1/2-game lead on June 1 but now is the lower in the standings than at any point this season.

It was a lost weekend for New York, which came to Atlanta hoping to clinch its first division title since 2015. Instead, aces Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer lost Friday and Saturday before Chris Bassitt lasted just 2 2/3 innings on Sunday.

“We still have three games left in the regular season, we’re still going to the postseason, that doesn’t change, but there’s a lot of learning points that we can take from this series moving forward,” Mets slugger Pete Alonso said. “I thought we played well, but the Braves played better. They played excellent baseball this entire weekend.”

Swanson took Bassitt deep to right-center in the first with his 25th homer, and Atlanta took charge with a three-run third. Bassitt (15-9) issued a bases-loaded walk to Olson before d’Arnaud delivered a single up the middle to score Ronald Acuna Jr. and Austin Riley for a 4-3 lead. That chased Bassitt, who was charged with four runs, three hits and three walks.

Olson connected for his 33rd homer to make it 5-3 leading off the sixth, his 410-foot shot landing in the seats in right-center. Olson, in his first year with Atlanta, surpassed 100 RBIs for the second straight season.

“Everyone knew we were underperforming when we were flirting around that .500 range,” Olson said. “It was one of those things where it was trusting the talent we have and the guys in the clubhouse. Everybody was solid, head down, do your work, it’ll turn around and you wind up winning.”

Charlie Morton stranded runners on first and second in the first, but he gave up Daniel Vogelbach‘s 18th homer that tied it at 1 in the second. The righty struck out Francisco Lindor with runners on first and second to end the threat.

Jeff McNeil went deep off Morton in the third and Vogelbach followed with an RBI single to put the Mets up 3-1. Morton entered the game having allowed 28 homers, sixth-most in the NL.

Morton scuffled throughout his start, giving up three runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings as the 38-year-old made his first start since signing a $20 million, one-year contract to remain with Atlanta next season.

Dylan Lee (5-1) relieved Morton and pitched 1 1/3 innings, leaving after a walk to Brandon Nimmo with two outs in the sixth. Collin McHugh entered and struck out Francisco Lindor.

Raisel Iglesias faced four batters in the seventh, A.J. Minter faced the minimum in the eighth and closer Kenley Jansen converted his third save of the series with a clean ninth.

Jansen leads the NL with 40 saves in 47 chances.

The Braves’ bullpen, which posted a 1.70 ERA last month, pitched 8 2/3 scoreless innings the last two nights.

BIG NUMBERS

Atlanta leads the NL with 241 homers. And the Braves have their first 100-victory season since 2003.

TWO, DARN HOT

McNeil went 3 for 5 and has multiple hits in five straight games. His average is .326, one point behind the Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman for the NL batting title. In 23 career games at Truist Park, McNeil is hitting .395 with 12 runs, nine doubles, two homers, seven RBIs and four walks. … Jansen tied Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley for eighth place on the career list with 389. He’s also is the 10th closer to have four different seasons with at least 40 saves.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets All-Star RF Starling Marte (right middle finger fracture) has yet to begin swinging or throwing. … Braves 2B Ozzie Albies (broken right pinky finger) is still wearing a cast. … Braves RHP Spencer Strider still has not thrown as he gets treatment on a sore left oblique.

ATTENDANCE

The Braves drew 42,713 in their regular season finale, the club’s 42nd sellout of the season. Overall. that’s 3,129,931 for the season – and the most tickets sold since 2000. In 2019, the team’s last full season before the COVID-19 pandemic, Atlanta drew 2,655,100.

UP NEXT

Mets: RHP Carlos Carrasco (15-7, 3.95 ERA) will face Nationals RHP Cory Abbott (0-4, 5.11).

Braves: RHP Bryce Elder (2-3, 2.76 ERA) will face Marlins LHP Jesus Luzardo (3-7, 3.53).